5 Pretenders Essentials

5 Pretenders Essentials

chrissie hynde
Chrissie Hynde. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.


With frontwoman, Chrissie Hynde at the helm, Pretenders bridged the gap between punk/new wave and Top 40 pop and rocketed up the charts with a series of masterfully-crafted melodic rock hits.  

Throughout her career, Chrissie Hynde has always done things on her own terms. Her semi-autobiographical songwriting and inspiring determination have landed the band with more than 40 hit singles. Here a 5 of the best!

1. Precious From Pretenders (1980)

The Pretenders rarely run short on attitude. Chrissie spits out the sharp-tongued lyrics over the blazing new-wave rocker with charming resolve. Hynde creatively manages to name-check Howard the Duck and Cleveland harmonica legend Mr Stress in just a few seconds before telling a mystery subject to f-ck off. The lead-off track on the band's debut album made for one hell of an opening statement!

2. Talk of the Town From Extended Play (1981)

Longing and futile affection underpin the lyrics of Talk of the Town and the rumour of the day would dictate Ray Davies of the Kinks to be the object of those desires. She eventually got her man (of course). Davies and Hynde had a child together in 1983 before going their separate ways a year later. 

3. I'll Stand by You From Last of the Independents (1994)

Hynde's torch-like vocal makes this ballad of faithful love anthemic. The song gives away Chrissie Hynde’s softer side and more or less defines the person every one of us needs by our side when faced with moments of personal darkness. I'll Stand by You has been covered by a number of artists since it was first released, including soul singer Patti LaBelle and country songstress Carrie Underwood.

4. Back on the Chain Gang From Learning to Crawl (1984)

Back on the Chain Gang holds a decidedly upbeat tone – in spite of the subject matter. The song was dedicated to departed Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, who died tragically from a drug overdose. It was originally crafted in 1982, nearly two years before it wound up on 1984’s Learning to Crawl.

5. Brass in Pocket From Pretenders (1980)

This one easily tops our list! A cool and slinky groove, led by an especially sultry vocal from Hynde, Brass in Pocket has all the right ingredients, in all the right measures. The pop hit certainly “makes you notice”, she simply said what everyone was thinking – but boy did she say it with style!

Pretenders is widely regarded as one of the greatest debut albums of all time, followed quickly in 1981 by Pretenders II.  Check out the Pretenders (Deluxe Edition) and Pretenders II (Deluxe Edition) 2021 reissues featuring 2018 remastered audio by the album’s original producer, Chris Thomas, here. 


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Pretenders Ultimate Bundle.


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