Thursday, May 20, 2021



I've seen Blondie's iconic "Rapture" video a million times. So what a treat -- and a complete and total surprise -- to come across this photo on Twitter that I have never seen before, with the following text:
Debbie Harry talks with director Keith MacMillan while artist Jean-Michel Basquiat listens in before filming the "Rapture" music video in the East Village, Manhattan, 1980.

There's something about a photograph that no other medium can capture. 

As noted on Wikipedia, the video for "Rapture" made its U.S. television debut on "Solid Gold" on Jan. 31, 1981 -- pre-MTV, which didn't debut till the following summer -- and not only became the first rap video ever broadcast on the Music Television network, but was part of its first 90-video rotation.

Set in Manhattan's East Village, the "Man from Mars" or "voodoo god" (dancer William Barnes in the white suit and top hat) is the introductory and central figure. Barnes also choreographed the piece. Much of the video is a one-take scene of Debbie dancing down the street, passing by graffiti artists, Uncle Sam, an American Indian, a child ballet dancer and a goat. 

Fab Five Freddy and graffiti artists Lee Quiñones and Jean-Michel Basquiat make cameo appearances. Basquiat was hired when Grandmaster Flash did not show for the shoot. The U.K. 7" version of the song is used in the video and while the single was a hit around the world, it only hit the top of the charts in the band's homeland. 

In livelier times: William Burroughs, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Debbie Harry

Michael Sullivan, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Debbie Harry and Fab 5 Freddy

1 comment:

Dave in Texas said...

My favorite Debbie look- amazing!