Friday, June 30, 2023

Original Album Cover for Blondie's 'Parallel Lines' Revealed

I consider myself to be one of the biggest Blondie fans on the planet, so it was a real shock to finally see what keyboardist Jimmy Destri says was the cover for Blondie's "Parallel Lines" that the band actually wanted. The rooftop image was taken by Roberta Bayley, who was the unofficial photographer of the downtown NYC scene back then and a friend of Debbie Harry's. 
The sleeve ended up being used for the Dutch promo of the album but nowhere else.
At the Record Plant, 1978 (from left) -- Chris Stein, Clem Burke, Mike Chapman (with sunglasses), Nigel Harrison, Debbie Harry, Frank Infante, Peter Leeds
The band's "evil" manager at the time, Peter Leeds, famously bullied them into posing for a different photo they had no desire to take -- where all the men are smiling and Debbie is scowling -- and he ended up vetoing the band's cover pick in favor of it. 
“Everyone just flipped out,” Debbie told Q in 2011. “We were shocked that the artwork had been completed without our approval and that the decision had been made without the band.” 
“We were all pissed about how we were smiling in the cover photo” Chris Stein wrote in the 30th Anniversary liner notes. “We picked out the shots that we liked but our manager picked the one shot he liked and went with that. Everyone was annoyed because we wanted to look more rock 'n' roll.”
Which do you prefer? 
The image was shot by Edo Bertoglio (apparently hired by Bayley) and while some members of the band still don't like it 45 years later, as music journalist Tim Peacock noted, the cover became "iconic -- and instantly recognizable."
The LP took its name from an unused track written by Debbie, the lyrics of which were included in the first vinyl edition of the album. From HERE.
Outtakes from the cover
And here's an outtake from the scrapped cover