Released today in 1986: French Kissin’ In The USA

Chrysalis CHS3066

Chrysalis CHS3066

Debbie Harry had not been prolific since the demise of Blondie. Following the lukewarm reception to her debut album in 1981, which included the singles Backfired and The Jam Was Moving, her only other release had been the 1984 single Rush Rush from the soundtrack of the film ‘Scarface’. But in 1986, she completed her second LP, Rockbird. She told Record Mirror “I really had fun doing it…It’s less aggressive than the Blondie stuff. I feel it’s far more sort of feminine.”

She also said “it’s a very personal record for me,” so it was perhaps surprising that she did not contribute to the writing of French Kissin’ In The USA, the lead single from it. “It was written by a guy called Chuck Lorre, who I’ve actually never met,” she said. “The song was just submitted to me by record company Geffen [the label she was signed to in the US, where the single was released simply as French Kissin’], and I just loved it so we recorded it.”

As it turned out, it was a wise choice to lead with. “She’s back! Back, BACK!” declared Smash Hits, making it Single Of The Fortnight. “And back in spiffing form too with addictive little shuffle between France and America, sort of ‘Paris, Texas’ set in a late-night disco ‘groove’. Why, I was just saying the other day, ‘What the world needs now is the return of Debbie Harry,’ and lo and behold here she is, sounding just as brill as she did 250 years ago with Blondie. Listen with eyes firmly closed and tongue in cheek for best effect. Naughty but v. v. nice.” Record Mirror agreed, and although it wasn’t their single of the week, it was first on the list of runners-up. “A stylish return for Harry, quivering her way through a slice of shimmering uptown disco. Not quite in the same gaff as Heart of Glass or Rapture, but this has enough class to knock most of this week’s competition…and Debbie still knows how to hold each breathy note by the trail of her lip gloss.”

The public thought so too. It reached #8, and might have done better had this summery-sounding track been released earlier in the year rather than in the lead-up to the Christmas market. Nevertheless, it was her most successful single since Blondie’s trio of #1s in 1980 and the #5 hit Rapture at the beginning of the following year.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Nov. 3
1986
BEASTIE BOYS It’s The New Style (Def Jam 6501697)
Debbie HARRY French Kissin’ In The USA (Chrysalis CHS3066)
ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK We Love You (Virgin VS911)
SIMPLE MINDS (Jim Kerr) Ghostdancing (Virgin VS903)

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