The American new-wave collective Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” is one of the few songs that rose to fame despite the “outrage” of the band’s fanbase. The band came under fire for “selling out” to a disco genre song, deviating from their pop-punk routes. However, this did not stop the song from becoming one of the biggest songs in the world.
“Heart of Glass” was released in January 1979, as the third single off of Blondie’s third studio album ‘Parallel Lines.’ Lead vocalist Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein wrote the song.
“Heart of Glass” is Blondie’s one of the most successful tracks in their discography with over 1.3 million sales in the United States and with over 1 million sales in the UK, in the year of the release itself.
The song is also ranked at #259 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time‘ list.
Making of “Heart of Glass” & Controversy
Blondie wrote an earlier version of the song in 1974-75, during the beginning of the band. The song was then titled “Once I Had a Love.” The song was recorded in 1975, but the band did not release it. Debbie Harry talked about the song with EW magazine; “Once we had the track nailed down, it stayed that way since 1975–that’s when we first started working on it. People got upset because I sang ‘a*s’. Maybe because it’s a three-letter word and not a four-letter word? I think we got banned in a few places because of that. We were very raw and minimalist then.”
The song initially had a slower beat with a disco track. However, Debbie talked with The Guardian about their experiments with the song before release; “‘Heart of Glass’ was one of the first songs Blondie wrote, but it was years before we recorded it properly. We’d tried it as a ballad, as reggae, but it never quite worked. At that point, it had no title. We just called it ‘The Disco Song.’”
Watch “Heart of Glass” Video by Blondie
“Heart of Glass” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
In the same interview with The Guardian, Debbie Harry talked about the meaning behind the song and the lyric change;
“The lyrics weren’t about anyone,” she continued. “They were just a plaintive moan about lost love. At first, the song kept saying, ‘Once I had a love, it was a gas. Soon turned out, it was a pain in the a*s.’ We couldn’t keep saying that, so we came up with, ‘Soon turned out, had a heart of glass.’”
The song is about lost love, and this becomes apparent from the very first verse itself. Debbie sings that while her love lasted, it was so good. But when love disappeared into thin air, she grew a heart of glass.
‘Heart of glass’ as an idiom refers to an extremely emotional fragility. Once you get beaten in love, you tend to be very cautious about future affairs.
More comparisons between the emotional state of being in love vs being out of love to follow.
Debbie recalls the feeling of being in love as being divine or heavenly. But she soon found out that she was entangled in a world of lies. This made her lose her mind out of frustration and defeat.
In the first chorus of “Heart of Glass,” Blondie confesses that she feels fine “in between.” Here, in between could refer to the intervals between relationships. This suggests that she is okay being by herself, but the feeling of love is incomparable.
Blondie goes so far as to say that love is confusing and eats into the peace of mind of a person. This is only when you are with the wrong person.
It is also not fun at all to have to compete for your partner’s love. If it feels like that, it’s probably not worth it.
Watch Blondie Perform “Heart of Glass”Live in 1979
In the second chorus of the song, the singer reveals feelings of being lost and vulnerable in this relationship. She also felt as if she was being used. She did put up with this adorable illusion of love until the veil fell apart and revealed the truth.
The bridge of the song is just one line.
Love is a high of its own merits. True love is a feeling of bliss, just as powerful as a drug. However, love is usually expressed with the color red. So, Blondie saying that love’s true color is blue, makes us think that she is not looking at love as its meant to be. The color blue is usually associated with emotions such as loneliness, sadness, and coldness. This is the tunnel vision of a person beaten in love.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.