Blondie: Debbie Harry Revealed This Lyric From ‘Heart of Glass’ Upset People

Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” might seem like innocuous music; however, it was risqué enough to offend some people. This was because of one lyric of the song. Blondie’s Debbie Harry had a theory as to why this lyric proved so controversial.

Debbie Harry of Blondie wearing pink and running her fingers through her hair
Debbie Harry of Blondie | Armando Gallo/Getty Images

The original version of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ was very different from the final version

Today, “Heart of Glass” is a classic dance song. Salon reports it was originally supposed to be comic and ironic. It was one of the first songs Blondie member Chris Stein penned for the band.

Stein revealed how “Heart of Glass” evolved. “The early version of ‘Heart of Glass,’ that arrangement had a more standard disco beat, with doubles on the hi-hats and so on,” Stein said. “But Jimmy [Destri] had just bought a Roland drum machine and we were all really into Kraftwerk by the time we recorded it for Parallel Lines. The final version, to us, wasn’t really disco. We were thinking more along the lines of European electronic pop.”

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Blondie’s Debbie Harry said 1 line of the song might’ve ‘upset’ people for using a 3-letter word

Harry revealed the phrase “Heart of Glass” came out of an attempt to get rid of a vulgar lyric. “Back when it was called ‘The Disco Song,’ pretty much all I said was, ‘Once I had a love, it was a gas. Soon turned out, it was a pain in the ass,'” she recalled. “It didn’t quite work well, so that’s when we came up with the line, ‘Soon turned out, had a heart of glass.'” Despite this lyrical change, Blondie still used the phrase “pain in the ass” near the end of the song.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Harry discussed the controversy surrounding the line. “People got upset because I sang ‘ass,'” Harry recalled. “Maybe because it’s a three-letter word and not a four-letter word? I think we got banned in a few places because of that.”

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How the world reacted to ‘Heart of Glass’

The ban did not seem to affect the success of “Heart of Glass.” The track topped the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 21 weeks. Parallel Lines was a hit as well, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and staying on the chart for 103 weeks.

“Heart of Glass” was also a hit in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the track reached No. 1 in the U.K., staying on the chart for 15 weeks. Parallel Lines peaked at No. 1 in the U.K., staying on the chart for 115 weeks.

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“Heart of Glass” became a critical darling. Rolling Stone ranked it No. 259 on its list of the 500 greatest songs ever. The list mostly consists of classic rock songs, making “Heart of Glass” a bit of an outlier. 

One of the lyrics to “Heart of Glass” upset some people; however, that didn’t stop the song from becoming a classic.