As the summer months come to a close, one can’t help but look ahead and begin daydreaming about the holidays to come. And this year, legendary New York rock band Blondie are bringing a little more fun to the holiday season with the release of their EP: Yuletide Throwdown. The 3-track EP, released digitally today, and on a 12” limited edition vinyl in both magenta and black, on November 5th (via UMe-Capitol/Numero Group) features the ultra-rare 80’s Christmas-inspired track “Yuletide Throwdown,” co-written and performed with Fab 5 Freddy, along with a new, exclusive remix of the song by Cut Chemist.
The ultra-rare 1981 holiday flexi-disc, now being reissued for the first time on 180 gram vinyl, was originally given away by the U.K. magazine Flexipop and then rediscovered as the band was researching and reviewing material from their personal archive for their forthcoming box set, to be released in August of 2022.
If it sounds familiar, here’s why: the track was actually the original recording for what would later become one of Blondie’s biggest hits, “Rapture.” After shelving this version because the tempo was recorded too slowly (it was later recut into what became the global hit song), Chris decided to go back into the studio a year later with the original track to record Debbie and Freddy’s “Throwdown” vocals for this cheeky, holiday masterpiece.
“It has been an impossible amount of time since I believed in Santa Claus, but I could very well believe again if he was Freddy Brathwaite!! Some of my best times have been making music with Chris Stein and Freddy B,” notes Debbie Harry, with Chris Stein adding: “Freddy has done as much as any multi-platinum selling Hip-Hop star to promote rap culture.”
Fab 5 Freddy expands: “In the beginning of my journey into pop culture, Chris & Debbie were among the first to take me and my ideas about hip hop culture seriously and were like mentors to me shining a light along the road and assisting my quest. I’m happy after all this time the world can now hear this fun holiday tune we did way back then!”
Flash forward 40 years – as the band sought to re-release the original recording, they engaged DJ and producer Cut Chemist (also known for his previous work as a member of both Ozmalti and Jurassic 5) to put his spin on the track, thus rounding out the Yuletide Throwdown EP project.
Cut Chemist (Lucas MacFadden) explains: “Blondie and Fab 5 Freddy are two giants in their respective cultures. “Yuletide Throwdown” is a perfect example of those worlds coming together. Chris Stein’s music and Debbie trading raps with Fab created something entirely new sounding. It was an honor to work on this project as I have been a fan of their work for my entire life.”
The new 2021 mix of the original track, which appears on the EP, was produced by 4x Grammy® winner Steve Rosenthal and mixed from the original analog tapes by Grammy® winner Tom Camuso on his vintage Neve console at Studio E in Brooklyn.
The limited edition vinyl, available in both magenta and black versions, will come packaged in a die-cut bespoke ‘disco-bag’ style sleeve with exclusive artwork by New York graffiti artist ‘Hugogyrl.’
Undeniably one of the most trailblazing and influential bands of our time, Blondie is pioneering frontwoman/songwriter Debbie Harry, guitarist/conceptual mastermind Chris Stein and powerhouse drummer Clem Burke, along with now long standing bandmates bassist Leigh Foxx, guitarist Tommy Kessler and keyboardist Matt Katz-Bohen.
Among their hits is the groundbreaking rock-disco hybrid “Heart of Glass,” the equally influential hip-hop fantasia “Rapture,” the stalker-love song “One Way Or Another,” and the lilting calypso “The Tide Is High.” It’s a thrilling journey back to when Blondie pushed punk onto the dance floor and introduced a wider audience to hip-hop sounds, all the while building a catalog of enduring hits along the way.
For the last four decades, Blondie has become and still remains a true global icon, one whose influence both shaped and continues to inform the worlds of music, fashion and art. From an irreverent Lower East Side punk outfit to bona fide international ambassadors of New York cool, Blondie will forever be synonymous with that punk spirit that lives somewhere in all of us. Their chart-topping success, fearless spirit and rare longevity led to an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 and more than 40 million albums sold worldwide to date. As we look back at the band’s storied career, it makes Blondie’s current vibrancy that much more stunning after 40 years of entertaining all of us.
And the band shows no signs of slowing down – Blondie’s latest release BLONDIE: VIVIR EN LA HABANA (Limited edition blue vinyl) is out now. The new soundtrack comes from the short film capturing the band’s 2019 live debut performance in Havana, Cuba. The film already has growing recognition from the industry with a string of film festival premieres around the world, including its U.K. premiere at the Sheffield Doc/Fest and U.S. premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June.