Frozen in Time: Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, New York, March 1981

The most glamorous couple in pop, photographed in their New York kitchen by Allen Tannenbaum

Comedy oven gloves are often overlooked when one considers the 1970s punk scene of New York, getting lost among the black leather and heroin. We’re in the apartment of Chris Stein and Debbie Harry in 1981, when they were the most glamorous couple in the world, and they’re having what looks like quite a laugh.

Debbie Harry was performing with a girl group called the Stilettos in 1974, and nervous in the spotlight, started singing to a silhouette in the crowd. It was Stein. They formed Blondie, and created the kind of pop hits that, 40 million album sales later, still blast from kitchen radios in 2017. This portrait was taken by Allan Tannenbaum, photo editor of the SoHo Weekly News, a man who documented both the flashy glitz of New York in that period, and the less-seen grit. “It was a piece about Blondie at home, and I was going for a sort of tongue-in-cheek take on domesticity,” he remembers. “Debbie had – still has, at 71 – a unique sense of humour, so she was chopping vegetables and performing these exaggerated motions of cooking. While still looking beautiful, of course.”

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