Rapture (Blondie song)

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"Rapture"
Blondie - Rapture.png
North American artwork
Single by Blondie
from the album Autoamerican
B-side"Walk Like Me"
ReleasedJanuary 12, 1981 (Single) from album Autoamerican (1980)
Recorded1980
StudioUnited Western Recorders
(Hollywood, Los Angeles, California)
Genre
Length6:31
LabelChrysalis
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Mike Chapman
Blondie singles chronology
"The Tide Is High"
(1980)
"Rapture"
(1981)
"Island of Lost Souls"
(1982)
Alternate cover
European artwork
European artwork
Music video
"Rapture" on YouTube

"Rapture" is a song by American rock band Blondie from their fifth studio album Autoamerican (1980). Written by band members Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, and produced by Mike Chapman, the song was released as the second and final single from Autoamerican on January 12, 1981, by Chrysalis Records. Musically, "Rapture" is a combination of new wave, disco and hip hop with a rap section forming an extended coda.[3]

"Rapture" was another commercial success for the band, shipping one million copies in the United States, where it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, their fourth and last single to reach number one. It was the first number-one single in the United States to feature rap vocals. The single also peaked at number three in Canada, and number five in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Background[edit]

Singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein were friends with Brooklyn- and Bronx-based hip-hop artists such as Fab 5 Freddy Brathwaite in the late 1970s. Freddy took Debbie and Chris to a rap event in the Bronx one night in 1978, and they were both impressed by the skill and excitement as MCs rhymed lyrics over the beats of spinning records and people lined up for a chance to take the microphone and freestyle rap. Debbie and Chris went to a few more such events, before deciding to write a rap song of their own in late 1979. They decided to combine what they had seen and heard in the Bronx with Chic-inspired disco music. Keyboardist Jimmy Destri found some tubular bells in the back of the studio, which added a haunting touch to the song. The title "Rapture" was an obvious pun on rap, according to Chris.[4]

In an early recording the music was slower and simpler. Chris Stein said that "[t]he slower tape was just bass, drums and guitar doubling the bass, I don’t think much else.".[5] This version was put aside and later reworked as "Rapture".[6] For "Rapture", Stein said that "[w]e decided to make it faster."[5] Stein later retrieved the original recording, and Debbie Harry and Braithwaite added vocals. The result was released in the UK as "Yuletide Throwdown", as a flexi disc given away with the magazine Flexipop.[6]

Chris Stein loved B-movies, science fiction imagery, so he wrote some surreal verses about a man from Mars. For the chorus, Debbie Harry tried to capture the feeling of a crowded hip-hop dance floor in the Bronx: "Toe to toe / Dancing very close / Body breathing / Almost comatose / Wall to wall / People hypnotized / And they're stepping lightly / Hang each night in Rapture." They also referenced their friend Fab 5 Freddy, as well as Grandmaster Flash. The song was the first major hip-hop song to use original music, rather than samples.[4]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Rapture" made its US television debut on Solid Gold on January 31, 1981,[7] and not only became the first rap video ever broadcast on MTV, but was part of its first 90-video rotation.[8] Set in the East Village section of Manhattan, the "Man from Mars" or "voodoo god" (dancer William Barnes in the white suit and top hat) is the introductory and central figure. Barnes also choreographed the piece.[9] Much of the video is a one-take scene of lead singer Debbie Harry dancing down the street, passing by graffiti artists, Uncle Sam, an American Indian, child ballet dancer and a goat. Fab Five Freddy and graffiti artists Lee Quiñones and Jean-Michel Basquiat make cameo appearances. Basquiat was hired when Grandmaster Flash did not show for the shoot.[10][11] The UK 7" version of the song is used in the video.

Versions[edit]

The versions appearing on the US and UK 7" and 12" singles were quite different. The US 7" single, also issued with a different cover picture, used the original album version and the US 12" single used a version with an additional verse, making it 40 seconds longer. For the UK and other market single releases, producer Mike Chapman remixed the track completely. The "Special Disco Mix" has a different introduction, a longer instrumental break with new percussion overdubbed and includes the extra verse, making it 10 minutes long. The UK 7" version (4:59) was an edit of the "Special Disco Mix" without the extra verse. A slightly different edit with the extra verse (5:36) appeared on the band's first greatest hits compilation The Best of Blondie (1981). The album track "Live It Up" was also extended and remixed for the B-side of the non-US 12" single. This 8-minute version was included on the 1994 UK CD edition of Autoamerican and was reissued as part of EMI's 15-disc Blondie Singles Box in 2004. The song is widely regarded as one of Blondie's best; in 2017, Billboard ranked the song number two on their list of the 10 greatest Blondie songs,[12] and in 2021, The Guardian ranked the song number seven on their list of the 20 greatest Blondie songs.[13]

Blondie re-recorded the song for their 2014 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.

