Please allow me to air my shame and make a confession: I saw the movie Little Darlings in a theatre! Yes, hard-earned money exited my sweaty pocket so that I could watch that 1980 blockbuster you’ve never heard of starring Tatum O’Neal, Kristy McNichol and Matt Dillon. Fortunately, the only memory I retain of this experience is that Blondie’s One Way or Another appeared in the soundtrack. Which surprised me at the time. Blondie was originally considered punk and punk rock did not often grace soundtracks in 1980. However, I now realize that they were not actually punk! Oh sure, the band exhibited new wave fashion flare, but the music itself was much more in a pop vein. Or a disco vein. Or a reggae vein. Depends on what song you’re talking about.
My present-day self became curious as to how often Blondie songs have been used in movie and TV soundtracks. Dredging through my overstuffed memory I concluded that the band didn’t have a huge legacy of popular tunes, so I presumed their songs did not often grace the silver or flat screens. But guess what sports fans? They appear frequently! Like not just here and there, but everywhere. And, Blondie has sold over 40 million albums! That’s nearly 6 million in dog albums! So I’ve had to reassess my idea of the group’s popularity. And now I know: Blondie is hot socks!
In 1978, Parallel Lines introduced me and most Americans to the music that was already well-known in the UK. Tune after tune of driving new wave, catchy pop and danceable disco filled its grooves. Hanging on the Telephone, One Way or Another, Heart of Glass, I’m Gonna Love You Too, Just Go Away and other gems pushed this listener to repeatedly spin said disc.
The list of movies that have used songs from Parallel Lines is quite amazing: Little Darlings, Mean Girls, Coyote Ugly, Cruella and Ready Player One are just the tip of the iceberg. Subsequent albums provided songs for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo, Muriel’s Wedding, Bridesmaids, The Heartbreak Kid, Donnie Brasco, The Last American Virgin and Bend it Like Beckham. Pretty impressive. And the movies and TV soundtracks that I’ve not mentioned are much more plentiful than those that I have listed. In fact, IMDB credits the band with 265 soundtrack appearances!
Music for soundtracks is chosen largely for its appeal to a potential audience, so Blondie’s numerous appearances in soundtracks is a nod to their remarkable popularity. In my mind they’re still just the quasi-punk band that appealed to me and a small group of friends 40 years ago. But in reality, Blondie is beloved by the world. Not bad for a bunch of punks from New York city.