Rockbird

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Rockbird
Deborah Harry - Rockbird.png
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 15, 1986
Recorded1986
Genre
Length39:18
LabelGeffen
ProducerSeth 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
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert ChristgauB[2]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[3]
MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide2.5/5 stars[4]
The New Rolling Stone Album Guide2/5 stars[5]
Smash Hits7/10 stars[6]

Rockbird is the second solo studio album by American singer Debbie Harry.[7] It was released in November 1986 by Geffen Records in the United States and Chrysalis Records in the United Kingdom.

Background[edit]

Rockbird was released 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 Blondie guitarist and 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 four variations of the album artwork with the lettering in either green, orange, pink and yellow (with slight variations due to printing techniques).

A stylized version of the album's cover photo appears on the cover of select editions of the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Critical reception[edit]

Trouser Press wrote that the album "paves a pop path Harry can navigate, but the material is weak."[8] The Los Angeles Times wrote that "the songs--which tend to be about ne’er-do-well boyfriends and romantic escapades--are tethered to jacked-up rhythms that don’t go down so well on the dance floor."[9]

Commercial performance[edit]

Rockbird peaked at number 31 on the UK Albums Chart, and remained in the charts for 11 weeks. It was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) in January 1987 for shipments in excess of 100,000 copies. In the United States, the album peaked at number 97 on the Billboard 200.

Three singles were released from the album, "French Kissin' in the USA", which reached number eight in the UK, and is Harry's only solo top-10 single in that country, as well as "In Love With Love" and "Free to Fall", which reached numbers 45 and 46, respectively. "French Kissin'" also reached number 57 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and number three 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
  3. "Buckle Up" (Deborah Harry, Seth Justman) – 3:46
  4. "In Love with Love" (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) – 4:34

Side B:

  1. "You Got Me in Trouble" (Deborah Harry, Seth Justman) – 4:18
  2. "Free to Fall" (Deborah Harry, Seth Justman) – 5:31
  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 Ripguitar all tracks
  • Toni C. (Antoinette Colandero) – 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 Justmandrum 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 Dickharmonica "I Want You"
  • James Whitesaxophone 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 Cioe – alto saxophone, baritone 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"
  • Paul Litteral – trumpet
  • Arno Hecht – tenor saxophone
  • Bob 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
  • David Avidor – assistant engineer
  • Michael O'Haro – assistant engineer
  • Greg Calbi – sound mastering
  • Stephen Sprouse – cover design
  • Andy Warhol – background painting
  • Paula Greif – art direction
  • 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

Charts[edit]

Chart (1986–1987) Peak
position
Australian (Kent Music Report)[10] 18
European Albums (Music & Media)[11] 78
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[12] 40
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[13] 22
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[14] 30
UK Albums (OCC)[15] 31
US Billboard 200[16] 97

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Rockbird at AllMusic
  2. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 332". www.robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Volume 4: MUZE. p. 161.CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. ^ MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. 1999. p. 122.
  5. ^ The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. 2004. p. 368.
  6. ^ "Heath, Chris (19 November 1986). "Album Reviews". Smash Hits. EMAP Metro. 8 (24): 92.
  7. ^ Harrington, Richard (November 30, 1986). "Debbie Harry, On Beyond Blondie" – via www.washingtonpost.com.
  8. ^ "Debbie Harry". Trouser Press. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  9. ^ "FALL ALBUM ROUNDUP : DEBBIE HARRY: CANDY-BOX POP". Los Angeles Times. November 23, 1986.
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 134. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ "European Hot 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3 no. 49. December 13, 1986. p. 21. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  12. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  13. ^ "Charts.nz – Debbie Harry – Rockbird". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  14. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Debbie Harry – Rockbird". Hung Medien. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  15. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  16. ^ "Debbie Harry Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Debbie Harry – Rockbird". British Phonographic Industry. January 12, 1987. Retrieved December 24, 2020.