The picture of Debbie Harry used for the UK editions of the original 7" and 12" "Rapture" singles was later used for the cover of the compilation album Beautiful: The Remix Album (1995).

Remixes[edit]

Other than the original remixes from 1981, the first official remix of "Rapture" can be found on the compilation album Once More into the Bleach (1988). The track was remixed again and re-issued as a single in both the UK and the US in 1994, this time peaking at number eight on the US Dance Club Songs chart.[14] This remix was included on the compilations The Platinum Collection (1994), Beautiful: The Remix Album (1995) and Remixed Remade Remodeled: The Remix Project (1995).

Rapture Riders[edit]

In 2005, "Rapture" was mashed with The Doors' 1971 song "Riders on the Storm" into "Rapture Riders" by Go Home Productions. This unofficial mashup remix was later approved by both bands and released as a single credited to Blondie vs. The Doors. It was also included on Blondie's compilation album Greatest Hits: Sight + Sound (2005).[15] "Rapture Riders" made the top-ten on the US Dance Club Songs and was a Top 40 hit in Australia and Europe.

Covers and sampling[edit]

Grandmaster Flash scratch mixed "Rapture" on his single "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" and also included the track on his DJ mix album Essential Mix: Classic Edition (2002), editing out all the rap parts.

KRS-One used a tonally similar version of the intro to "Rapture" for the intro/chorus of his single "Step Into A World (Rapture's Delight)" with lyrics changed slightly to praise KRS-One's rap prowess.

To promote the character's appearances in the third season of The Boys, Jensen Ackles appeared in several videos depicting Soldier Boy's in-universe promotional campaigns in the 1980s, in particular, serenading the dancers of Solid Gold with a spoken-word rendition of "Rapture".[16][17] Ackles' cover received additional praise from the band itself, with original singer Debbie Harry describing the rendition as "epic".[18][19][20]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Track listing and formats[edit]

US 7" (CHS 2485, January 1981)

  1. "Rapture" (Album version) (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) – 6:33
  2. "Walk Like Me" (Jimmy Destri) – 3:45

US 12" (12 CHS 2485, January 1981)

  1. "Rapture" (US 12" Mix) (Harry, Stein) – 7:13
  2. "Walk Like Me" (Destri) – 3:45

UK 7" (CHS 2485, January 1981)

  1. "Rapture" (UK 7" Mix) (Harry, Stein) – 4:59
  2. "Walk Like Me" (Destri) – 3:45

UK 12" (CHS 12 2485, January 1981)

  1. "Rapture" (Special Disco Mix) (Harry, Stein) – 10:01
  2. "Live It Up" (Stein) (Special Disco Mix) – 8:14

US 1994 Remix CD (7243 8 85277 2 3)

  1. "Rapture" (K-klassic Radio Mix) – 4:20
  2. "Rapture" (Original Single Version) – 4:57
  3. "Rapture" (Guru's Fly Party Mix) – 4:11
  4. "Rapture" (K-klassic Mix) – 7:07
  5. "Rapture" (Original Disco Mix) – 10:00 *
  6. "Rapture" (Pharmacy Dub) – 6:00
  7. "Rapture" (Phactory Beats) – 4:22
  8. "Call Me" (American Gigolo Version) – 8:04
  • * Identical to the original Special Disco Mix.

