Blondie re-record classic hits in exacting detail


Blondie’s new Ghost Of Download album forms part of a three-disc package that includes a greatest hits disc. The band have re-recorded eleven of their best-loved singles and you can hear them all below.

The good news is that the band have avoided any aural car crashes, although anyone hoping for some quirky rearrangements will be disappointed because these are phenomenally faithful recreations. Have a listen to all the tracks on Greatest Hits Redux below and leave a comment and let us know what you think!

  1. Heart Of Glass >  Listen
  2. Dreaming > Listen
  3. The Tide Is High > Listen
  4. Maria > Listen
  5. Sunday Girl > Listen
  6. Hanging On The Telephone >  Listen
  7. Rapture >  Listen
  8. One Way Or Another > Listen
  9. Call Me > Listen
  10. Atomic > Listen
  11. Rip Her To Shreds > Listen

The Blondie 4(0) Ever deluxe package is out on 19 May 2014

Blondie 4(0)-Ever 2CD+DVD Deluxe








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Gary Taylor

Chris Stein, guitarist and co­founder of Blondie, stated that the band re­recorded eleven of their best­known hits, “partially as an exercise, but also for sync rights.” The band was not working to add something creatively new to their songs, aiming to maintain a close fidelity to the originals so that when film and commercial producers approached them for their classic music, the band could offer new recordings for which they owned both the publishing and sync rights.
The history of pop music is littered with bands who signed deals they later regretted.
The 35-year rule in America gave artists from the late 1970s onwards a chance to escape those contracts and claim back ownership of their copyright.
The record industry feared it would be a calamity given how lucrative back catalogues have been to them over the years. American acts such as Billy Joel [pictured], Devo and Blondie all sought the copyright reversion
Ex-manager Peter Leeds says that in 2012 the group made a deal to sell their copyrights to BMG for the sum of $1.3 million divided into two payments of $500,000 and $800,000.

BUT 2012 predates the 35 year ruling so who knows who owns what.

Joe H.

Wow I really find these re-recording a waste of time (and embarrassing) unless there is something conceptual the artist is trying to say. This got one spin and of course I did what most did, I put on the originals. A waste of time for them and money for us. I am surprised she did this — she usually has better sense.


The level of “exacting detail” is a debate not worth having. This set in a way reminds me of Frank Sinatra’s first Duets album. The most noticeable aspect of these reworks is that time has taken its toll on the singer (Clem is still, however, the greatest drummer Punk ever saw).
With that said, I think this set would have worked better as a Duets album. Here are my choices for Debbie’s duet partners:
Heart Of Glass – No one. This in my favorite redone track, and I don’t wanna mess with it.
Dreaming – Taylor Swift
The Tide Is High – Ziggy Marley
Maria – Pat Benatar (her old Chrysalis label mate needs to get love somewhere)
Sunday Girl – Shakira (how many bilingual versions of this song are there already?)
Hanging On The Telephone – Shirley Manson
Rapture – KRS-One (In the Entertainment Weekly interview, Chris & Debbie both praise his version of this song. Why not?)
One Way Or Another – Beyonce
Call Me – Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys
Atomic – Fergie
Rip Her To Shreds – Pink
Relax – Locate Holly Johnson in whatever London gay bar he is currently trolling

Just a thought…


I noticed a misprint in my booklet combining the lyrics to “Dreaming” & “The Tide is High.”

Damien Philippe

To me it was unexpected to have the best songs re-recorded. If it sounds similar to the first recording, Debbie’s voice is more mature and the music is much better. Love it and the new songs are awesome. Relax and Rose by any name are my favorites… I’ll play again and again… Looking forward to see Blondie on stage in Paris this summer. Having a deluxe double CD + DVD for less than 16€ when you pay more for a simple CD without lyrics, to me it’s heaven…


Well, I bought the CD this past Tuesday, and the “exacting detail” claim is a bit overstated.


Can anyone clarify the 13/16 tracks on “Ghosts of Download”? Does the Deluxe Edition 2CD+DVD version include all 16 tracks or only 13 tracks? The tracklisting on all amazon sites lists only 13 tracks while the blondie.net US shop lists 13 tracks plus 3 bonus tracks for the Deluxe Edition 2CD+DVD.


Is Maria just the No Exit version? Even the vocal sounds identical on that one. Call Me and Dreaming are impressive!

Jeffrey Collins

Actually, I really enjoy the redux. I enjoy it much more than a live album. I am not sure why people have an issue with it. If you don’t want it…don’t buy it.


No sure if it’s against policy to post links (so I shan’t) but there is quite a decent Blondie concert on YouTube (from the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1979).
A search on YouTube for ‘Blondie Old Grey Whistle Test’ should find it – its about 28mins long.
Ms Harry is in fine singing voice and Clem Burke’s drumming is amazing at times…
The only downside (for me) is the predominance of Eat to the Beat material (not one of my fave Blondie albums)
Worth a look

Phil Cohen

Debbie Harry, Chris Stein & Clem Burke have legitimate reason for bitterness towards Frank Infante. Blondie was subject of a plagarism suit over the song “I Know , But I Don’t Know”(on the album “Parallel Lines”) which Infante claimed to have written…but didn’t. The settlement was costly to the entire band.

Paolo Meccano

That’s an astonishingly petty reason for doing so, if true :-(


Presumably there’s enough ill will towards ex-members Gary Valentine, Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison continuing to receive royalties on the originals for Blondie to want to do this? If they still own the rights to the original recordings, I can’t think of another reason.


