Saturday, March 14, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 80)

80. "Maria"
Artist: Blondie
Year: 1999

First Chrissie, now Debbie. Female rock royalty... represent. Before today, I had no idea what a smash "Maria" was in other parts of the world. Exactly twenty years after the band's first of six No. 1 hits with "Heart of Glass," Blondie grabbed the top spot again in the UK. It's a wonder I even caught the song at all over here. First of all, "Maria" is actually higher on my list than it ever registered on the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 82). Second, this was the busiest time in my life, and I wasn't following the music scene at all. One night after another late one at work I flipped on the car radio. Blondie was so off the radar that when I caught the tail end of this song I thought to myself that some new singer sure sounded an awful lot like Debbie Harry. Maybe a week later I heard "...and not only is it Blondie, but it's actually really good..." as two people passed my office. (Yes, this was the one time in my life I had my own office.) Anyway, I put two and two together and headed to the record shop.

This reunited Blondie wasn't just Harry and Chris Stein either. Clem Burke and Jimmy Destri were there too. Only Gary Valentine was missing from the classic lineup. 'Parallel Lines' is an absolute all timer for me. So, this was exciting stuff. Well, 'No Exit,' the first Blondie album since 1982, was no 'Parallel Lines,' but this song was such a nice distraction at a time when I really needed it. By the way, across the pond, Blondie released two more relatively successful singles from the album after "Maria." Interesting how much bigger Blondie was over there.

In case you're late to the party, I'll recap the countdown every 20 spots or so.

100. Die Funf Fruende - JETZT!
99. Save Ferris - Come on Eileen (Night Mix)
98. World Party - Put the Message in the Box
97. Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Eu Gilydd
96. The Ocean Blue - Sublime
95. Puffy Ami Yumi - Wild Girls on Circuit
94. The Muffs - Oh Nina
93. Smoking Popes - Need You Around
92. The Feelies - Sooner or Later
91. Luscious Jackson - Naked Eye
90. The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms
89. fIREHOSE - Disciples of the 3-Way
88. The Sugargliders - Letter From a Lifeboat
87. Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks - Orange Crate Art
86. Vegas - Walk Into the Wind
85. k.d. lang - Miss Chatelaine
84. Robert Crenshaw - All I Want to Do Is Be With You
83. The Pretenders - I'm Not in Love
82. Jeffrey Foskett - Thru My Window
81. Superchunk - Slack Motherfucker


The Swede said...

That's interesting. I just assumed that 'Maria' was a massive hit in the States as well. The song picks up the classic Blondie sound as if no time had passed and to this day gets as much radio airplay as 'Denis', 'Atomic' etc.

Scott said...

I remember hearing this from a rep back in '99 and thinking at the time what a fantastic return to form for Blondie. Listening to it again today it still sounds great and doesn't feel out of place when listened to alongside any of their other hits.

Echorich said...

Nothing would have led me to believe that there would have been a reunited Blondie at the end of the Millennium, but it happened, and it wasn't at all bad! Maria has some very early era DNA for sure, it sounds like it could have been easily have fit on Plastic Letters.
I'll always have a soft spot for Debbie Harry, I thought she was the coolest woman in the world when I was a mid teen and told her so when I met her as a 19 yr. As a thank you I got a big wet kiss. There - done, dusted and permanently affected.

Brian said...

Swede and Scott, The song was pretty big in dance clubs, I learned of the song from radio, and the person that was talking about it at work was not known as a huge music person... all of this leads me to believe it was at least somewhat well known (No. 82 notwithstanding), but it was nothing like it was in your neck of the woods.

Echorich, Thanks for sharing that. Not to be too morbid, but I think a kiss from Debbie would be the opening sentence of my obituary... something like, yes, he's dead, but he once got a kiss from Debbie Harry. So, it really is OK.

George said...

For me Brian, I thought this song was just not that good when I heard it on release. Now, though, I really like it, it's a great gusto-vocal performance. Looking through your twenty so far I am familiar with less than half. By the way, I thought I had something by the Muffs but it's a song by The Moffs! Love the series Brian, maybe I'll recognise a few more acts in the next 20

Brian said...

Hi George. Hope you had a nice trip to Salamanca. I think you probably will recognize more songs from here on out. As I have said, the first 20 could have easily been swapped out for many in the 50 songs or so that got left off from my master list of 150 candidates. I don't feel that way about the next 80... pretty solid.

You have me on the Moffs, by the way. I hope it turned out to be a good song. Keep an eye out for an email from me this week. I have something for you.

Dirk said...

Oh c'mon, Echo: you made this up, didn't you?!!