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"Atomic" is a hit song by the American new wave band Blondie, written by Debbie Harry and Jimmy Destri and produced by Mike Chapman. It was released as the third single from the band's platinum-selling 1979 album Eat to the Beat.

Blondie - Atomic.jpg
Single by Blondie
from the album Eat to the Beat
B-side"Die Young, Stay Pretty"
ReleasedFebruary 1980 (UK)
April 1980 (US)
Format7", 12"
  • 3:48 (7" version)
  • 4:35 (LP version)
Songwriter(s)Debbie Harry, Jimmy Destri
Producer(s)Mike Chapman
Blondie singles chronology
"Call Me"
"The Tide Is High"
Audio sample
Alternative cover
European edition of the "Atomic" single with the famous picture of Debbie Harry wearing her "Andy Warhol's BAD" T-shirt, in 1981 used for the free fold-out poster that came with the hits compilation The Best of Blondie.
European edition of the "Atomic" single with the famous picture of Debbie Harry wearing her "Andy Warhol's BAD" T-shirt, in 1981 used for the free fold-out poster that came with the hits compilation The Best of Blondie.


Song informationEdit

"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.

The song was produced as a mixture of new wave, rock and disco which had proven to be so successful in their No.1 hit from earlier in 1979, "Heart of Glass". It is written in E natural minor ("Call Me" is written in E♭ natural minor).

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.

The song became the band's third number one in the UK Singles Chart, where it held the top spot for two weeks.[3] 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.

"Atomic" was remixed and re-released in the UK in September 1994 where it peaked at #19 on the UK Top 40 singles chart.[4] The subsequent April 1995 US release reached #1 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play Charts.[5] 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.

Music videoEdit

The music video 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[6][7]. and an atomic explosion are also intercut. Model Gia Carangi (a strong supporter of the band) made a guest appearance in the music video and can be seen in various shots.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

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.

Chart performanceEdit

Party Animals recordingEdit

Single by Party Animals
from the album
ReleasedMay 10, 1997
GenreHappy Hardcore, Gabber
Songwriter(s)Debbie Harry, Jimmy Destri
Producer(s)Flamman & Abraxas
Party Animals singles chronology
"We Like to Party"
"My Way"

"Atomic" is the fifth single of the Party Animals from their second album 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 listingEdit

# Title Length
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

Sleepy Sleepers recordingEdit

"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.

In other mediaEdit

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".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Robert Dimery (2011), "Atomic", 1001 Songs: You Must Hear Before You Die, Hachette UK, p. 1236ISBN 1844037177, 9781844037179
  2. ^ Plagenhoef, Scott; Schreiber, Ryan, eds. (November 2008). The Pitchfork 500. Simon & Schuster. p. 33. ISBN 978-1-4165-6202-3.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 378. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ "Blondie - Atomic {1994}". Chart Stats. Retrieved December 28, 2011.
  5. ^ "Blondie - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  6. ^ * Blondie - Atomic on YouTube
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ " – Blondie – Atomic" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  10. ^ " – Blondie – Atomic" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 33, No. 22, August 23 1980". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 22, 2013.
  12. ^ " – Blondie – Atomic". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  13. ^ " – Blondie – Atomic" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  14. ^ " – Blondie – Atomic". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  15. ^ " – Blondie – Atomic". VG-lista. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Blondie: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  19. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 11 Dec 1994". ARIA. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  20. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  22. ^ "Blondie Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  24. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1980 | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". December 31, 1980. Retrieved October 16, 2016.
  25. ^ "Chart File". Record Mirror. London, England: Spotlight Publications. March 21, 1981. p. 37.

External linksEdit