Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” Lyrics Meaning

As originally conceived, Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” was supposed to be premised on some dude stalking the female narrator. But as time progressed and the lyrics were undoubtedly modified, it became more akin to a track centered on what was, at least at one point in time, a consensual relationship. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Blondie's Heart of Glass at

But alas, said romance was not meant to be. And the aforementioned narrator, Debbie Harry, didn’t want to play the role of, as she put it, a “girl… beaten by love”, which is as such songs usually go. Instead, as we all know, sometimes it is the woman herself who decides to call it quits.

And that is the scenario we are dealing with here. At first the featured relationship was “a gas”, i.e. a lot of fun. But eventually it “turned out” that either the vocalist or her ex or both of them developed “a heart of glass”. Or phrased otherwise, some type of major discontent materialized in their romance.

Debbie Harry explains Heart of Glass

“Heart of Glass”

And if you’re wondering what exactly the titular metaphors means, well, it doesn’t really have any particular meaning. It’s rather one of those types of analogies that reads as if ‘a heart of glass’ as opposed to one of flesh, i.e. this relationship now being devoid of emotion. And that is how the singer presently feels towards her the other participant. 

Or more specifically in terms of the history of the song, that line originally read “soon turned out it was a pain in the a-s”, as it does in the final verse. But Blondie came to the realization that they could not use that term throughout, which is why they changed it to “heart of glass” primarily because, you know, it rhymes with “a-s”.

But that being noted, the term “heart of glass” is only used twice, as the first verse is repeated later on. And the point still clearly comes across even with that modification. That is to say that the relationship was all gravy at first. 

Big Disappointment

In fact the singer actually thought she may have found “the real thing”, i.e. her soulmate. But as time progressed things didn’t quite materialize that way. And the way the situation comes off, once again via the use of colorful metaphors, is basically as if dude is playing her. 

Or put more precisely he is mistreating her, ‘pushing her aside’ for instance. And the further implication is that he is doing something behind the scenes, perhaps cheating. And these actions have ruined the trust between them.

So now this romance which seemed so ideal previously has rather morphed into, as stated earlier, “a pain in the a-s”. Or simply put, it is something which the narrator no longer enjoys. And in the aftermath, her faith in love has been minimized overall.

At the end of the day…

The easiest way of classifying this song is as it being based on heartbreak, though there is more to it than that. The singer is clearly disappointed that the relationship with the man she once loved didn’t work out. And said disappointment has negatively affected her outlook on romance altogether. 

But at the same time she isn’t crying about it. Rather to her, the whole fiasco, if you will, is more like a lesson learned than anything else.

Lyrics of "Heart of Glass"

Music Video

The music video to this song was produced by Stanley Dorfman. And if you’re thinking that it was unusual for an act, especially an American one, to come out with a video even prior to the existence of MTV, then you are in fact correct. 

But Blondie regularly did so and was ahead a curve in that regard. And that would explain why many of their hits have accompanying music videos. 

It is believed that they did so because they were actually popular outside of the US, i.e. in Europe, were the practice of producing music videos was already quite common at that time.

The “silver asymmetrical dress” which Debbie Harry wears on the music video was put together by the late fashion designer Stephen Sprouse (1953-2004).

Blondie and “Heart of Glass”

Despite this song sounding kinda UK-ish, Blondie is actually a bad from New York City. Their specialty is a genre of music known as new wave, which “Heart of Glass” falls under (as its second genre, which we will get to briefly). 

And if you’re familiar with this track, then you’ve likely also heard of their other signature hits, “Call Me” (1980), “Rapture” (1981) and “The Tide Is High” (1980), the last of which is actually classified as a reggae song.

The primary genre which “Heart of Glass” is classified under is disco, with the aforementioned new wave coming in second. 

Blondie intentionally set out to create a disco song not only because said musical style dominated the 1970s but also due to the fact that Chris Stein in particular was always interested in disco. However, the band’s established fans, who recognized them as a new wave act, weren’t thrilled at all (with new wavers at the time being anti-disco in general). At the end of the day, these fans accused the group of selling out.  

