The Pretenders in concert tonight. Recorded live at The Boardwalk in Sheffield on October 1, 1999 and preserved for posterity by BBC Radio 1 for their In Concert series. This was The Pretenders promoting album #7 (Viva el Amor), which had come out in May in the UK and June in the US of that year. By this time, only two of the original members of the band are left; Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers. This was the second incarnation of the band – the first having gone on hiatus in 1987. This incarnation stuck together until 2012.
I remember when The Pretenders first got notice early in 1979 when Stop Your Sobbing was released on Sire in the US. The attention grabber was Tattooed Love Boys, the b-side of their follow up single, which KROQ played almost constantly. From that point on, they were not only a band to watch, they were a band to catch live. Chrissie Hynde was that new breed of female Rock musician who didn’t play on a cutesy role or an ersatz “street-rocker” role – she was good at what she did and her approach was honest. I think it proved to be an inspiration for a lot of women coming into the scene, who saw her as a viable alternative and someone to use as a role model. Especially in a time where women were redefining what Rock was about.
The Pretenders have gone through numerous ups and downs over the years – from losing two founding members to drug-related deaths to achieving their biggest success in the U.S. There were also numerous personnel changes and reshuffling and this period also marked a decided turn to political activism for Hynde. But beyond all that was an artist with a solid vision and direction, and that perseverance has paid handsomely over the years.
Crank it up and check it out.