Does it get any better than the Pretenders and Chrissie Hynde? I suppose there is a misguided soul out there who might disagree, but for me, this is the top. I can't tell you when I first heard the Pretenders but I can tell you when they really registered for me.
It was somewhere around 1981 on U.S. 65 between Chicago and Indianapolis. I was driving my pal J and I back to school in B-Town, and he had this over played tape of Chrissie, James Honeyman Scott, Pete Fardon and Martin Chambers. The deal was simple; I drove and got us there safely and Jim ensured we had a good time and kept the music rockin'.
The Pretenders classic debut was all we needed to Rock. I won't go into the musicality of this disc, if you don't know, then all I can say is get thee an education. The riffs, the beats, that sexy, sexy voice were so new and profound. Nothing had ever sounded like the Pretenders up until that point, and to this day they remain an original. The Songs on the disc are timeless and sound fresh a quarter century after they first ripped through the atmosphere of my Gran Prix; Precious, The Phone Call, Space Invader, an update of The Kink's tune Stop Your Sobbing, Private Life, and the brilliant Mystery Achievement. We played that tape over and over, never missing the chance to yell out "Fuck Off" when the right moment in Precious came up.
Of course, there was also today's song, Tatooed Love Boys. A terrific little diddy, it sums up all that made the Pretenders great. A unique sound, the groovy beat, and Chrissie's snotty attitude; "I shot my mouth off and you showed me what that hole was for".