Music Video of the Day: Heart of Glass by Blondie (1978, directed by Stanley Dorfman)


On August 1st, 1981, MTV premiered. Over the course of 24 hours, 166 unique music videos were played on MTV. Yes, there was a time when the M actually did stand for music.

After airing the video for A Message To You, Rudy, MTV re-showed the video for In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins.  This was followed by the 71st video to makes it MTV premiere that day, Heart of Glass by Blondie.

I was actually surprised to discover that this video hadn’t been featured on this site before because, to me, it just epitomizes an era.  But I was actually even more surprised to discover that MTV only aired it once on August 1st.  MTV found time play and re-play 11 Rod Stewart videos throughout the day but they could only find time for one airing of Heart of Glass?

Though it’s now one of the band’s signature tunes, Heart of Glass was controversial when it was first released.  Many felt the Blondie, which had come to prominence as a part of the punk movement, was selling out by going disco.  The song, though, is actually very punk in spirit, even if it does have a disco beat.

This video was directed by Stanley Dorfman, the British music video director who also created the deathless Top of the Pops for the BBC.  Because of the appearance of Studio 54 in the video’s opening moments, it was originally rumored that the video was shot there.  Instead, it was filmed at a club that closed down shortly after filming.  When asked, Blondie’s Chris Stein couldn’t even remember the name of the club but thought that it might have been called Copa.

Finally, shortly after it was first released, the song was featured on an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati and the band felt that show played a huge role in making the song a hit.  They even sent the show’s producer a gold record as a way of thanking them.  That gold record could be seen in several episodes, hanging in the bullpen.

The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx
  11. When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters
  12. History Never Repeats by Split Enz
  13. Hold On Loosely by .38 Special
  14. Just Between You And Me by April Wine
  15. Sailing by Rod Stewart
  16. Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden
  17. Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon
  18. Better Than Blue by Michael Johnson
  19. Message of Love by The Pretenders
  20. Mr. Briefcase by Lee Ritenour
  21. Double Life by The Cars
  22. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
  23. Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer
  24. Too Late by Shoes
  25. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  26. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  27. Surface Tension by Rupert Hine
  28. One Step Ahead by Split Enz
  29. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
  30. I’m Gonna Follow You by Pat Benatar
  31. Savannah Nights by Tom Johnston
  32. Lucille by Rockestra
  33. The Best of Times by Styx
  34. Vengeance by Carly Simon
  35. Wrathchild by Iron Maiden
  36. I Wanna Be a Lifeguard by Blotto
  37. Passion by Rod Stewart
  38. Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello
  39. Don’t Let Me Go by REO Speedwagon
  40. Remote Control and Illegal by The Silencers
  41. Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton
  42. Little Sister by Rockpile with Robert Plant
  43. Hold On To The Night by Bootcamp
  44. Dreamin’ by Cliff Richard
  45. Is It You? by Lee Ritenour 
  46. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
  47. He Can’t Love You by Michael Stanley Band
  48. Tough Guys by REO Speedwagon
  49. Rapture by Blondie
  50. Don’t Let Go The Coat by The Who
  51. Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart
  52. Talk of the Town by The Pretenders
  53. Can’t Happen Here by Rainbow
  54. Thank You For Being A Friend by Andrew Gold
  55. Bring It All Home by Gerry Rafferty
  56. Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine
  57. The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush
  58. All Night Long by Raindow
  59. Boys Keep Swinging by David Bowie
  60. Rat Race by The Specials
  61. Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  62. Victim by Bootcamp
  63. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna be Alright) by Rod Stewart
  64. Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe
  65. A Little In Love by Cliff Richard
  66. Wild-Eyed Southern Boys by 38 Special
  67. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
  68. Celebrate The Bullet by The Selecter
  69. More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer
  70. A Message To You, Rudy by The Specials

13 responses to “Music Video of the Day: Heart of Glass by Blondie (1978, directed by Stanley Dorfman)

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