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Rapture (Blondie song)

"Rapture" is a song by the American pop/rock band Blondie from their fifth studio album, Autoamerican (1980).

In January 1981, "Rapture" was released as the second and final single from the album. The song became their fourth and last single to reach No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it stayed for two weeks. It was the first No. 1 song in the U.S. to feature rap vocals. The song peaked at No. 4 in Australia and No. 5 in the United Kingdom.

"Rapture" is a combination of disco, funk, and hip hop with the rap section forming an extended coda.

Music video

The music video made its U.S. television debut on Solid Gold on January 31, 1981, and not only became the first rap video ever broadcast on MTV, but was part of its first 90-video rotation. Set in the East Village section of Manhattan, the "Man from Mars" or "voodoo god" (dancer William Barnes in the white suit and top hat) is the introductory and central figure. Barnes also choreographed the piece. Much of the video is a one-take scene of Debbie Harry dancing down the street, passing by graffiti artists, Uncle Sam, an American Indian, child ballet dancer, and a goat. Fab Five Freddy and graffiti artists Lee Quiñones and Jean-Michel Basquiat make cameo appearances. Basquiat was hired when Grandmaster Flash did not show for the filming. The UK 7" version of the song is used in the video.

Personnel

  • Deborah Harry – vocals
  • Clem Burke – drums
  • Jimmy Destri – electric keyboards
  • Nigel Harrison – bass
  • Frank Infante – guitar
  • Chris Stein – guitar, timpani
  • Tom Scott – saxophone

    Versions

    The versions appearing on the U.S. and UK 7" and 12" singles were quite different. The US 7" single, also issued with a different cover picture, used the Autoamerican album version and the US 12" single used a version with an additional verse, making it just 40 seconds longer. For the UK and other market single releases, producer Mike Chapman remixed the track completely. The Special Disco Mix has a different intro, a longer instrumental break with new percussion overdubbed and includes the extra verse, making it ten minutes long. The UK 7" version (4:59) was an edit of this Special Disco Mix without the extra verse. A slightly different edit with the extra verse (5:33) appeared on the band's first "greatest hits" compilation The Best of Blondie in 1981. The album track "Live It Up" was also extended and remixed for the B-side of the non-U.S. 12" single. This 8-minute version was included on the 1994 UK CD edition of Autoamerican and was re-issued as part of EMI's 15-disc Blondie Singles Box in 2004.

    Blondie re-recorded the song for their 2014 compilation album Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux. The compilation was part of a 2-disc set called Blondie 4(0) Ever which included their 10th studio album Ghosts of Download and marked the 40th anniversary of the forming of the band.

    The picture of Debbie Harry used for the UK editions of the original 7" and 12" "Rapture" singles was later used for the cover of 1995 compilation Beautiful: The Remix Album.

    Remixes

    Other than the original remixes from 1981, the first official remix of "Rapture" can be found on the 1988 compilation album Once More into the Bleach. The track was remixed again and reissued as a single in both the UK and the US in 1994 this time peaking at No. 8 in the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play. This remix was included on compilations The Platinum Collection, Beautiful: The Remix Album and Remixed Remade Remodeled: The Remix Project.

    Rapture Riders

    In 2005, "Rapture" was "mashed" with The Doors' 1971 single "Riders on the Storm" into "Rapture Riders" by Go Home Productions. This unofficial mashup remix was later approved by both bands and released as a single credited to Blondie vs. The Doors. It was also included on Blondie's 2005 Greatest Hits: Sight + Sound compilation. "Rapture Riders" made the top ten on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart and was a Top 40 hit in Australia and Europe.

    Covers

    Grandmaster Flash scratch mixed "Rapture" on his single "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" and also included the track on his 2002 DJ mix album Essential Mix: Classic Edition, editing out all the rap parts. It was also sampled by Won-G for his single "Caught Up in the Rapture", and was interpolated by rapper KRS-One on his 1997 single "Step into a World (Rapture's Delight)". In 2000, it was sampled once more by Glamma Kid on his single "Bills 2 Pay". In that same year, Destiny's Child sampled it on their single "Independent Women". The song was also sampled by the Jungle Brothers in the song "In Days 2 Come" from the album "Done by the Forces of Nature". Elements of "Rapture" were recreated for the Joe Pesci song "Wise Guy", in which he raps in-character as Vincent LaGuardia Gambini from the film My Cousin Vinny.

    English synthpop duo Erasure covered "Rapture" in 1997 album (featured as a B-side track in the UK and included on the U.S. version of their album Cowboy), with Vince Clarke providing the rap. It was also included in the setlist for their 2005 tour, "The Erasure Show".

    Kylie Minogue came onstage to sing a shortened version with Justin Timberlake to complete his performance at the BRIT Awards in 2003.

    In 2004 at VH1's annual Diva's Live concert, Debbie Harry performed "Rapture" with rapper Eve, who performed her own original rap.

    Alicia Keys performed a cover of this song on the Sex and the City 2 soundtrack, released on May 25, 2010.

    Eurobeat/Italo disco artist Sophie (Elena Ferretti) released an Italo disco cover of the song in 1989 initially on her My World album. The song later appeared on Super Eurobeat Volume 1 in 1994.

    Track listing

    US 7" (CHS 2485, January 1981) #"Rapture" (Album version) (Deborah Harry, Chris Stein) – 6:33 #"Walk Like Me" (Jimmy Destri) – 3:45

    US 12" (12 CHS 2485, January 1981) #"Rapture" (US 12" Mix) (Harry, Stein) – 7:13 #"Walk Like Me" (Destri) – 3:45

    UK 7" (CHS 2485, January 1981) #"Rapture" (UK 7" Mix) (Harry, Stein) – 4:59 #"Walk Like Me" (Destri) – 3:45

    '''UK 12" (CHS 12 2485, January 1981) #"Rapture" (Special Disco Mix) (Harry, Stein) – 10:01 #"Live It Up" (Stein) (Special Disco Mix) – 8:14

    '''US 1994 Remix CD (7243 8 85277 2 3) #"Rapture" (K-klassic Radio Mix) – 4:20 #"Rapture" (Original Single Version) – 4:57 #"Rapture" (Guru's Fly Party Mix) – 4:11 #"Rapture" (K-klassic Mix) – 7:07 #"Rapture" (Original Disco Mix) – 10:00 * #"Rapture" (Pharmacy Dub) – 6:00 #"Rapture" (Phactory Beats) – 4:22 #"Call Me" (American Gigolo Version) – 8:04

  • * Identical to the original Special Disco Mix.

    Rapture Riders

    '''CD (0946 3475502 3) #"Rapture Riders" (Single Edit) – 3:50 #"Rapture Riders" (Full Version) – 5:41 #"Rapture" (7" Version) – 4:57 #"Rapture" (Special Disco Mix) (2001 Remaster) – 9:59

    '''12" (347 550 1) #"Rapture Riders" (Full Version) – 5:41 #"Rapture" (Special Disco Mix) (2001 Remaster) – 9:59

    Charts

    Weekly charts

    1994 remix

    "Rapture Riders"

    Year-end charts

    Certifications