10 career-altering third albums from bands in the 1960s and '70s

Things changed for these groups with their third full-length releases.
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PARALLEL LINES by Blondie (1978)

If you had to label Blondie in its earliest days, you would probably call them a punk band. They certainly had the pedigree, sound, and attitude. But they were a lot more than that – mixing everything from disco to metal, all with a healthy pop sensibility. It all came together on their third album, with its iconic black & white cover, and a whole bunch of...well, parallel lines.

It begins with a telephone buzzing, quickly followed by Debbie Harry’s insistent vocals and Clem Burke’s crashing drums. We are off and running with “Hanging on the Telephone.” The seductive “One Way or Another” follows it, and the lovely “Picture This” follows that. By this point, you begin to realize that Blondie, circa 1978, is incapable of failing to record hits.

OK, they weren’t all hits. But Blondie was saving its monster breakthrough for the end of the album. “Heart of Glass” was a hit in discos and soared to the top of the charts in the US, as well as in the UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia. The album was also a top 10 hit all over the world.

Mike Chapman, who wrote a string of glam pop classics with Nicky Chinn throughout the ‘70s, deserves a lot of credit for tightening the band’s sound without sacrificing any of their raw energy while serving as producer – though the band reportedly wanted to kill him during the recording.