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The Pretenders (1978)


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The Pretenders are an English rock band formed in Hereford, England in March 1978. The original band comprised initiator and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde , James Honeyman-Scott , Pete Farndon , and Martin Chambers . The band have experienced drug-related deaths of the members, and numerous subsequent personnel changes have taken place over the years, with Hynde as the sole continual member.


 Early years
Hynde, originally from Akron, Ohio, in the United States, attended Kent State University at the time of the Kent State shootings in 1970. She moved to London in 1973, working at the weekly music paper NME and at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's music store. She was involved with early versions of The Clash and The Damned and played in short-lived bands such as Masters of the Backside and The Moors Murderers. The Pretenders formed in 1978 after Dave Hill at Anchor Records heard some demos of Hynde's music. He arranged a rehearsal studio in Denmark Street, where a 3-piece band consisting of Hynde, Mal Hart on bass , and Phil Taylor of Motörhead on drums played a selection of Hynde's original songs. Dave Hill was impressed and arranged a day at Studio 51 to record another demo. Although it was rough, he felt he had seen and heard enough "star potential" to suggest that Hynde form a more permanent band to record for his new label, Real Records. Hynde then formed a band composed of Pete Farndon on bass, James Honeyman-Scott on guitar, and Gerry Mcilduff on drums. This band, then without a name, recorded five tracks at Regents Park Studio in July 1978, including "Stop Your Sobbing." Gerry Mcilduff was replaced on drums by Martin Chambers, and Hynde named the band "Pretenders" after The Platters song "The Great Pretender."

 Original band (1978–1982)
The band's first single, a cover of The Kinks song "Stop Your Sobbing", produced by Nick Lowe, was released in January 1979 and gained critical attention. It was followed in June with "Kid," and then in November the band got to #1 in the UK with "Brass in Pocket," which was also successful in the US, reaching #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The debut album Pretenders was released during January 1980, and was a success in both the United Kingdom and the United States, both critically and commercially. (Pretenders was subsequently named one of the best albums of all time by VH1 (#52) and Rolling Stone (#155). The band played at the Heatwave festival during August 1980 near Toronto.

During March 1981, the EP Extended Play was released, containing the UK and US success "Message of Love" and "Talk of the Town" and a live version of "Precious," recorded in Central Park.

The second full-length album, Pretenders II, was released during August 1981. Pretenders II included the Extended Play singles, the MTV video success, "Day After Day," and popular album-radio tracks "The Adultress," "Birds of Paradise," "Bad Boys Get Spanked" and "The English Roses".

Farndon was fired 14 June 1982 by Hynde. Two days later, on 16 June 1982, James Honeyman-Scott died of heart failure as a result of cocaine intolerance. Farndon was in the midst of forming a new band with former Clash drummer Topper Headon , when he was found dead on 14 April 1983 by his American wife, Conover. After taking heroin and passing out, Farndon drowned in his bathtub, leaving the Pretenders with two living members.

 Re-grouping (1983–1987)
Hynde continued with the band. During July 1982, just weeks after Honeyman-Scott's death, a caretaker team of Hynde, Chambers, Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner and Big Country bassist Tony Butler was assembled to record the single "Back on the Chain Gang". The song was released in October, becoming their biggest success in the US, staying at #5 for three consecutive weeks. The single's B-side, "My City Was Gone" is now the theme music for The Rush Limbaugh Show.

Hynde then changed the lineup, keeping Chambers and adding professional musicians Robbie McIntosh on guitar and Malcolm Foster on bass. The band's first album with this lineup, Learning to Crawl, was released during January 1984.

"Middle of the Road" was this line-up's first single, released in the US in November 1983 and reached the Top 20 there. Hynde had a daughter with Ray Davies during January 1983. The US B-side, "2000 Miles", was released as a single in the UK. The album included a cover version of The Persuaders' "Thin Line Between Love and Hate", which featured Paul Carrack on keyboards. The 1985 Live Aid concert proved to be the last gig for this line-up.

Soon after recording sessions for the next album began and one track had been completed, Hynde declared that Chambers was no longer playing well and dismissed both him and Foster. The revised Pretenders team became Hynde, McIntosh, bassist T.M. Stevens, and ex-Haircut One Hundred drummer Blair Cunningham. Get Close was released in 1986; the disc included the Top 10 singles "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "Hymn to Her" a #8 success in the UK.

Two new songs, "If There Was a Man" and "Where Has Everybody Gone?" were released on the soundtrack of the Bond film The Living Daylights, and were used instrumentally by John Barry in several scenes.

