The Pretenders

Raised in Akron, Ohio, Chrissie Hynde attended art school at Kent State University. She moved to England in 1973 and met NME journalist Nick Kent who encouraged her to write for the music paper. She landed a job in Malcolm McLaren and Vivien Westwood's shop SEX which would become the birthplace of the British punk movement. After brief spells in a number of punk acts, Hynde formed The Pretenders in 1978 with bassist Pete Farndon and found success when their third single “Brass in Pocket” and debut album The Pretenders both became huge Number 1 hits in the UK. Tragedy struck in the early '80s when two members of the group - Farndon and guitarist James Honeyman-Scott - died of drug overdoses within a year of one another. The band continued with a new line-up – only Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers remained from the original quartet - and their third album Learning to Crawl, which reached Number 5 in the US, along with their single “Back On the Chain Gang” which reached the same position. In 1985, the band took part in the famous Live Aid concert and shortly after, Hynde announced that drummer Chambers was no longer playing to her standards and told him to leave. Malcolm Foster, who had taken over as bassist after Farndon's death, decided to step down as well, leaving just Hynde and guitarist Robbie McIntosh as the band. Session musicians were brought in to finish Get Close and the completed album was released in 1986. This album featured one of their biggest hits “Don't Get Me Wrong”, which was used as the theme tune to the television series The Avengers and reached Number 10 in the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. The 1990s saw another new line-up for the band, with former Katydids guitarist Adam Seymour joining the ranks. Together they recorded Last of the Independents and welcomed back Chambers to the drums. Although the album only did moderately well in the charts, the single “I'll Stand By You” made the Top 10 in the UK. In 2005, The Pretenders were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but only Hynde and Chambers were present at the ceremony. The album Break Up the Concrete was released in 2008 and marked their first top 40 US album in more than 20 years. In 2014, Hynde released her debut solo album Stockholm. In 2016, The Pretenders announced a tour with Stevie Nicks, with the touring band consisting of Hynde, Chambers, Nick Wilkinson, James Walbourne and Eric Heywood. The next Pretenders album, Alone, was released in 2016 under the band name but the album only featured Hynde with session musicians. In July, 2020, they released their 11th studio album, the critically-acclaimed Hate For Sale. The line-up on the album featured Hynde, Chambers, Walbourne, Wilkinson, and keyboardist Carwyn Ellis.

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