Martin Chambers - drums; Pete Farndon - bass; James Honeyman Scott - guitar; Chrissie Hynde - vocals, guitar; Guest: Chris Spedding - guitar on "Stop Your Sobbing"
The Pretenders have been a powerful force in music for nearly three decades, although today only vocalist/guitarist Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers remain from the original 1978 lineup. After their first few albums, the band became mainly a vehicle for Hynde's songwriting and distinct vocals; but in the beginning, when this concert was captured, they were truly a band of collective strength and talent.
Carefully combining punk, new wave, power pop and guitar-driven rock, The Pretenders were able to dominate both Top 40 and FM AOR charts numerous times during their most commercially successful years from 1978 to 1984. This performance was recorded on the band's debut U.S. tour at a show where Hynde met and later fell in love with Kinks leader, Ray Davies (they were together for three years and had one daughter). Captured at New York's Palladium Theater, this show was recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, and would be one of the vehicles that helped establish the band as one of the hottest new bands to emerge from the U.K.
Ironically, in this show they perform "Stop Your Sobbing," an old Kinks track that they had re-made and released as a hit single in both the U.S. and the U.K. Most of the material is from the band's debut LP, which went to #1 in the U.K. and was in the Top 10 in the U.S. On this recording's version of "Stop Your Sobbing," they are joined by U.K. guitar-hero Chris Spedding, who had once been in a band with Hynde.
Hynde, (an expatriate, Ohio native who had moved to London in the early 1970s to be a rock journalist) is in fine form here, taking complete control of both the band and the audience from the very start through such early Pretender classics as "The Wait," "Precious," "Talk Of The Town," "Mystery Achievement" and the memorable hit "Brass In Pocket." Two years after this show, original bassist Pete Farndon was fired for his severe drug use, and he tragically died of an overdose shortly thereafter. Sadly, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose around the same time. This is one of the few professional live recordings of the original lineup.