Moreover, disco acts themselves didn’t accept Blondie as one of their own. But despite all of that this was still the group’s breakthrough hit. For instance it marked their very first UK number one, and they would go on to have five more before the end of the century.

Blondie originally formed in 1974 and for a brief time operated under the name “Angel and the Snake”. And if you think lead singer Debbie Harry was hella hot back in the day you’re not the only one! FYI, she actually worked as a Playboy Bunny for some years prior to her Blondie days.

Heart of Glass
Cover art for “Heart of Glass”

Who wrote “Heart of Glass”?

It was Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, who were dating at the time, who wrote this song. And the producer of the track is an Australian musician by the name of Mike Chapman.

The last verse of the song features the line “soon turned out it was a pain in the a-s”. Well the word “a-s” was still sort of taboo at the time. So the radio version of the track rather reads “soon turned out I had a heart of glass” in the third verse as it does in the first.

Release Date and Success

Chrysalis Records put this song out during January of 1979. It was the fourth of six singles from the group’s third album, which is entitled “Parallel Lines” (1978).

Concerning the aforenoted assertion that Blondie sound as if they are from the UK, “Heart of Glass” did in fact prove mega-successful across the pond. In fact as at 2018, it holds 66th place amongst the best-selling singles in UK Singles Chart history. And accordingly, the track did reach number one on said chart, as well as being certified platinum in England.

Additionally, “Heart of Glass” topped the Billboard Hot 100, Cash Box Top 100, Kent Music Report, Canada Top Singles and music charts in a few other countries. Certification-wise where it performed most impressively was up north, going double-platinum in Canada.

Moreover the late John Lennon (1940-1980) was a fan of this tune. Or more specifically he reportedly advised his former Beatles’ bandmate, Ringo Starr, that he should endeavor to write songs similar to “Heart of Glass”.

“Once I Had a Love”

An earlier, demo version of this song, entitled “Once I Had a Love”, was recorded in 1974, after the authors had penned it the year prior. And for clarification’s sake, Debbie Harry has explained that the lyrics are not about anyone in particular.

Debbie Harry talks about "Heart of Glass"

Where did Blondie record “Heart of Glass”?

Blondie laid down the recording of this song at the NYC branch of a (former) studio franchise known as the Record Plant. That particular facility closed down in 1987. Yet there is still a Los Angeles branch of the Record Plant extant well into the 21st century. And throughout its history, the franchise has catered to some of the greatest music acts in history.

The drumming on this song was performed by Clem Burke as well as a drum machine known as the CR-78, with the two of them being blended together. And synchronizing the two wasn’t an easy task at all back in those days.

Blondie broke up for about 15 years during the late-20th century. However, they reformed in 1997 and are still active as at the beginning of the 2020s. But of course, there have been some personnel changes throughout the years. 

So the members of the band when this track came out, in addition to frontwoman Debbie Harry, were as follows:

  • Clem Burke (drummer)
  • Jimmy Destri (keyboardist)
  • Nigel Harrison (bassist)
  • Frank Infante (guitarist)
  • Chris Stein (guitarist)

And out of those six Harry, Burke and Stein, respectively at the ages of 75, 66 and 71, are still down with the crew as of the onset of 2021.

Miley Cyrus

On September 29th of 2020, Miley Cyrus released a cover of this Blondie classic. A week or two prior to the release, she had performed the song live. And the success of the said performance was what made her officially release the single later that month as part of her “Plastic Hearts” album.

Below is a Cyrus’ critically acclaimed performance of “Heart of Glass”. The performance took place at the 2020 edition of the iHeartRadio music concert festival in Las Vegas.

1 Response

  1. Ricardito says:

    I’ve always interpreted her saying her partner had a heart of glass to mean that he was too fragile, breakable, not tough enough

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