North American artwork
|Single by Blondie|
|from the album Autoamerican|
|"Walk Like Me"|
|Released||January 12, 1981|
|Length||6:31 (US Single),|
4:58 (UK Single)
|Blondie singles chronology|
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. The song title "Rapture" served to indicate this element. While it was not the first single featuring rapping to be commercially successful, it was the first to top the charts. Its lyrics were especially notable for namechecking hip-hop pioneers Fab Five Freddy and Grandmaster Flash.
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 Quinones 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.
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 and 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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
US 7" (CHS 2485, January 1981)
US 12" (12 CHS 2485, January 1981)
UK 7" (CHS 2485, January 1981)
UK 12" (CHS 12 2485, January 1981)
US 1994 Remix CD (7243 8 85277 2 3)
CD (0946 3475502 3)
12" (347 550 1)
1994 Remix chart positions
Sales and certifications
|Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)||2|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||21|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||12|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||39|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||10|