Blondie released “Rapture” on January 12, 1981. It peaked at #5 on the U.K. Singles Chart and #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It was Blondie’s last U.S. hit until they released “Maria” in 1999.
“Rapture” is a fusion of musical styles (postpunk, new wave, and hip-hop. It was the first single with a rap to top the music charts, as well as the first rap music video broadcast on MTV. The U.S. 7″ record contained the album version, while the U.K. 7″ offered an edit. The U.S. 12″ vinyl included an additional verse and is not even an entire minute longer than the album version. Producer Mike Chapman remixed “Rapture” to create a Special Disco Version. In 1988, D.J.‘s would remix some of the most popular Blondie songs with a current sound. The remixes proved so popular, a compilation of Blondie and Debbie Harry’s solo hits was issued, entitled Once More into the Bleach.
Lead singer Debbie Harry had an ear for new trends. She used to take Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic to New York clubs and expose them to new things. While clubbing, Debbie became friendly with Fab Five Freddy and name-checked him in “Rapture.” Fab Five Freddy actually appears in the music video for “Rapture.”
Rapture [U.K. 7″ Promo Version] 3’53
Rapture [Edited Version] 4’50 Rapture [U.K. 7″ Mix] 4’59
Rapture [Album Version/Long Version] 6’33
Rapture [U.S. 12″ Mix] 7’13
Rapture [Special Disco mix] 10’01
Rapture [The Teddy Riley Remix] 6’58
The music video for “Rapture” is shot to appear as if it takes place in the East Village of Manhattan. While Debbie Harry sings and raps to the camera, William Barnes, a dancer in a white suit and top hat, follows her. Rapper Fab Five Freddy and graffiti artists Lee Quinones and Jean-Michel Basquiat appear in the video. Supposedly, Basquiat, an Andy Warhol protogee was asked to be in the video when Grandmaster Flash did not show up.
I can remember shortly after we moved from Waco to Burleson, watching Solid Gold on TV in my bedroom. Debbie Harry hosted the show and sang “The Tide Is High.” I liked the song, but it was no “Heart of Glass” or “Call Me,” in my opinion. Later in the program, she played the music video for Blondie’s new single, “Rapture.” It totally blew my little 7th grade mind. I wanted to rush out and buy the song after I heard it once. After the holidays, “Rapture” began to receive airplay and it always seemed to be on the radio when my sister Vicki drove me to school or picked me up afterwards. I always loved the rap, probably because I loved old science fiction movies from the ‘50s.
What are your memories of “Rapture” by Blondie?