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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 19 - American Girl

"Well she was an American girl
Raised on promises
She couldn't help thinkin' that there
Was a little more to life
Somewhere else
After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to"
- American Girl - Tom Petty

When I sat down to think about what to write about today I noticed that it was the 36th Anniversary of the release of The Pretenders debut album...and then my mind drifted to the opening words from Tom Petty's song American girl and I thought, "well that could perfectly sum up Chrissie Hynde". Of course, Tom Petty was probably not thinking about Chrissie Hynde when he wrote it but nevertheless it kind of fits with her story (which I won't go into too much depth on as she's written a perfectly successful biography Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, where she tells it herself).

The long and short of it is that Chrisse Hynde turned up in London (firstly in 1973 and then again in 1976). The girl had some dreams and in her second visit to the Capital her dream was being in a band. She hung out with the Pistols and answered ads in the Melody Maker but it wasn't until a session at Anchor Records as a three piece with Mal Hart on Bass and Phil Taylor of  Motörhead on Drums that things began coming together for her. Although the session was a bit rough, Dave Hill saw some star potential in her and encouraged her to form a more permanent band with whom he could work. With the band summoned they made a demo that included a cover of The Kinks tune 'Stop Your Sobbing', a three track demo was passed onto Nick Lowe and thus came the debut single, that cover of The Kinks! Oddly for Nick Lowe he abandoned the group as he felt they "were not going anywhere"! I wonder if he regrets that now? The single made it into the Top 40 (and they even got onto Top of the Pops!). 'Kid' followed it into the Charts but it was their third single, 'Brass in Pocket' that really set their world on fire. In the second week of January 1980 it hit the #1 spot (spending two weeks there) and the debut album would follow it all the way to the top. It went straight in at #1 and stayed top of the pile for four weeks.

All of that kick started a career that would eventually see the release 9 studio albums, 3 Live Albums, 4 major Compilations, 1 EP and 33 singles (many of which would be hits in the UK and in other countries around the world).

Going nowhere Nick?

Pretenders - The Pretenders
Real (UK)/Sire (US)
Produced by Chris Thomas (except Stop Your Sobbing which was Nick Lowe)
Released 19th January 1980
UK Chart #1
US Chart #9


Singles from Pretenders
1979 UK Chart #34

1979 UK Chart #33

1979 UK Chart #1


Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!

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