The Stillettoes Morph Into Blondie

The Stillettoes Morph Into Blondie

The Stilettoes played their first gig at CBGB on May 5, 1974, then did a half dozen shows at the club supporting Television. Debbie Harry and Chris Stein then formed a new group, Angel and the Snake, which played only once under that name before settling on Blondie for a string of CBGB shows with the Ramones. Between 1973 and 1975, the band was constantly in flux, changing names and reshuffling members (sisters Tish and Snooky were backup singers in another lineup before they cofounded Manic Panic, an East Village boutique that became best known for its brand of hair dye). Sometimes their original drummer Billy O’Connor would lose consciousness during their sets, though not for the typical rock ’n’ roll reasons—it was because of anxiety—so Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan occasionally sat in with them. “Everybody liked Blondie,” photographer Roberta Bayley said, “and they were definitely a key part of the scene. But their band wasn’t totally respected because when it would start to come together, then a member would leave, or they would have a different name.”

From Chapter 31 of The Downtown Pop Underground — order online, or from a local independent bookstore


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