Blondie Recalls Breaking Seventies Sex Barriers

The New Wave popsters of Blondie are back after a 17-year hiatus, as its new album, "No Exit," marks the group's first collection of original material since 1982's "The Hunter."

The group emerged from New York's punk scene in the mid-'70s, but broke-up in 1982 following some inter-band squabbles and a contentious world tour. But this week the band returned with a vengeance, and broke a U.K. chart record when "Maria," the first single from "No Exit," debuted at number one -- making Blondie the only band to top the U.K. chart in three different decades.

The comeback is especially sweet for singer Deborah Harry, who told MTV News that she still can't understand why it was considered strange in the '70s for a woman to front a rock band.

"I never really thought it was anything but the right thing," Harry said, "I always thought it was logical and the inevitable. Why wouldn't it be like that? That was the way I was thinking."

"She

opened the floodgates kids," commented keyboardist Jimmy Destri.

"The male rock establishment," chimed in guitarist Chris Stein, "the male rock critical establishment was really sexist back in those days. And she got knocked very heavily for selling her sexuality, which is now [common place]."

"Because the couldn't afford my price," Harry said.

"Maybe that was it," [28.8 RealVideo] Stein agreed.

Blondie has contributed a pair of songs to the soundtrack for "200 Cigarettes, "including a remix medley of "Rapture/Maria," and "No Exit," which features guest rappers Coolio, Inspectah Deck and U-God from the Wu-Tang Clan, and Havoc and Prodigy from Mobb Deep.