The Pretenders “The Pretenders”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#488 in the Series)is  the debut from The Pretenders.

Not too long ago, we had a discussion on the Cool Album of the Day’s facebook site on the topic of how often a band’s debut album is their best.  It was pointed out that yeah, that was true, but more often than not, those acts were the ones that never did much afterword anyway. That was a great point the more I thought about it. Well, let me give you a band whose debut you album is arguably their best, yet still had a body of work that was phenomenal. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Quality to be exact. So know I’d need to look and see how many Hall of Fame acts debuts where their best.  I also like to add that I’m not 100% sure this was The Pretenders best work, but it easily could be.

The Pretenders is just full of great numbers. The first song that the band recorded for this album was “Stop You Sobbing.” The Kinks remake would be produced by Nick Lowe and it would be the only song that Nick would produce. He left the project shortly thereafter as he didn’t think much of The Pretenders future.  That’s the story that’s long been told. I think he might have been a little busy as well because this was at the time when Rockpile were making some wonderful music as well.

Chris Thomas would take over the producer’s role. Chris had previously worked with bands such as The Beatles, Roxy Music and the Sex Pistols.

The highlights are many. “Precious,” “Up The Neck,” “Tattooed Love Boys,” “The Wait,” ”Kid,” ”Brass in Pocket,” “Mystery Achievement” and my favorite “Private Life.” That’s quite a nice list.

Rolling Stone Magazine calls The Pretenders the 155th best album of all time.

It’s quite funny to look back at this and see it referred to as a New Wave album. I think it’s a pretty straightforward rock and roll album played with a little bit of a punk mindset. New Wave, I don’t think so.

Make sure you check out some of the great live versions of nearly all the songs from this album in the video playlist below. They’re all taken from years back and truly show The Pretenders at a great period of their career.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs written by Chrissie Hynde unless otherwise indicated.

Side one

  1. “Precious” – 3:36
  2. “The Phone Call” – 2:29
  3. “Up the Neck” – 4:27
  4. “Tattooed Love Boys” – 2:59
  5. “Space Invader” (Farndon, Honeyman-Scott) – 3:26
  6. “The Wait” (Hynde, Farndon) – 3:35
  7. “Stop Your Sobbing” (Ray Davies) – 2:38

Side two

  1. “Kid” – 3:06
  2. “Private Life” – 6:25
  3. “Brass in Pocket” (Honeyman-Scott, Hynde) – 3:04
  4. “Lovers of Today” – 5:51
  5. “Mystery Achievement” – 5:23


The Pretenders

  • Chrissie Hynde – rhythm guitar, lead vocals
  • Martin Chambers – drums, backing vocals
  • Pete Farndon – bass, backing vocals
  • James Honeyman-Scott – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals

Additional musicians

  • Chris Thomas – keyboards, sound effects
  • Gerry Mackelduff – drums
  • Fred Berk – bass
  • Nigel Pegrum – drums
  • Geoff Bryant – horn
  • Henry Lowther – trumpet
  • Jim Wilson – trumpet
  • Chris Mercer – saxophone


Posted by Larry Carta


  1. coachmaddog (07 Sep 2011, 6:59)

    I don’t know if this is a coincidence or not, but it’s Chrissie’s 60th birthday today.

    • Larry Carta (07 Sep 2011, 10:11)

      It was a complete coincidence coach. I published this at midnight ET. When I woke up this AM I saw all these Pretenders posts. I was wondering what the deal was. I was really surprised.

  2. coachmaddog (07 Sep 2011, 19:03)

    Paranormal brilliance, your review on this day.

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