Two recent record finds: Pretenders and Learning to Crawl by the Pretenders, the band's first and third albums respectively. I was thrilled to pick up mint copies of these LPs with the inner sleeves. I was familiar with the singles and indeed my brother used to have a cassette of The Singles compilation from around 1987, but I'd never owned or heard any LPs by the band. Both of these records are absolutley brilliant and now I really need to find a copy of Pretenders II.
The Pretenders - "Pretenders" (Real Records, 1979)
Pretenders contains the Ray Davies penned, Nick Lowe produced debut single Stop Your Sobbing. The rest of the album was produced by Chris Thomas and further singles included Kid and Brass in Pocket. The big revelation for me was Private Life. I was familiar with the Grace Jones version but never really realised that it was a Chrissie Hynde original. Pretenders is a brilliant album with fantastic sleeve art - the front cover photograph is surely one of rock and roll's greatest.
The Pretenders - Learning to Crawl (Real Records, 1984)
Learning to Crawl was the band's third album and the first following the deaths of band members James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon - both died of drug overdoses. Chris Thomas was at the helm again and this LP produced a few more huge singles including: Back on the Chain Gang and 2000 Miles (the Pretenders really were a brilliant singles band). Robbie McIntosh (guitar) and Malcolm Foster (bass) were the new recruits photographed on the front sleeve - and it's another brilliant front cover. It says so much for Hynde's writing that the band could lose their guitarist and bassist and yet come back with such a brilliant album. The track Time the Avenger really took my breath away. Two brilliant LPs well worth checking out if like me you're only really familiar with the singles.
The Pretenders - Private Life (Live, 1981)
The Pretenders - Time the Avenger (Live, 2003)