The lineup for the Get Close tour was then expanded to include former P-Funk and Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell. Two players were dismissed, McIntosh eventually quit, and ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr joined for a final brief period during 1987.

There was a hiatus in musical activity for Hynde until 1990, when Hynde hired session players (including one-time Pretenders Bremner and Cunningham) and released Packed! Hynde was the only person pictured anywhere on the album, and was the only official member of the band. In Canada, the lead single "Never Do That" was a Top 40 success, peaking at #26 but it fared less well elsewhere.

By 1993, Hynde had teamed with ex-Katydids guitarist Adam Seymour to form a new version of the Pretenders. The team of Hynde and Seymour then hired a number of session musicians to record Last of the Independents that year, including ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke, ex-Primitives bassist Andy Hobson, and drummer/writer/producer James "Fred" Hood, formerly with The Impossible Dreamers and Moodswings. But by the end of the album sessions the official band line-up was Hynde, Seymour, Hobson, and returning drummer Martin Chambers.

This line-up would endure for well over a decade with no changes. Several recordings as The Pretenders occurred during 1993, including a cover version of the Jimi Hendrix's "Bold As Love" for the tribute album Stone Free, and a cover of 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" for the film, Indecent Proposal.

When Last of the Independents was released in 1994, it had reasonable overall commercial success, being rated gold in the US. Lead single "Night In My Veins" was a minor success in the US, a mid-chart success in the UK, and a top 10 success in Canada. The second single was the album's centrepiece ballad "I'll Stand by You"; this track received substantial airplay, and was a top 10 success in the US and UK, and top 20 in Canada. Hynde wrote a good portion of the album with the team of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. Subsequently, the band toured in small venues around the US, sometimes including a string quartet. Some of these arrangements are preserved on the 1995 The Isle of View live album and DVD, made at London's Jacob Street Studios. Damon Albarn played piano on the recording, which also featured the Duke String Quartet.

During 1997, the Pretenders supplied two tracks for the soundtrack of the Ridley Scott film G. I. Jane: "Goodbye" and "The Homecoming".

Over the course of the decade, Hynde became increasingly concerned with political activism, vocally supporting the environmental movement and vegetarianism. Viva el Amor was released during 1999, as was their collaboration with Tom Jones on the album Reload.

The Pretenders joined with Emmylou Harris on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, performing the song "She". A Greatest Hits compilation followed in 2000. During 2002 Loose Screw was released by Artemis Records with only modest commercial success. It was the first Pretenders record to be released by a company other than WEA. Rolling Stone noted its "refinement, stylish melodies and vocal fireworks," while Blender called it "slick, snarky pop with flashes of brilliance".

During March 2005, the Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Only Hynde and Chambers attended the ceremony. During her acceptance speech, Hynde named and thanked all the replacement members of the group, then said:

"I know that the Pretenders have looked like a tribute band for the last 20 years. ... And we're paying tribute to James Honeyman Scott and Pete Farndon, without whom we wouldn't be here. And on the other hand, without us, they might have been here, but that's the way it works in rock 'n' roll."

After their Hall of Fame induction, the Pretenders continued touring as a four-part team . During 2005, bassist Hobson left and was replaced by Nick Wilkinson, marking the band's first line-up change in thirteen years. That same year, Rhino Records released the four disc and DVD box set Pirate Radio 1979-2005 which spanned the group's entire career. Two disc remastered versions of the first two albums also came out that year with bonus tracks. During 2007, Rhino remastered both Learning To Crawl and Get Close once again with bonus tracks. Not long after, guitarist Seymour left and was replaced by James Walbourne.

The Pretenders' album Break up the Concrete was released through Shangri-La Music on 7 October 2008. It was the band's first Top 40 album in the US in twenty two years. Tracks include "Boots of Chinese Plastic", "Don't Cut Your Hair", "Love's a Mystery", "The Last Ride" and "Almost Perfect". With Hynde was the guitarist James Walbourne, pedal steel player Eric Heywood, bassist Nick Wilkinson and drummer Jim Keltner . Chambers returned to the drums on tour with the band. Several one-off shows were performed during the closing months of 2008, including a couple of Christmas charity shows. The 'Break Up The Concrete Tour' began in mid-January and covered most of the United States, with shows until the end of March. It then continued in Europe, with gigs in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain, Belgium, and the UK during the months of June and July, before returning for a new tour in Canada and the US during August and September 2009. A show from the tour, filmed at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London on 15 July 2009, was released on CD with bonus DVD / Blu-ray on 9 February 2010, titled Pretenders: Live in London. Another tour was announced in May, a double headlining tour in New Zealand and Australia with Blondie for a few capital city and winery shows.

