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Music / Pretenders

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The first album. Left to right: Pete, Chrissie, Martin and James.

Got brass in pocket,
Got bottle I'm gonna use it,
Intention I feel inventive,
Gonna make you, make you, make you notice.
"Brass in Pocket"

Pretenders is a British-American New Wave band formed in 1978, and whose most famous lineup is made up of vocalist Chrissie Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott on guitar, Pete Farndon on bass and Martin Chambers on drums. Their first Self-Titled Album, from 1979, is often considered one of the foundation bricks of Alternative Rock as we know it.

Despite losing their guitarist and bassist at the peak of their success, the remaining living members went on with the band and released some more albums, got more singles on the charts... While at the same time changing members like one would clothes.

They were inducted (the original lineup only) to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

Not to be confused with the Filipino novel The Pretenders.

Discography of studio albums:

  • Pretenders (1980)
  • Pretenders II (1981)
  • Learning to Crawl (1983)
  • Get Close (1986)
  • Packed! (1990)
  • Last of the Independents (1994)
  • Viva el Amor (1999)
  • Loose Screw (2002)
  • Break Up the Concrete (2008)

Pretenders provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Christmas Songs: "2000 Miles" from Learning to Crawl, as well as their cover of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" on one of the Very Special Christmas charity compilations.
  • Epic Rocking: "Private Life". "Up the Neck" also gets extended past the 6-minute mark in live shows.
  • Fingerless Gloves: Chrissie wears them on the cover of the first album.
  • Forever Young Song: "Forever Young"
  • Granola Girl: Chrissie is vegetarian (she even owns a vegan restaurant in Akron, Ohio) and supports animal rights. It was her love of animal rights that caused her to allow Rush Limbaugh to continue using "My City Was Gone" after initially balking at it; she donates the licence fees to PETA (who Rush sided with against the EPA on animal testing).
  • Grief Song: "Back on the Chain Gang", about fallen member James Honeyman-Scott.
  • I Am the Band: Chrissie Hynde was the only official member in Packed!.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Precious" is a famous example.
  • Revolving Door Band: Between Learning to Crawl (the first album after JHS and Pete Farndon's deaths) and Last of the Independents, no two studio albums had the same lineup. Their record of holding a lineup is three albums, between Last... (1994) and Loose Screw (2002), with guitarist Adam Seymour and drummer Andy Hobson joining the other two original members.
  • Self-Titled Album: The first one.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A lot of feminists had this reaction to Chrissie Hynde after she made some comments saying that rape victims were responsible for what happened to them in her memoir.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: Though not literally about this, "Back on the Chain Gang" does reference Sam Cooke's trope-naming tune in its chorus. ("Hooh! Aaah!")
  • You Are Not Alone: "I'll Stand By You"