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Music / Pretenders
aka: The Pretenders

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The first album. Left to right: Pete Farndon, Chrissie Hynde, Martin Chambers and James Honeyman-Scott.

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 1980, 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)
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  • 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)

"Back on the Trope Gang":

  • 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.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Half of the original lineup died of drug overdoses within a year of each other.
  • 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 owned a vegan restaurant in Akron, Ohio before it closed) 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).
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  • Grief Song: "Back on the Chain Gang", about fallen member James Honeyman-Scott.
  • I Am the Band: Chrissie Hynde was the only official member on 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.
  • Rock Star Song: The third verse of "Middle of the Road"
In the middle of the road
Is no private cul de sac
I can't get from the cab to the curb
Without some little jerk on my back
Don't harass me
Can't you tell I'm going home I'm tired as hell
I'm not the cat I used to be
I've got a kid, I'm thirty-three baby"
  • Self-Titled Album: The first one.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Show Me," "I'll Stand By You," "Talk of the Town," "Don't Get Me Wrong"
  • The "The" Title Confusion: Just "Pretenders", but they are often called "The Pretenders". The band's Wikipedia article is titled The Pretenders and write it as such in the infobox, but only the word Pretenders is bolded at the beginning of the article. The history of the name is slightly complicated; they started out as "Pretenders", then from 1983-1987 they usually used "The Pretenders" (but kept the old logo, so when that was used on sleeves and labels instead of text, the "The" was absent), but afterwards they went back to just plain "Pretenders".
  • 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.
  • When She Smiles: Gender Flipped in "Don't Get Me Wrong":
"I'm thinking of the fireworks
That go off when you smile"

Alternative Title(s): The Pretenders


Example of: