Long-running British synth-pop duo Erasure completed their “World” trilogy of albums with last month’s release of World Be Live. The 24-track live album was recorded earlier this year in London, where the band was touring in support of the outfit’s seventeenth studio album, 2017’s World Be Gone.
With a deep catalog of originals and hits stretching over three decades, singer Andy Bell and founder/keyboardist Vince Clarke have plenty of crowd-pleasing material from which to choose. So choosing the Blondie song “Atomic” as the sole cover performed on the current tour says a lot about Bell’s admitted affection for the iconic 80s new wave band.
Written by singer Debbie Harry and keyboardist Jimmy Destri, “Atomic” was the third single released from Blondie’s platinum-selling fourth album Eat to the Beat. Released in early 1980, the song became an international hit, reaching #1 on both the UK singles and US dance club charts. Reportedly the writers looked to capture the new wave/rock/disco feel of a previous hit, “Heart of Glass,” and threw in the “spaghetti western” guitar sound as the song developed. The guitar riff from soul singer Dean Parrish’s “I’m On My Way” has been cited as an influence.
Erasure delivers a deliberately paced sing-along on World Be Live. While true to the original, the arrangement and Bell’s endearing vocals, fit Erasure’s electronic/dance formula seamlessly. AllMusic’s Marcy Donelson wrote: “If there’s a single highlight of the album that might make it worth the effort for those still on the fence, it’s ‘Atomic,’ a pulsating cover of the Blondie U.K. number one that’s right in Vince Clarke’s wheelhouse.”
Listen to the cover from the live album below, along with a fan-shot video of the London performance.
The duo is no stranger to performing covers; Other People’s Songs, their tenth studio album (2003) contained twelve tracks of the bands’ favorites. Most of it can be heard here.
Photo: Reflections of Darkness.