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Blondie Announces Retirement

With her peroxide hair and trademark miniskirts, Debbie Harry will always be the ultimate pin-up for a certain generation of men. But at the age of 68, she is ready to quit legendary pop group Blondie. After nearly 40 years since they formed, the band are planning a swansong world tour next year before Harry hangs up her microphone for good. Drummer Clem Burke says that discussions about splitting up have been going on for the past year, with Harry, a former Playboy Bunny, concerned about her age. ‘Debbie is 11 years older than the rest of us, so it’s on her mind,’ Burke, 57, said at an exhibition of paintings by the late singer Ian Dury at London’s Royal College of Art. ‘We’ve tried to keep it going for as long as possible, but it’s not just up to me. Nothing is finalised yet, but obviously there’s no Blondie without Debbie Harry.’ The American singer, pictured right in her heyday, showed signs of strain during the band’s most recent UK tour. Last month she caused uproar during a performance in Liverpool when she declared her love for rival city Manchester. ‘It went down so badly that we were forced to play a rendition of The Beatles’ Please Please Me,’ Burke says. ‘Poor Debbie hadn’t joined the dots, so I had to intervene.’ Blondie enjoyed phenomenal success in the late 1970s – topping the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with hits such as Heart Of Glass and Sunday Girl – before splitting for the first time in 1982, when Harry launched a solo career. The group re-formed in 1996 and reached No 3 in the UK charts with comeback album No Exit. They have been touring on and off ever since. A spokesman for Debbie Harry said: ‘They are in a hiatus at the moment. They will do some tour dates next year. Nothing is confirmed yet.’


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