The Worst Period Of Debbie Harry’s Blondie Career

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Following the release of Blondie’s eleventh album, ‘Pollinator’, in 2017, Debbie Harry conversed with Vice about the band’s journey. In response to a query about her most challenging times, Harry remarked:

“I wouldn’t say I’ve experienced the ‘worst’ phase per se. But the latter half of the 80s was undeniably tough.”

She briefly touched on the tribulations during those times:

“The band’s split, Chris [Stein] falling ill, and the IRS seizing our house was a convergence of disasters. Everything seemed to fall apart. However, my bond with Chris kept me anchored. Abandoning him wasn’t an option.”

In her 2019 memoir ‘Face It: A Memoir’, Harry delved deeper into this turbulent period. During the world tour for Blondie’s 1982 album ‘The Hunter’, Chris Stein faced escalating health challenges. These complications, paired with dwindling ticket sales and internal conflicts, resulted in the cancellation of their European tour and the band’s subsequent disintegration. During this ordeal, Harry prioritized seeking medical aid for Stein.

Doctors eventually diagnosed Stein with pemphigus vulgaris, a rare autoimmune condition. He spent a quarter of a year hospitalized, during which Harry acknowledged providing him with cocaine, as she shared in her memoir:

“Though the medical staff likely realized he was under the influence, they seemed to overlook it, perhaps recognizing that it offered him some solace from pain and emotional distress. I too sought refuge in substances. It was less about euphoria and more about numbing the overwhelming pain.”

Post-recovery, Harry assumed the role of Stein’s caregiver, releasing some solo tracks along the way. As Stein’s health stabilized, they confronted a new crisis: a significant IRS penalty stemming from mismanagement of the band’s finances.

“We were blindsided by the discovery that our accountant had neglected our tax dues during our peak earning years. We were stripped of not just our home, but any asset the IRS could claim.”

Their relationship ended in 1987. Yet, a decade later, their shared passion for music led them to regroup for festival performances in 1997.

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