Jack’s Song Of The Day: The Pretenders

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pretenders Jacks Song Of The Day: The Pretenders

(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Today is [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Chrissie Hynde[/lastfm]‘s 60th birthday!!

All together now:  “Happy Birthday, Chrissie!!!”

Led by frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Pretenders[/lastfm]‘ first taste of fame came in 1979 with the release of their third single, “Brass in Pocket.”  The song became a #1 hit in the U.K. and peaked at #14 in the States.  Their self-titled debut album followed in January 1980.  Pretenders was a critical and commercial success, selling more than one million copies.  The album, with its blend of rock, punk and pop, made the band and its lead singer bona fide stars.

In March 1981, The Pretenders released Extended Play, a seven-song EP.  It spawned the singles “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love.”  The latter was a Top 5 hit on Mainstream Rock radio and is Jack’s Song of the Day.  Both were later featured on the band’s second album, Pretenders II.

The Pretenders’ first line-up change occurred in the summer of 1982 when Hynde fired bassist Pete Farndon.  Just two days later, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died from a drug overdose.  Deciding to continue as a band, Hynde hired two new musicians and recorded “Back on the Chain Gang.”  The single was released in November 1982 and went to #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.  “Back on the Chain Gang” became the band’s first and only Top 5 hit in the U.S.

The Pretenders released two more successful albums, Learning to Crawl and Get Close, before Chrissie Hynde took a break in 1987.  After three years of inactivity, Hynde returned to the music scene and assembled a group of studio musicians to record the band’s fifth album, Packed!  Many consider this to be a Hynde solo album since she was the only official member of the band at that time.

However, by 1993, Hynde had formed a new version of The Pretenders, and a year later, they released Last of the Independents.  While the album fared moderately well on the charts, its second single, “I’ll Stand by You,” received massive airplay and was a Top 20 hit.  It was also the band’s last successful single in North America.

The Pretenders, still led by the ever-rocking Chrissie Hynde, have continued making music over the years.  Their most recent release was Break Up the Concrete.  It peaked at #32 on the Billboard 200 chart, becoming the band’s first Top 40 album in the States in nearly 22 years.

In 2005, The Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and earlier this year, they performed with country superstar [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Faith Hill [/lastfm] on an episode of CMT’s Crossroads.

Here’s the video for The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket.”  You know, Chrissie Hynde, if this whole music thing doesn’t work out for you, you could totally make it as a waitress.

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