A band founded by writer Chrissie Hynde at the tail end of the 70s. Originally a fresh combination of punk attitude, inventive musicianship, and adulthood, they got a foot in the pop door with "Brass in Pocket" (not their finest hour), and have survived internal turmoil(s), heroin, and cult status. And now the Rock Senior Tour. The original band is still the best, but the versions with Robbie McIntosh were great. Alumni: Blair Cunningham (of Haircut 100), Tony Butler (of Big Country), et al.

The Pretenders' debut LP. A surprise of sorts: Chrissie Hynde had been a peer and a chronicler of punk rockists in London, but a cover of Ray Davies' "Stop Your Sobbing" (the jewel of her demos) became her first hit. The album brought more: odd time-signatures ("Tattooed Love Boys"), something at which she once might have sneered. And balladry, chops... A Desert Island Disc of rock. In the States, only "Brass in Pocket" seems to exist, after all these albums and years. Philistines!

The original lineup:

After American Chrissie Hynde tried and failed to hook up with London punk rockers who formed such bands as The Damned and The Clash, she went to Hereford and found her bandmates.

Their first two albums (Pretenders (1980) and Pretenders II (1981)) showcased the unique sound they brought to the punk rock/new wave scene of the early 80's. The punk sensibilitity and odd time signatures of Hynde's writing combined with the suspended chords of Honeyman-Scott's guitar to produce what Chrissie would later call the "Pretenders sound", which few bands have duplicated. To truly understand, listen to the first few chords of Message Of Love or to the opening guitar riff in Tattooed Love Boys (in alternating 5/4 6/4 time).

Farndon's dismissal (and later death) hurt, but it was Honeyman-Scott's death (both deaths were drug-related) that killed the original Pretenders. Learning To Crawl (1983) was a great album, with some of Honeyman-Scott's influence, but the sound was much less unique. After that Chrissie fired Martin and semi-retired to raise her daughter. Get Close (1986) and especially Packed! (1990) were disappointments. Fortunately, Chrissie got her groove back (thanks to Urge Overkill), resurrected The Pretenders, rehired Martin, found Adam Seymour (a Honeyman-Scott soundalike) and Andy Hobson, who is probably a better bass player than Farndon. Last of the Independents (1994) was a big comeback album with I'll Stand By You becoming their 2nd biggest chart hit. They continued the good work, but without much radio or chart success with an MTV Unplugged-esque The Isle Of View (1995), ¡Viva El Amor! (1999), and Loose Screw (2002).

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, in 2005.

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