Rapture Riders[edit]

CD (0946 3475502 3)

  1. "Rapture Riders" (Single Edit) – 3:50
  2. "Rapture Riders" (Full Version) – 5:41
  3. "Rapture" (7" Version) – 4:57
  4. "Rapture" (Special Disco Mix) (2001 Remaster) – 9:59

12" (347 550 1)

  1. "Rapture Riders" (Full Version) – 5:41
  2. "Rapture" (Special Disco Mix) (2001 Remaster) – 9:59

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Silver 250,000^
United States (RIAA)[52] Gold 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aaron, Charles (February 11, 2014). "Rap-Rock: From 'Punk Rock Rap' to Mook Nation". Spin. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  2. ^ Terich, Jeff (March 2, 2009). "The 90-Minute Guide: New Wave". Treble. Retrieved January 2, 2021.
  3. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 25, 1999). "POP REVIEW; No Debutante: Blondie Returns to Its Roots". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  4. ^ a b Myers, Marc (June 10, 2019). "The Rap in Blondie's 'Rapture'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 28, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Legaspi, Althea (October 12, 2021). "Blondie Rediscover and Drop 'Rapture' Origin Song 'Yuletide Throwdown'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Blondie to Release 'Yuletide Throwdown'". RetroFuturista. October 10, 2021. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  7. ^ Debbie Harry introducing the premiere of Rapture on Solid Gold on YouTube
  8. ^ Kamer, Foster. "The 40 Biggest Hip-Hop Moments in Pop Culture History". Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  9. ^ IMDB, "Blondie: Video Hits"
  10. ^ "VH1 Original TV Shows, Reality TV Shows - VH1". VH1.
  11. ^ American Masters — Basquiat: Rage to Riches (Season 32, Episode 7). Public Broadcasting Service. Broadcast: 2018-09-14.
  12. ^ Zlatopolsky, Ashley (May 6, 2017). "Blondie's 10 Greatest Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  13. ^ Petridis, Alexis (October 14, 2021). "Blondie's 20 greatest songs – ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  14. ^ a b "Blondie Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  15. ^ "'Rapture Riders' by Blondie v the Doors". theguardian.com. November 20, 2005. Retrieved December 19, 2013.
  16. ^ Ackles, Jensen (June 10, 2022). "Soldier Boy — Guest Appearance on Solid Gold". Vought International. Retrieved June 10, 2022 – via YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ Rowan, Iona; Opie, David (June 12, 2022). "The Boys star Jensen Ackles breaks down episode 4's surprise rap scene". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  18. ^ Swanstrom, Kevin (June 11, 2022). "Blondie Reacts To The Boys Season 3's Soldier Boy Cover Song". Screen Rant. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  19. ^ Machine, Ror (June 12, 2022). "The Boys Releases Soldier Boy's Hilariously Awful Cover Of Blondie's "Rapture"; Debbie Harry Reacts". Comic Book Movie. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  20. ^ Debbie Harry/BLONDIE [@BlondieOfficial] (June 10, 2022). "Holy sh*t!! Epic @TheBoysTV" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Blondie – Rapture" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  23. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0323." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Rapture". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Blondie" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  26. ^ "Blondie – Rapture" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  27. ^ "Blondie – Rapture". Top 40 Singles.
  28. ^ "Blondie – Rapture". VG-lista.
  29. ^ "SA Charts 1965–1989 (As presented on Springbok Radio/Radio Orion) – Acts B". The South African Rock Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  30. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  31. ^ "Blondie – Rapture". Singles Top 100.
  32. ^ "Blondie: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  33. ^ a b c "Blondie Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  34. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  35. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  36. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles – Week ending April 4, 1981". Cash Box. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  37. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Blondie – Rapture". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  38. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  39. ^ "Blondie vs. The Doors – Rapture Riders". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  40. ^ "Blondie vs. The Doors – Rapture Riders" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  41. ^ "Blondie vs. The Doors – Rapture Riders" (in French). Ultratip.
  42. ^ "Blondie vs. The Doors: Rapture Riders" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat.
  43. ^ "Blondie Vs The Doors – Rapture Riders" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  44. ^ "Blondie vs. The Doors – Rapture Riders" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  45. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1981". Kent Music Report (393). January 4, 1982 – via Imgur.
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1981 – Singles" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  47. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 1981". RPM. Vol. 35, no. 22. December 26, 1981. ISSN 0315-5994 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  48. ^ "Hot 100 Songs – Year-End 1981". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  49. ^ "Dance Club Songs – Year-End 1981". Billboard. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  50. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts: 1981 – Top 100 Pop Singles". Cash Box. December 26, 1981. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  51. ^ "British single certifications – Blondie – Rapture". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 23, 2020.Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Rapture in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  52. ^ "American single certifications – Blondie – Rapture". Recording Industry Association of America. March 27, 1981. Retrieved February 23, 2020.

External links[edit]