Rockbird

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Rockbird
Studio album by Debbie Harry
Released November 15, 1986
Recorded 1986
Genre Pop, rock
Length 36:09
Label Geffen/Chrysalis
Producer Seth Justman
Debbie Harry chronology
KooKoo
(1981)
Rockbird
(1986)
Once More into the Bleach
(1988)
Singles from Rockbird
  1. "French Kissin' in the USA"
    Released: November 1986
  2. "Free to Fall"
    Released: 1987
  3. "In Love with Love"
    Released: May 1987
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]

Rockbird is the second solo album by American singer and actress Debbie Harry, released in November 1986 on Geffen Records.

Album information[edit]

Rockbird was Harry's second solo album, and came four years after the split of Blondie in 1982. Harry had largely put her music career on hold during the mid-1980s in order to look after boyfriend Chris Stein who had been diagnosed with a serious illness. The album was produced by Seth Justman, a key member of the J. Geils Band. Released in November 1986, there were five variations of the album artwork with the lettering in either green, orange, purple, pink and yellow.

The album peaked at #32 in the UK, and remained in the charts for 11 weeks. Although one of her lowest charting solo albums in the UK to date, it was ironically the highest selling and was certified "Gold" by the BPI in January 1987 for sales in excess of 100,000 copies. Due to lack of record company promotion, the album was far less successful in the US, peaking at #97 on Billboard's album charts.

A stylised version of the album's cover photo features on the cover of some editions of the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".

Singles[edit]

Three singles were released from the album, "French Kissin' in the USA", which reached #8 in the UK, and is Harry's only solo top 10 single in that territory, as well as "In Love With Love" and "Free To Fall", which reached #45 and #46 respectively. "French Kissin'" also reached #57 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and #3 in Australia.

Track listing[edit]

Side A:

  1. "I Want You" (Deborah Harry, Toni C.) - 4:28
  2. "French Kissin' in the USA" (Chuck Lorre) - 5:14 About this sound Listen 
  3. "Buckle Up" (Deborah Harry, Seth Justman) - 3:46
  4. "In Love with Love" (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) - 4:34 About this sound Listen 

Side B:

  1. "You Got Me In Trouble" (Deborah Harry, Seth Justman) - 4:18
  2. "Free to Fall" (Deborah Harry, Seth Justman) - 5:31 About this sound Listen 
  3. "Rockbird" (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) - 3:09
  4. "Secret Life" (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) - 3:46
  5. "Beyond the Limit" (Deborah Harry, Nile Rodgers) - 4:37

Personnel[edit]

  • Deborah Harry - lead vocals, backing vocals all tracks except "French Kissin'"
  • Jimmy Rip - guitar all tracks
  • Toni C. - additional guitar "I Want You"
  • Phil Ashley - drum and bass programming & keyboards "I Want You", "French Kissin'", "In Love With Love", "Rockbird" & "Secret Life", keyboards "You Got Me In Trouble" & "Free To Fall"
  • Seth Justman - drum and bass programming & keyboards "I Want You", "French Kissin'", "In Love With Love", "Rockbird" & "Secret Life", keyboards "Buckle Up", "You Got Me In Trouble", "Free To Fall" & "Beyond The Limit", backing vocals all tracks except "French Kissin'"
  • Magic Dick - harmonica "I Want You"
  • James White - saxophone solo "I Want You"
  • Jocelyn Brown - backing vocals "I Want You", "French Kissin'", "You Got Me In Trouble" & "Free To Fall"
  • Connie Harvey - backing vocals "I Want You", "French Kissin'", "You Got Me In Trouble", & "Free To Fall"
  • La Rita Gaskins - backing vocals "I Want You", "French Kissin'", "You Got Me In Trouble", & "Free To Fall"
  • Crispin Cloe - alto saxophone solo "French Kissin'"
  • Gordon Gottlieb - percussion "French Kissin'", "Buckle Up", "In Love With Love", "Secret Life" & "Beyond The Limit"
  • Neil Jason - bass "Buckle Up", "You Got Me In Trouble", "Free To Fall", "Secret Life" & "Beyond The Limit"
  • Yogi Horton - drums "Buckle Up", "You Got Me In Trouble", "Free To Fall" & "Beyond The Limit"
  • The Uptown Horns - "Buckle Up", "You Got Me In Trouble" & "Beyond The Limit"
  • Cripsin Cloe - alto sax, baritone sax
  • Paul Litterel - trumpet
  • Arne Hecht - tenor sax
  • Robert Funk - trombone
  • Cookie Watkins - backing vocals "Buckle Up"
  • Judith Spears - backing vocals "Buckle Up"
  • Fonda Rae - backing vocals "Buckle Up"
  • Jay Siegel - backing vocals "In Love With Love"
  • Chris Stein - additional guitar "In Love With Love", "Free To Fall" & "Rockbird", bass and drum programming "In Love With Love", "Rockbird" & "Secret Life"
  • Mickey Curry - drums "You Got Me In Trouble"
  • Bill Scheniman - additional percussion and backing vocals

Production[edit]

  • Seth Justman - producer & arranger
  • Chris Stein - additional arrangement "In Love With Love", "Rockbird", "Secret Life"
  • Bill Scheniman - recording, mixing
  • Kyle Davis - production coordinator
  • Jack Kennedy - assistant sound engineer
  • Rick Slater - assistant engineer
  • Ken Collins - assistant engineer
  • Ken Steiger - assistant engineer
  • Jon Goldderger - assistant engineer
  • Kent Wagner - assistant engineer
  • John Alters - assistant engineer
  • Dave Avidor - assistant engineer
  • Michael O'Haro -assistant engineer
  • Greg Calbi - sound
  • Stephen Sprouse - cover design
  • Andy Warhol - background painting
  • Paula Greif - art direction
  • Christiaan - hair
  • Linda Mason - make-up
  • Guzman (Constance Hansen & Russell Peacock)- photography
  • Recorded at Mayfair Recording, Unique Recording, Electric Lady Studios, Sorcerer Sound, Power Station, A & R Recording, AMC Mission Control, Boston Mass.
  • Mixed at Counterpoint Studios, NYC

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Rockbird at AllMusic
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review