Blondie‘s debut album didn’t arrive in record stores until December of 1976, but by that point the band (originally called Angel and the Snake) had been gigging around New York City for over two years. One of the few female-fronted bands on the CBGB scene, they got a lot of press early on, but it took them a little while to actually land a record deal.
It’s unclear exactly when in 1975 this black and white video of the group was shot at CBGB, but the best sources indicate it’s from August 15th. Needless to say, Debbie Harry looks absolutely stunning, especially to a crowd used to staring at Joey Ramone. She’s also rocking the naughty schoolgirl look a good quarter-century before Britney Spears made it cool. They’re playing a very early Blondie song entitled “A Girl Should Know Better” that never wound up on any album.
“It was hard to concentrate at CBGB’s because it smelled so bad,” Harry wrote in the band’s official biography. “Hilly Kristal, the owner, kept dogs in the back, and they used to throw up and shit indiscriminately. The kitchen was covered with grease, rats, flies, maggots, and shit too.”
Blondie played CBGB every weekend through much of 1975, but after signing with Chrysalis they worked their way up to the more upscale Max’s Kansas City, and by early 1977 they were playing all across the country.