The Second Disc

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Gold Legion Goes “Koo Koo,” Expands Debbie Harry’s Solo Debut

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Well before she was French kissin’ in the U.S.A., Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry made a big splash with her 1981 solo debut Koo Koo, produced by the ever-busy CHIC Organization team of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. Thirty years later, the Gold Legion label, the same team behind those upcoming Grace Jones reissues, is releasing a newly expanded edition of the set with a new-to-CD bonus track.

In 1981, in the midst of a yearlong hiatus for Blondie (their latest, 1980’s Autoamerican, spawned chart-topping hits in “Rapture” and “The Tide is High”), Harry and boyfriend Chris Stein, Blondie’s guitarist, began a solo project for Harry. To produce, they enlisted Rodgers and Edwards, all of whom made friends recording at New York City’s Power Station. The CHIC Organization was riding high on the production front, having helmed Diana Ross’ massive diana the year before. (They would also record the sessions for Johnny Mathis‘ legendary unreleased album I Love My Lady in 1981.) They assembled the usual gang to back Harry: Rodgers and Edwards on guitar and bass, drummer Tony Thompson, keyboardists Robert Sabino and Raymond Jones and backing vocals from Fonzi Thornton. (Additional background vocals were credited to “Spud and Pud Devo,” who were, in fact, Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale of the band Devo.)

With a striking album sleeve (featuring a brunette Harry) designed by H.R. Giger, the Swiss surrealist whose designs became the fearsome title character of Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-fi/horror film Alien (1979), Koo Koo was a considerable success, ultimately certified as a gold record in the U.S. for over 500,000 units sold. (The album charted at No. 6 in the U.K., considerably higher than the U.S. placement of No. 25.) Rodgers/Edwards-penned singles “Backfired” and “The Jam Was Moving” were moderate chart hits on both sides of the Atlantic.

The album was reissued by Chrysalis/EMI U.K. in 1994, adding the 12″ mixes of the two singles to the track lineup. (A 1999 U.S. reissue on Razor & Tie only kept the remixed “Backfired.”) Gold Legion includes not only both of those tracks, but, for the first time ever on CD, the extended version of album cut “Inner City Spillover,” which backed the U.K. 12″ of “The Jam Was Moving.” A liner notes essay by Christian John Wikane completes the package.

The set will be available October 28, and you can order your copy here.

Debbie Harry, Koo Koo: Expanded Edition (Gold Legion GLDN 56224, 2011)

  1. Jump Jump
  2. The Jam Was Moving
  3. Chrome
  4. Surrender
  5. Inner City Spillover
  6. Backfired
  7. Now I Know You Know
  8. Under Arrest
  9. Military Rap
  10. Oasis
  11. Backfired (Special Long Version)
  12. The Jam Was Moving (Extended Version)
  13. Inner City Spillover (Extended Version)

Tracks 1-10 released as Chrysalis LP CCR-1347, 1981
Track 11 released on Chrysalis 12″ single CDS-2547, 1981
Tracks 12-13 released on Chrysalis 12″ single CHS 12-2554 (U.K.), 1981

Written by Mike Duquette

October 4, 2011 at 10:33

5 Responses

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  1. Oh man, I don’t know what I’d do without you, Second Disc. I ordered this (and the Grace Jones CDs) the second I saw this post!! Very reasonable prices on their website, too.

    Ryan Clark

    October 4, 2011 at 12:18

  2. I had never heard of the “Gold Legion” label before, but be aware that one person posting on the IMWAN(ex-Ice Magazine) forum cautioned that this label has a tradition of lengthy release postponements, and announcing titles very prematurely, and those who order direct from the label will have their credit cards immediately charged, even if the release of the CD is many months into the future.

    Phil Cohen

    October 4, 2011 at 12:42

    • Thanks for the heads up, Phil. That sucks! Hopefully these releases won’t be delayed. 🙂

      Ryan Clark

      October 4, 2011 at 13:11

  3. they are a great label but yes it’s true that some releases have been delayed by months! as long as you’re patient they will be worth the wait!


    October 4, 2011 at 14:49

  4. I agree with guy – they are worth the wait!


    October 4, 2011 at 20:30

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