Atomic (song)

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"Atomic"
Atomic by Blondie US single.png
Artwork for US vinyl single; non-US releases using this artwork use different titling layout
Single by Blondie
from the album Eat to the Beat
B-side"Die Young, Stay Pretty"
ReleasedFebruary 1980
Recorded1979
Genre
Length
  • 4:40 (album version)
  • 3:48 (single edit)
LabelChrysalis
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Mike Chapman
Blondie singles chronology
"Call Me"
(1980)
"Atomic"
(1980)
"The Tide Is High"
(1980)
Audio sample

"Atomic" is a 1980 song by American rock band Blondie from their fourth studio album, Eat to the Beat (1979). Written by Debbie Harry and Jimmy Destri and produced by Mike Chapman, the song was released as the album's third single.

Song information[edit]

"Atomic" was composed by Jimmy Destri and Debbie Harry, who (in the book "1000 UK #1 Hits" by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh) stated, "He was trying to do something like 'Heart of Glass', and then somehow or another we gave it the Spaghetti Western treatment. Before that it was just lying there like a lox. The lyrics, well, a lot of the time I would write while the band were just playing the song and trying to figure it out. I would just be scatting along with them and I would just start going, 'Ooooooh, your hair is beautiful.'"[1] The word atomic in the song carries no fixed meaning and functions as a signifier of power and futurism.[2] The bridge to, and the break in the melody before "Atomic" is spoken, is heavily influenced by the bridge in the song "I'm on my way" by Dean Parish.[citation needed]

The song was produced as a mixture of new wave, rock and disco which had proven to be so successful in their number-one single from earlier in 1979, "Heart of Glass". It is written in E natural minor.[citation needed] Billboard described "Atomic" as an "electronic enhanced dance number" in which the vocals blend with the instrumental music.[3] Cash Box said that it continues "the rock-dance fission, or rather fusion, with '60s inspired surf guitars and ground zero drumming."[4]

The 1980 single version of "Atomic" was a remix. The original 4:35 version as featured on the albums Eat to the Beat and 1981's The Best of Blondie opens with an intro inspired by the nursery rhyme "Three Blind Mice" and includes an instrumental break with a bass guitar solo. The 7″ version mixed by Mike Chapman omits the "Three Blind Mice" intro and replaces the instrumental break with a repeat of the verse.[citation needed]

Release and reception[edit]

The song was released in February 1980 and became the band's third number one in the UK Singles Chart, where it held the top spot for two weeks.[5] It reached the Top 40 in the US in Spring 1980.

The B-side was "Die Young, Stay Pretty", also from the album Eat to the Beat, a reggae-influenced track, a style the band would perform again in their global chart-topper "The Tide Is High". The UK 12" single contained a live cover version of Bowie's "Heroes" featuring Robert Fripp on guitar recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon just a month before. The track was included on 1993's rarities compilation, Blonde and Beyond.[citation needed]

"Atomic" was remixed and re-released in the UK in September 1994 where it peaked at #19 on the UK Top 40 singles chart.[6] The subsequent April 1995 US release reached number one on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Charts.[7] The 1994 remix was included on the compilations The Platinum Collection, Beautiful - The Remix Album and Remixed Remade Remodeled - The Remix Project. The track was remixed again four years later for the UK compilation Atomic - The Very Best of Blondie and the '98 Xenomania mix was later included on the first Queer as Folk soundtrack album.[citation needed]

In 2014, Blondie re-recorded the song for their compilation album Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux. The compilation was part of a 2-disc set called Blondie 4(0) Ever which included their tenth studio album, Ghosts of Download, and marked the 40th anniversary of the forming of the band.

"Atomic" is widely considered one of Blondie's best songs. In 2017, Billboard ranked the song number six on their list of the 10 greatest Blondie songs,[8] and in 2021, The Guardian ranked the song number two on their list of the 20 greatest Blondie songs.[9]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Atomic" depicts the band performing on stage at what looks like a post-apocalyptic nightclub in which Debbie Harry is wearing a garbage bag as a punkish futuristic costume. The audience at the club are also dressed in suitably futuristic costumes, and footage of a horseman with the "Blondie: in the disco" new year's concert advertisement.[10][11] and an atomic explosion are also intercut.

Track listing[edit]

  • UK 7" (Chrysalis CHS 2410)
  • US 7" (Chrysalis CHS 2410)
  1. "Atomic" (7" Mix) (Deborah Harry, Jimmy Destri) – 3:48
  2. "Die Young Stay Pretty" (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) – 3:27
  • UK 12" (Chrysalis CHS 12 2410)
  1. "Atomic" (7" Mix) (Deborah Harry, Jimmy Destri) – 3:48
  2. "Die Young Stay Pretty" (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) – 3:27
  3. "Heroes" (Live) (David Bowie, Brian Eno) – 6:28

(Recorded live at The Hammersmith Odeon, London, on January 12, 1980. Produced by C. Stein, J. Destri and P. Maloney.)

