The Pretenders are an English-American rock band formed in Hereford, England, in March 1978. The original band consisted of initiator and main songwriter Chrissie Hynde (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James Honeyman-Scott (lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), Pete Farndon (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Martin Chambers (drums, backing vocals, percussion). Following the drug-related deaths of Honeyman-Scott and Farndon, the band has experienced numerous subsequent personnel changes, with Hynde as the only consistent member, and Chambers returning after an absence of several years.
Hynde, originally from Akron, Ohio, moved to London in 1973, working at the weekly music paper NME and at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s clothes store. She was involved with early versions of The Clash and The Damned and played in short-lived bands such as Masters of the Backside and The Moors Murderers. The Pretenders formed in 1978 after Dave Hill at Anchor Records heard some demos of Hynde’s music. He arranged a rehearsal studio in Denmark Street, where a 3-piece band consisting of Hynde, Mal Hart on bass (he had played with Hynde and Steve Strange in the Moors Murderers), and Phil Taylor of Motörhead on drums played a selection of Hynde’s original songs. Dave Hill was impressed and arranged a day at Studio 51 to record another demo. Although it was rough, he felt he had seen and heard enough “star potential” to suggest that Hynde form a more permanent band to record for his new label, Real Records. Hynde then formed a band composed of Pete Farndon (who was later associated romantically with Hynde) on bass, James Honeyman-Scott on guitar, and Gerry Mcilduff replacing Jon Adkin on drums. This band, then without a name, recorded five tracks at Regents Park Studio in July 1978, including “Stop Your Sobbing.” Shortly thereafter, Gerry Mcilduff was replaced on drums by Martin Chambers, and Hynde named the band “The Pretenders” after the Platters song “The Great Pretender.”
Original band (1978–1982) Edit
The band’s first single, a cover of The Kinks song “Stop Your Sobbing” (produced by Nick Lowe and recorded at the July Regents Park sessions) was released in January 1979 and gained critical attention. It was followed in June with “Kid”, and then in January 1980 the band got to No. 1 in the UK with “Brass in Pocket”, which was also successful in the US, reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.