I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders

When you’ve really hit rock bottom. When you’ve messed everything up of your own volition and when you’re unable to contemplate anything other than what a worthless and horrendous mess you are. When you despise your own pathetic uselessness… That’s when you need Chrissie Hynde to give you a bath.

I’m not just talking about the video, though if you’re into that, there are websites that can cater for your tastes I’m sure. It’s a metaphorical bath. She’s washing you down in words of support and getting behind your ears with the loofa of human kindness (Yes that is a little known Billy Bragg B-Side well done for spotting it)

The Pretenders are a bit of an anomaly for me. I’ve never actually met a huge fan of The Pretenders but they’re hallowed and considered huge and serious and important in the mainstream rock press.

I see them as a sort of halfway house between Fleetwood Mac and Blondie. I know they’re a serious rock band. I know they’ve paid their dues and I know Chrissie is the epitome of cool rock icon. Yet I never heard anyone (except Johnny Marr) go to bat for them when it comes to bigging a band up or even calling out the classics.

So this song was a huge pan subculture cross over hit. It feels like it’s from the 70’s but actually they had their biggest hit in the middle of the 90’s. It’s respected in the rock world but big enough for teeny bop bands to cover and wannabes to use as an audition standard to hang their warbling on.

And yet, if you just listen to it in isolation it is a powerhouse of emotion. It’s a real earthy blues ballad about unconditional love and support. And her voice. She might actually be an angel. That voice is incredible. Clean, clear, pure and real. I’m falling in love just listening.

It’s no wonder this band are huge. While I’ve been writing this I’ve had their best of playing in the background. One huge impressive pop rock monument after another. These guys have tunes to rival all the big guns. I know all The Pretenders hits from just ‘being around’. They really are worth ‘listening’ to though.


9 thoughts on “I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders

  1. I love their music. I only have “The Singles” and “Last of the Independents”. The singles is one stellar tune after another. I used to play the hell out of that CD when I was feeling woebegone. “I Go to Sleep” is one of my favorites.


  2. I know a few of the singles, but I’ve never taken the time to explore much beyond that. That voice, though… I can see the crossover appeal for this one.

    It’s the kinda thing you could imagine being a 52 weeks at number one situation if the likes of Mariah Carey or Celine Dion did it. But they couldn’t. Cause they don’t have a single drop of soul or heart.

    Right, I’m away to check out some Pretenders.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You are right. I think I am in that same boat as well. I like all their singles and some of their songs are truly amazing, but I don’t have anything outside of a greatest hits collection. I have almost picked up some on vinyl cheap, but I pass and say I will get to them later…maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m probably in the same boat… I hear they’re some big important band, but nobody really seems to like them. I’m not a huge fan of Chrissy’s voice though, sounds like she’s singing through her nose, and her nose has got trapped up a gutter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Seen the Pretenders twice, once back in the 80s when they were top of their game, and once recently (still good). They are great live. Chrissy has some serious stage presence. Thanks for the post. Rock on!

    Liked by 1 person

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