Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Song of the Day: 'Slow Motion' by Blondie

Nice write-up on Ultimate Classic Rock about the 40th anniversary of "Eat to the Beat," Blondie's follow-up to their seminal breakthrough "Parallel Lines." Although it could never live up to its predecessor, "Eat to the Beat" is in fact a pop-rock masterpiece, which spawned the U.S. singles "Atomic," "The Hardest Part" and "Dreaming," arguably their finest moment.

At the recent Q&A for Debbie Harry's "Face It" memoir, Chris Stein claimed the reason Blondie was never put in "heavy rotation" on MTV is because the network wanted people to think it "invented" music videos so shied away from Deb and the boys because they were pioneers in the field, having released the first full-length video album. (A better explanation may be that "Island of Lost Souls" wasn't exactly a classic song let alone a video!) Although I don't have any recollection of it, Chris says Blondie did end up getting an MTV award, which perhaps was for one of the reissue of the album on another format.

I remember being at Tower Records in Tempe, Ariz., as a kid salivating at the sight of the "Eat to the Beat" laser disc, knowing that I could never afford to buy it so would never get to see them. (Tower also had separate shelves for the pricey Betamax and VHS formats of the "video album." It would be years before my family got a VCR and I eventually was able watch it!) It's impossible to pick a favorite song from the album. While "Victor" and "Sound-a-Sleep" were the weakest links for me, the singles and every other song -- "Shayla," "Union City Blue," "Die Young Stay Pretty," "Living in the Real World" -- were sublime. I always wished "Slow Motion" had been released as a single -- it's Motown beat had hit written all over it. And just as YouTube eventually made all the videos readily available, Wikipedia let me know that I was on to something: 
"Slow Motion" was originally planned to be the fourth single release from the album, and producer Mike Chapman even made a remix of the track. But following the unexpected success of "Call Me," the theme song to the movie "American Gigolo," these plans were shelved and the single mix of "Slow Motion" remains unreleased. An alternate mix of the track called "The Stripped Down Motown Mix" did however turn up on one of the many remix singles issued by Chrysalis/EMI in the mid-1990s.
If you're not familiar with "Slow Motion," dive in here  -- and keep your ears open for backing vocalist Lorna Luft!


Blobby said...

'Slow Motion' is without a doubt in my top 5 Blondie songs of all time - and that's saying something. And save for two songs on "Eat to the Beat", all of the songs are great.

Bill said...

I always loved "Slow Motion." Thanks for posting it.

Ray said...

New Year's Day, and I only just now saw this fascinating post. I'm a huge Blondie fan and I've always wondered why "Slow Motion," a terrific song and one of my faves, was never a single. It has everything a Blondie fan could want. It's on a playlist I use at the gym. I can't count the number of times I've listened to it--as with numerous Blondie songs.

"You can stop on a dime. . . . You ought to try it some time."