Musicheads Essential Artist: Debbie Harry

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Debbie Harry.
Debbie Harry, in a photo included in her memoir 'Face It.' (Dey St.)
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Deborah Harry was born Angela Trimble — cool name — on July 1, 1945. Before she started her singing career she had moved to New York City in the late 1960s, providing backing vocals for the folk rock group The Wind in the Willows.

In 1974, Harry joined the Stilettos after waitressing at Max's Kansas City and hanging out at CBGB's. It clearly inspired her to be a part of something a little grittier with more edge.

Her eventual boyfriend and Blondie guitarist, Chris Stein, joined her in the Stilettos. Harry and Stein soon moved on together and formed a short-lived Angel and the Snake before becoming Blondie. As life partners as well as musical soulmates, Harry took a few years off at the height of Blondie's career to take care of Stein, who was suffering from a rare autoimmune disease. Eventually they did break up as romantic partners but they continue to work together today.

Harry's personal mix of cool sexuality and streetwise style makes her a standout to this day. She was always so ahead of her time. In 1980 she befriended graffiti artist Fab Five Freddy who introduced her to the emerging hip-hop scene in the Bronx. Through them they also hooked up with Grandmaster Flash.

Debbie Harry went on to release solo albums and collaborate with Nile Rodgers, Jazz Passengers, and Nick Cave to name a few. She is a vocal champion of many different causes — the fight against HIV/AIDS and cancer — and her acting career spans over 60 film and TV roles. Deborah Harry is the personification of cool and badasshood.

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