On February 5, 2011, Hynde and the Pretenders performed live on CMT's "Crossroads " with Faith Hill and her band, including songs from both catalogs.

Show more



Name Duration Released
You Didn't have To 03:09 2008
Almost Perfect 04:48 2008
The Last Ride 03:40 2008
Love's a Mystery 03:03 2008
Don't Cut Your Hair 02:14 2008
Don't Lose Faith in Me 02:45 2008
One Thing Never Changed 03:46 2008
The Nothing Maker 03:58 2008
Break Up the Concrete 02:39 2008
Boots of Chinese Plastic 02:31 2008
Rosalee 04:14 2008
Who's Who 04:11 1999
Nails in the Road 03:25 1999
From the Heart Down 03:31 1999
Rabo de Nube 01:26 1999
Human 03:55 1999
Samurai 04:43 1999
Popstar 03:34 1999
Legalise Me 03:51 1999
One More Time 03:15 1999
Baby's Breath 03:15 1999
Dragway 42 05:19 1999
I'll Stand by You 03:59 10/05/1994
All My Dreams 03:12 10/05/1994
Revolution 04:32 10/05/1994
Forever Young 05:04 10/05/1994
977 03:54 10/05/1994
Love Colours 04:32 10/05/1994
Money Talk 03:38 10/05/1994
Rebel Rock Me 03:08 10/05/1994
Night in My Veins 03:15 10/05/1994
Every Mother's Son 03:41 10/05/1994
Hollywood Perfume 03:55 10/05/1994
Tequila 01:13 10/05/1994
I'm a Mother 05:18 10/05/1994
Never Do That 03:19 1990
How Do I Miss You? 04:22 1990
Downtown 02:43 1990
Sense of Purpose 03:02 1990
When Will I See You? 04:54 1990
No Guarantee 03:49 1990
May This Be Love 02:43 1990
Millionaires 03:04 1990
Let's Make a Pact 03:18 1990
Hold a Candle to This 03:40 1990
Don't Get Me Wrong 03:46 04/11/1986
Tradition of Love 05:27 04/11/1986
Dance! 06:46 04/11/1986
Light of the Moon 03:57 04/11/1986
Room Full of Mirrors 04:44 04/11/1986
When I Change My Life 03:38 04/11/1986
Hymn to Her 04:58 04/11/1986
My Baby 04:07 04/11/1986
Chill Factor 03:27 04/11/1986
How Much Did You Get for Your Soul? 03:48 04/11/1986
I Remember You 02:38 04/11/1986
Time the Avenger 04:47 1983
Back on the Chain Gang 03:44 1983
2000 Miles 03:30 1983
Middle of the Road 04:08 1983
I Hurt You 04:27 1983
Thin Line Between Love and Hate 03:33 1983
My City Was Gone 05:14 1983
Thumbelina 03:12 1983
Show Me 04:00 1983
Watching the Clothes 02:46 1983
Bad Boys Get Spanked 04:04 15/08/1981
Jealous Dogs 05:36 15/08/1981
The Adultress 03:55 15/08/1981
Day After Day 03:45 15/08/1981
Waste Not Want Not 03:43 15/08/1981
Pack It Up 03:50 15/08/1981
Talk of the Town 02:45 15/08/1981
Birds of Paradise 04:14 15/08/1981
I Go to Sleep 02:55 15/08/1981
Louie Louie 03:30 15/08/1981
Message of Love 03:26 15/08/1981
The English Roses 04:28 15/08/1981
Porcelain 03:53 1981
Tattooed Love Boys 02:59 19/01/1980
Up the Neck 04:27 19/01/1980
The Phone Call 02:29 19/01/1980
Precious 03:36 19/01/1980
Stop Your Sobbing 02:38 19/01/1980
The Wait 03:35 19/01/1980
Space Invader 03:26 19/01/1980
Time 03:58
The Losing 04:51
Lie to Me 02:23
Clean Up Woman 03:25
I Should Of 04:03
Nothing Breaks Like a Heart 03:28
Kinda Nice, I Like It 03:37
Fools Must Die 02:36
Complex Person 02:47
Walk Like a Panther 04:42
You Know Who Your Friends Are 03:30
Saving Grace 03:20
Lovers Of Today 05:19
Brass In Pocket 03:23
Criminal 04:18
Kid 03:56
Private Life 04:42




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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Pretenders (band)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.