Thirty years ago: “Here comes the 21st century, it’s gonna be much better…”
Celebrating Debbie Harry’s 1989 hit “I Want That Man”.
By 1989, Blondie singer Debbie (Deborah) Harry had released two solo albums and a number of singles including the 1986 hit “French Kissin’ In The USA”. By mid-1989, her third studio album was ready for shipping and at the beginning of October, the lead single “I Want That Man” was presented to an anticipated global audience. The pop-rock ‘masterpiece’ has gone on to be well remembered, particularly for its lyrical content, with Debbie, sorry Deborah(!), believing she should be the “Queen of The USA” and that the 21st century will be much better for a girl like her!
“I Want That Man” was written by two already well established British pop authors, Tom Bailey and Amanda Currie, better known as the Thompson Twins, the duo behind such 80’s pop smash hits as “Hold Me Now” and “Doctor, Doctor”. The song became a big hit for Deborah internationally reaching No.2 on the US modern rock chart, No.2 in Australia, a top ten placing in Ireland and New Zealand and a narrow miss in the UK, where the song quickly climbed to No.13. The album “Def, Dumb And Blonde” followed later in October and reached the top ten ‘down under’ and No.12 in the UK, where it holds a Silver certification for sales of 60,000 copies.
The first line of the song refers to the actor Harry Dean Stanton (1926-2017) and while she wants many ‘riches’ in life, such as a piece of heaven, a pair of pink high heels, roses every other day and to be kissed from head to toe, the one thing she really wants, she just can’t buy. She WANTS that man! And what’s more, she really believes that in another ten years from now, it’s gonna be much better for her to have them all! It’s hardly surprising therefore, that “I Want That Man” was re-released in 1999, along with all the other songs that refer to either the year 1999 or the 21st century. The song was issued in remixed, dance format along with the original version, neither of which charted this time around, but featured on Harry’s compilation album “Most Of All: The Best of Deborah Harry” (taking its title from a line in “I Want That Man”).
“I Want That Man” was Harry’s last sizable hit single of her solo career. She would continue to release material into the mid-1990’s but with less success. But, like the survivor she has always been, Debbie/Deborah reunited with Blondie in 1999 and won a UK number one with their comeback single, “Maria”. Since then, the group have released hit singles and albums, the most recent of which was “Pollinator” in 2017, which included a US dance chart topper with the track “Fun”, the group’s first number one in their home country since “Rapture” way back in 1981! Now aged 74, has the 21st century offered Deborah Harry all that she wanted or indeed ‘that man’? Only she can tell us that…the undisputed ‘Queen’ of The USA!