…we just walk on by, we just keep on dreaming

Founded in New York’s Bowery in 1973, the awning read: CBGB and beneath that, OMFUG, acronyms of the kind of music that club owner Hilly Kristal meant to feature: “Country Bluegrass Blues” and “Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.” Affectionately referred to as CB’s, Kristol also intended to feature poetry readings.

Instead CBGB became world-famous as the birthplace of America’s Punk and New Wave movements. This was in an era when there were very few locations in New York where unknown bands could play their original songs. Purely by coincidence (at least in the beginning) and as a way to avoid having to pay ASCAP royalties, the otherwise open-minded Kristal had but one rule that a group must follow if they were to play in his venue, they must play mainly original music….

Throughout the 1970s the club helped to foster such fledgling groups as: the Ramones, The B-52’s, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Talking Heads, Television, the Patti Smith Group, Mink Deville and (in more than one variation), Blondie.

Born in Miami in 1945, Deborah Ann Harry graduated from Centenary College in Hackettstown, New Jersey before moving to New York and finding work, variously, as a secretary (at BBC Radio), a Playboy Bunny and a go-go dancer. She had musical aspirations throughout, of course, and recorded an album with the folk rock group, The Wind in the Willows in the late ‘60s.

In the early ‘70s she sang with The Stilettos, which performed at CBGB.  Eventually Harry and the group’s guitarist (and her subsequent life partner) Chris Stein formed a group called Angel and the Snake, a name that was shortly changed in honor of the frequent catcalls the stunning singer would receive whenever she walked down the street, “Hey Blondie!”

Continual regulars at CBGB, Blondie released its eponymous debut album in 1976 to decent reviews but tepid sales, and it wasn’t until 1978, with the release of their second and third albums (“Plastic Letters” and “Parallel Lines”) that they met with mainstream success. Today’s selection was featured on the group’s fourth album “Eat to the Beat” in 1979, reaching Number 27 on the U.S. Billboard charts and Number 2 on the UK Charts.

Sadly CBGB was forced to close over a rent dispute in 2005 (a high-end men’s fashion designer is now in the location) and Hilly Kristal died a few years later.  As for (“they’re a group, not a girl”) Blondie, after a few hiatuses they’re back on tour and at the age of 66, Debbie Harry still owns the stage, as she did a few months ago at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, while working through the group’s exceptional playlist, including… not “Dream” or “Dreams” but… “Dreaming”.

LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Friday 29 June 

Dreaming

 When I met you in the restaurant

You could tell I was no debutante

You asked me what’s my pleasure

A movie or a measure?

I’ll have a cup of tea and tell you of my dreaming

Dreaming is free

I don’t want to live on charity

Pleasure’s real or is it fantasy?

Reel to reel is living rarity

People stop and stare at me

We just walk on by, we just keep on dreaming

 Feet, feet, walking a two mile

Meet, meet, meet me at the turnstile

I never met him, I’ll never forget him

Dream, dream, even for a little while

Dream, dream, filling up an idle hour

Fade away, radiate

 I sit by and watch the river flow

I sit by and watch the traffic go

Imagine something of your very own

Something you can have and hold

I’d build a road in gold

Just to have some dreaming

 Dreaming is free

Dreaming

Dreaming is free

Dreaming

Dreaming is free

Dreaming

Dreaming is free…

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