Debbie Harry (and friends) turn 65


Eric Clapton turned 65 in March. Steve Martin turns 65 in August. Goldie Hawn turns 65 in November. And Debbie Harry turns 65 in July – just the day before Blondie play the star-studded Hop Farm Festival as a warm up act for Van Morrison (64) and the day before headliner Bob Dylan (69) take centre stage.

These rockers just keep on rocking – let’s not forget Willie Nelson at Glastonbury at 77. Amazing. He says he has to work to keep living.

But back to the iconic blonde Debbie Harry, recently given the dubious honour of having a Barbie Blondie doll created.  Harry – who tours Australia and New Zealand in December in a double act with Chrissie Hyde (59) and the Pretenders – talked about cosmetic surgery, Lady Gaga and to Sydney’s Herald Sun.

You’re 65 this year. What’s your secret?

I’m lucky, I’m blessed in some ways. I’ve been careful. I’ve had corrective surgery at different times when I’ve felt like I needed it. I advocate that for women or men actually, if they feel they need it. It does a lot for you. It’s part of the job. I like to stay fit, I like to exercise, eat well, blah blah blah. I don’t really want to preach about it.

Have you heard Alicia Keys’ cover of your song Rapture?

Of course. I’m very flattered, Alicia Keys is one of the most talented people around, her boyfriend Swizz (Beatz) is a great producer. Those two working on Rapture – I was very honoured they’d do it.

Rapture is now seen as a pivotal song in music – helping introduce rap to the mainstream in 1981.

It’s a song I’ve always loved, I’m very proud of it. It was the first, I say rap song but it’s not really a rap song, but we paid homage to the rappers and the genre. It was the first rap song to go to No.1 in the US.

Any other favourite Blondie covers?

I did like Lily Allen’s Heart of Glass – we did a duet on the Today show, she’s a great girl.

You met Lady Gaga at a Rainforest benefit recently, she cites you as a big influence.

We stood right next to each other on stage and I am completely in awe of her. She’s the real thing. She’s got a great style, She’s a very talented person.

Blondie have been having a victory lap lately – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a TV Land icon gong . . . that can’t be too bad.

Well, it doesn’t suck. It seems like there’s an awful lot of awards floating around, but it’s nice to be given credit for the stuff you’ve done.

And be labelled an icon?

That’s baffling. I’ve always wondered about that. I feel like if you stick around long enough you become an icon automatically. That took me unawares at first, I’ve learned to live with it though.

There was even a Blondie Barbie doll last year – did you get some of those?

Yes. Poor unsuspecting people get them as gifts from me. I’ve given them to friends’ children, people who like to collect them. I was completely surprised but if they did Joan Jett, why not me? It’s Barbie but wearing my hair and my dress. Barbie does Debbie!

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