  • UK 1994 Remix CD1 (7243 8 81661 2 6)
  1. "Atomic" (Diddy's Edit) – 4:10
  2. "Atomic" (Diddy's 12" Mix) – 6:54
  3. "Atomic" (Diddy's Push The Button Mix) – 6:06
  4. "Atomic" (Boom Mix) – 5:49
  5. "Atomic" (New Disco Mix) – 7:56
  • UK 1994 Remix CD2 (7243 8 81662 2 5)
  1. "Atomic" (Diddy's Edit) – 4:10
  2. "Sunday Girl" – 3:01
  3. "Union City Blue" – 3:18
  4. "Atomic" (Original 1980 7" Edit) – 3:50
  • US 1995 Remix CD (7243 8 58340 2 8)
  1. "Atomic" (Diddy's Remix Edit) – 4:10 *
  2. "Atomic" (Original Single Version) – 3:50 **
  3. "Atomic" (Diddy's 12" Mix) – 6:54
  4. "Atomic" (Armand's Atomizer Mix) – 9:00
  5. "Atomic" (Explosive Ecstasy Mix) – 5:50
  6. "Atomic" (Beautiful Drum and Bass Mix) – 7:43
  7. "Atomic" (New Disco Mix) – 7:56
  8. "Slow Motion" (Stripped Down Motown Mix) – 3:30

(* Identical to the UK Diddy's Edit version.) (** Identical to the UK Original 1980 7" Edit version.)

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[36] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Sleepy Sleepers version[edit]

"Painimaan" by the Finnish band Sleepy Sleepers is a cover version of the song. The song was released on the band's 1980 album Metsäratio and is sung entirely in Finnish.

Party Animals version[edit]

"Atomic"
Party Animals - Atomic.jpg
Single by Party Animals
from the album Party@worldaccess.nl
ReleasedMay 10, 1997
GenreHappy hardcore, gabber
Length3:27
LabelMokum
Songwriter(s)Debbie Harry, Jimmy Destri
Producer(s)Flamman & Abraxas
Party Animals singles chronology
"We Like to Party"
(1997)
"Atomic"
(1997)
"My Way"
(1997)

"Atomic" was covered by Dutch group Party Animals and released as the fifth single from their second album, Party@worldaccess.nl (1997). The song was released in 1997 and was a minor success in Hong Kong. The song is a cover version of the Blondie song recorded with a gabber beat. The song peaked at number 8 in the Dutch Top 40.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Atomic" (Flamman & Abraxas radio mix) – 3:31
  2. "Mocht Ik onder het Hakkûh Bezwijken" – 5:32
  3. "Atom-X" – 4:52
  4. "Total Smash" – 5:15

Charts[edit]

In other media[edit]

The song was used at the end of the first episode of the second series of Not the Nine O'Clock News in a sketch entitled 'Blatant Pornography'. The Blondie version of the song appeared in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the fictional in-game radio station "Wave 103". The song was also covered by the British rock band Sleeper which was featured in the Trainspotting soundtrack, the spanish film Perdedores Natos soundtracks and HBO Max Series "The Flight Attendant" ending credits on Season 1, episode 7.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dimery, Robert (2011). "Atomic". 1001 Songs: You Must Hear Before You Die. Hachette UK. ISBN 1844037177, 9781844037179
  2. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott; Schreiber, Ryan, eds. (November 2008). The Pitchfork 500. Simon & Schuster. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-4165-6202-3.
  3. ^ "Review: Blondie – Atomic" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 92, no. 20. New York: Billboard Publications Inc. May 17, 1980. p. 68. ISSN 0006-2510. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 8, 2022. Retrieved February 11, 2022 – via World Radio History.
  4. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. May 17, 1980. p. 18. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 378. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ "Blondie - Atomic 1994". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  7. ^ "Blondie - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  8. ^ Zlatopolsky, Ashley (May 6, 2017). "Blondie's 10 Greatest Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  9. ^ Petridis, Alexis (October 14, 2021). "Blondie's 20 greatest songs – ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  10. ^ * Blondie - Atomic on YouTube
  11. ^ The billboards show as following: (in Thai) (Green Spot logo) กรีนสปอต และ ไนท์สปอต ขอเชิญชม BLONDIE IN THE DISCO ณ คอนแวนชั่นฮอลล์ โรงแรมแอมบาสเดอร์ วันที่ 31 ธ.ค. - 1 ม.ค. (1978) จองบัตรได้ที่ ไนท์สปอต ถนนวิทยุ - โรงแรมแอมบาสเดอร์
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 37. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ "Blondie – Atomic" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  14. ^ "Blondie – Atomic" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0224b." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  16. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Atomic". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Blondie" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  18. ^ "Blondie – Atomic" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  19. ^ "Blondie – Atomic". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "Blondie – Atomic". VG-lista. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "SA Charts 1965–1989 (As presented on Springbok Radio/Radio Orion) – Songs A–B". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  22. ^ a b "Blondie: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  23. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  24. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending June 28, 1980". Cash Box. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  25. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Blondie – Atomic". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  26. ^ "Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 11 Dec 1994". The ARIA Report – via Imgur.
  27. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  28. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 20, 2022.
  29. ^ "Dance Singles" (PDF). Music Week. September 17, 1994. p. 28. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  30. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  31. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1980". Kent Music Report (341). January 5, 1981 – via Imgur.
  32. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1980 – Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  33. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1980". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  34. ^ "Chart File". Record Mirror. London. March 21, 1981. p. 37. ISSN 0144-5804.
  35. ^ "The Year in Music – Hot Dance Music Club Play Singles" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 107, no. 51. December 23, 1995. p. YE-42. ISSN 0006-2510 – via World Radio History.
  36. ^ "British single certifications – Atomic". British Phonographic Industry.
  37. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 22, 1997" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  38. ^ "Party Animals – Atomic" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  39. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1997". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  40. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1997". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved March 4, 2020.

External links[edit]