Pink Floyd also did this for their early 80’s comp “A Collection of Great Dance Songs”


Yes, except drums (programmed! that’s why it sounds so lifeless) and saxophone (Dick Parry, as per original). Exactly why? No idea. “One of these Days” had to be licensed for America as well…


Gave it a brief listen (I’m busy listening to the Eno.Hyde session on the iPlayer at the same time) and I’m actually pretty impressed by Ms. Harry’s voice. As mentioned elsewhere she is almost 70! Saw the band live last year and I was very very impressed by how good they were!

I can totally understand how they would be hacked off by ex-managers making money off them 30 years later.
I quite liked the Squeeze CD (but then again it was a bargain-priced double with a live album)


What’s the cheapest place to buy the vinyl version? So far only amazon.de has it for like 50 Euros.


I’m sorry , but Miss Harry’s voice is not what it was.


Given that she is almost 70 years old I think that her voice sounds great on these recordings


Let’s not forget that Prince once claimed he would be rerecording his entire Warner Bros. catalog for this very reason! That was back during the Crystal Ball era, when Prince said a LOT of stuff that he’d never finish. He got as far as the abominable EP “1999: The New Master.” Yeah, that sold like hotcakes. The world always wanted “1999” rerecorded with Rosario Dawson yammering over the top of it.


Great post and very true


Yet another example of rerecording to circumvent ownership by others comes with Suzanne Vega’s recent Close-Up Series.


Styx did this with “Babe” which was on their first label. They spent several weeks re-creating the song when their old label wanted too much money for it to be on their greatest hits. Many bands do this. ABC did it for their big hits and have been pretty successful in licensing them out.

Victor D

Indeed. Now that you mention it, I also just remembered that Donovan rerecorded “Colours” and “Catch the Wind” for his Greatest Hits with Epic in 1969, simply because they didn’t want to shell out money to license those Pye-owned trax.

Obviously when the CD era came about, they actually licensed those two songs and the Pye recordings are what’s on The Essential and the Greatest Hits CD… remastered 1999 version, that is. The original CD from 1989 has the rerecordings and is exactly like the original LP.


Can she really still hit the high notes, or are they using tape speed tricks? Sounds good, but agree that it’s for $$ purposes. Def Leppard started this forgery process (their term not mine) as well due to royalty disputes with the label. They stopped after only three songs.


Joan Jett did it with some tracks when she was assembling her greatest hits, and the material with Columbia (most notably “I Hate Myself For Loving You”) would cost too much for licensing. The re-recording actually has a bit more punch to it, and I almost prefer that version.


Just listened to a couple of the tracks. Call Me sounds fantastic and very close to the original. On Atomic the vocals are not so good, but then that is one of THE all time great pop singles (in my opinion of course)


Enjoyable but kinda pointless, they just sound tidied up but with an older (and in the case of Atomic, weaker) vocal. Wish they had put a spin on them. Give the multi-tracks to Blank&Jones and let’s have some 70s/80s sounding remixes instead!!


The bands management will now try to persuade any companies interested in using a Blondie track for a TV commercial etc to use one of these versions as the band will receive a bigger cut of the money. You cannot blame them. On the BBC4 documentary on the band, a manager they paid off at huge expense when they were approaching their commercial peak, boasted how he still makes money from the band despite having not spoken to them for over 30 years.


Squeeze were quite explicit about ‘regaining control/copyright’ when they re-recored their hits slightly cheekily titled as ‘Spot The Difference’ in 2010. The Buzzcocks have done the same (‘A Different Compilation’) in 2011 and I’m sure there are others. I can understand their beef tbh, and am sure the desire to faithfully recreate the originals is in the hope that radio/tv/advertisers pick up the re-recording rather than the original. As a fan of different versions of the same song, I personally like Ms Harry’s new vocals and look forward to receiving the new set. Thew new songs are the ones which stretch their artistry more from those I have heard.


The re-records seems a bit pointless to me, and I’m not fussed about the DVD so I cancelled my Amazon pre-order when I saw the 2CD on WOWHD at the weekend for less than £8 which is worth the main album alone.

Mike F

Yes, I do wonder if this is a way to gain better royalties from songs where the original recordings are owned elsewhere. The tracks I know seem musically pretty faithful to the originals, but unsurprisingly (vocal chords being a good 30+ years older on most of the tracks), the vocals sound quite different, and not for the better really.

Julian Bashford

The only reasons for a completely faithful reproduction is either a) money – they aren’t making enough money on the original recording that are owned by a record company or b) the sound quality improves. Sounds very much like a).

I was REALLY hoping for something a little creative and bending the originals a little. Shame.

Jason Paskowitz

Actually, Julian, Blondie retained control of their back catalog. Original keyboard player Jimmy Destri has explained this more than once in various interviews. Also, I’m listening to Heart of Glass right now. There is some “bending” and I enjoy hearing how Debbie’s voice has matured.

Gary Taylor

In 2013, Blondie was entitled to exercise a valuable statutory right that allowed it to terminate the transfer of its interest in its musical compositions to its music publisher in accordance with section 203 of Title 17 of the United States Code Annotated (hereinafter, the Copyright Act). This Act allows artists to recapture copyright interests in certain musical works beginning 35 years after the date of the original transfer to a publisher, commencing with copyrights created in 1978 and thereafter. Accordingly, the Copyright Act would extinguish BMG’s share in income resulting from the distribution of Blondie’s compositions and allow the group to reap the financial benefit from its musical compositions.
Blondie, however, did not exercise its recapture rights. Instead, Blondie executed an Asset Purchase Agreement with BMG, dated December 21, 2012 transferring the recapture rights to BMG for $1.3 million.