FROM THE ARCHIVES – 3 JANUARY 2013

TALK ABOUT GREAT POP MUSIC

The cover of the NME from 18 October 1980 featuring James Honeyman-Scott and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders – those were the days my friends when being on the cover of that paper meant something.

The thing is, James and Chrissie were on the cover despite not really having anything to promote, but obviously were of such interest and significance that they were seen as liable to attract additional readers that week.

They’re are a band that not too many bloggers seem to write about, certainly compared to many of their contemporaries, and I’m certainly guilty of neglecting them over the years at TVV. But over the festive period I gave listen to their Greatest Hits CD for the first time in years and realised that I’d forgotten just how great their earliest releases really were.

Stop Your Sobbing – a cover of a Kinks song that spent nine weeks on the chart between February and April 1979, peaking at #34

Kid – one of THE great records of a great year for music; it spent seven weeks on the chart in July and August 1979, peaking at #33

Brass In Pocket – the #1 hit that brought them to the attention of a wider public. Seventeen weeks on the chart between November 1979 and April 1980

Talk Of The Town – held back until Brass In Pocket slipped off the radar, eight weeks on the chart in April and May 1980, peaking at #8

Message Of Love – the comeback single after a period out of the spotlight. Seven weeks on the chart in February and March 1981, peaking at #11

Some of you might only know the band only through Brass In Pocket or the later radio-friendly rubbish like Don’t Get Me Wrong or the perennial Xmas effort 2000 Miles. It’s hard to imagine that previously, The Pretenders had been a more than half-decent band. But then again, that was before the deaths of two of the four founding members….

mp3 : The Pretenders – Stop Your Sobbing
mp3 : The Pretenders – Kid
mp3 : The Pretenders – Talk Of The Town
mp3 : The Pretenders – Message Of Love

JC

9 thoughts on “FROM THE ARCHIVES – 3 JANUARY 2013

  1. And of course the debut album indirectly yielded another hit in the form of Grace Jones’ cover version of Private Life. They really were on the top of their game before tragedy struck.

  2. Great post. Thank you. I hated them as an American teen in the 80’s. They seemed like false new wave, too rock or something. I didn’t get it. Now I’m going back and getting all their 7″ singles. I’m continually blown away by the songs. “I Go To Sleep,” and “Day After Day” from 1981 are both awesome singles.

  3. Totally concur, what a great group. I also love the Honeyman Scott tribute single Back on the Chain Gang.

    (Morrissey did an imho atrocious cover which should be avoided)

  4. Was fairly enthusiastic about them until “Pretenders II” dropped. Then moved on. I recently bought “The Pretenders” on CD. Still good, though not stellar. But a Pretenders “Greatest Hits” CD purchased afterward was not moving me. Fave Pretenders song? “Cuban Slide!”

  5. Oh, man, I loved Chrissie Hynde. The Pretenders had all the goods when they first hit the scene:–great tunes, tight band and an amazing frontwoman with a killer voice. But I only lasted a little longer than PPM. ‘Middle of the Road’ (1983? 1984?) was a good single from a decent album but it was the original lineup that interested me. Honeyman-Scott was a great player and it’s a shame thinking about what he might have done.

  6. One memory of my early days in the USA was of watching Chrissie and the band’s music video Back On The Chain Gang on heavy MTV rotation. Unsurprisingly their music label was too keen on breaking the lucrative American market and probably pointed them to a MOR (middle of the road) direction.
    Losing two of their founding members was unfortunate but losing that energy and edge of the late 70s post-punk/early New Wave vibe/sound was probably the reason fans just moved on.

  7. Not a duff note on the first long player. Absolutely essential. A handful of good singles after that. Chrissie is a bad ass. Love her.

  8. When Tattooed Love Boys comes on rotation in my playlist I will almost always get caught up in the driving guitar work from James and Chrissie on this track. Great song worthy of including in a imaginary compilation.
    In 1984 I went to see The Pretenders with what I thought was the only opening act, the Alarm. The Alarm does a good set but I recall the sound mix wasn’t that great. Thinking that the Pretenders were up next, some guy in a cowboy hat and his two bandmates come out and they just start playing heavy blues/guitar. The crowd was a bit taken off guard and the jeers started almost immediately. By the third song when Stevie Ray Vaughn ripped into Voodoo Child the “new wave” crowd was totally silenced and like I was, stood in awe of what was playing in front of us. 95% of this audience would not have bought a ticket to see SRV as a solo act but by the end of his set he had everyone’s attention and most of us who may not have been blues/rock fans but knew when we saw genius in front of us appreciated what we heard that night.
    How was the set from the Pretenders? This was a few months after Learning to Crawl was released so we were seeing McIntosh handling Honeyman-Scott’s guitar work which was technically okay but lacked the energy when they played songs from the first two albums. Chrissie was exceptional. God this was almost 35 years ago. I am old…

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