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Chrissie Hynde (born Christine Ellen Hynde, 7 September 1951, Akron, Ohiomarker) is an American rock musician, best known as the leader of the rock/new wave band The Pretenders. She is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and has been the only constant member of the band throughout its history.As the rare, successful female bandleader and style-setter in the early days of 1970s punk and new wave, Hynde had a major impact on the music scene. Hynde has a contralto vocal range.

Early life and career

Hynde is the daughter of a part-time secretary and a Yellow Pages manager. She graduated from Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio. She stated that "I was never too interested in high school. I mean, I never went to a dance, I never went out on a date, I never went steady. It became pretty awful for me. Except, of course, I could go see bands, and that was the kick. I used to go to Clevelandmarker just to see any band. So I was in love a lot of the time, but mostly with guys in bands that I had never met. For me, knowing that Brian Jones was out there, and later that Iggy Pop was out there, made it kind of hard for me to get too interested in the guys that were around me. I had, uh, bigger things in mind."

Hynde experimented with hippie counterculture, eastern mysticism, and vegetarianism. While attending Kent State Universitymarker's Art School for three years, Hynde joined a band called Sat. Sun. Mat. (which included Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo). Hynde was on the campus during the infamous Kent State shootingsmarker, in which National Guards fired on protesters. She knew Jeffrey Miller, one of the fatalities.

Hynde also developed an interest in the UK music magazine NME. She eventually saved enough money to move from Ohio to Londonmarker in 1973. With her art background, Hynde landed a job in an architectural firm but left after eight months. It was then that Hynde met rock journalist Nick Kent (with whom she became involved) and landed a writing position at NME. However, this proved not to last and Hynde later found herself working at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's then-little-known clothing store, SEX. Hynde then attempted to start a band in Francemarker before her return to Cleveland in 1975.

Hynde went back to France in 1976 to try to form a band, but it did not work out. She found her way back to London in the midst of the early punk movement. In late 1976, Hynde responded to an advertisement in Melody Maker for band members and attended an audition for the band that would become 999. Jon Moss (who would later be in Culture Club) and Tony James of Generation X also auditioned. Later, Hynde tried to start a group with Mick Jones from The Clash.

After the band failed to take flight, Malcolm McLaren placed her as a guitarist in Masters of the Backside, but she was asked to leave the group just as the band became The Damned. After a brief spell in the Johnny Moped band, Mick Jones had invited Hynde to join his band on their initial tour of Britain. Hynde's recollection of that period: "It was great, but my heart was breaking. I wanted to be in a band so bad. And to go to all the gigs, to see it so close up, to be living in it and not to have a band was devastating to me. When I left, I said, 'Thanks a lot for lettin' me come along,' and I went back and went weeping on the underground throughout London. All the people I knew in town, they were all in bands. And there I was, like the real loser, you know? Really the loser."

Hynde also spent a short time with The Moors Murderers in 1978. Named after two child-killers, the band consisted of future Visage front man Steve Strange on vocals, Vince Ely on drums, and Mark Ryan (aka The Kid) and Hynde on guitar. The band's name alone was enough to start controversy and she soon distanced herself from the group, as noted in the NME. Hynde said "I'm not in the group, I only rehearsed with them". She stated that "Steve Strange and Soo Catwoman had the idea for the group, and asked me to help them out on guitar, which I did, even though I was getting my own group together and still am."

The Pretenders

Late 1970s

In 1978, Hynde made a demo tape and gave it to Dave Hill, owner of the label Real Records. Hill stepped in to manage her career, and began by paying off the back rent owed on her rehearsal room in Covent Gardenmarker, Londonmarker. Hill also advised Hynde to take her time and get a band together. In the spring of 1978, Hynde met Pete Farndon (bass guitar / vocals), and they selected a band consisting of James Honeyman-Scott (guitar / vocals / keyboards), and Martin Chambers (drums / vocals / percussion), put the name The Pretenders on the group, inspired by the song "The Great Pretender" by The Platters.
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They recorded a demo tape (including "Precious", "The Wait" and a Kinks cover, "Stop Your Sobbing"), handed it to Hynde's friend Nick Lowe, produced a single ("Stop Your Sobbing/The Wait") and performed their first gigs in a club in Parismarker. The single was released in January 1979 and hit the Top Thirty in UK. The band's early success was followed by their first gigs in Britain where they earned wide critical acclaim. Later that spring (1979), The Pretenders recorded their eponymous first album and hit the charts in UK and US with the song "Brass in Pocket". The band traded on the success of this first album (for Sire Records) for some time, as it wasn't released around the world until well into 1979 (some charts consider it the best album of 1980, for example).

As the rare, successful female bandleader and style-setter in the early days of punk and new wave, Hynde had a major impact on the music scene. Her edginess, punk sensibilities and truthfulness in interviews earned the respect of fans, musicians and critics alike, inspiring multitudes of young women to follow. Among many collaborations, Hynde's recordings with UB40 (a cover version of "I Got You Babe") and Cheap Trick ("Walk Away") have also registered popular success. Her guitar of choice is a Fender Telecaster.


The Pretenders playing at a club in London, UK in 1981
The band released an EP album in early 1981 while contractual issues were resolved, then Pretenders II later in the summer. These albums were not well received by critics (though hits such as "Talk of the Town" and "Message of Love" were on both). By the summer of 1982, drug use within the band was creating serious problems for Hynde. The Pretenders lineup would change repeatedly over the next decade as a result of drug related deaths and internal conflict. Honeyman-Scott died of heart failure in June 1982, just days after Farndon had been fired from the band. Martin Chambers left the band in the mid 1980s. Amidst the ever changing lineup, the controversial Hynde endured as the sole original Pretender until Chambers' return in the mid 1990s.

Throughout the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Hynde employed a string of session and professional musicians within the band, always keeping the name Pretenders. With many of the albums through this period, the only constant presence is her own, and the album art often reflects this (using her picture alone in some cases). A new album has just been recorded with James Walbourne stepping in as guitarist in place of Adam Seymour. A sample song from the album, Boots of Chinese Plastic, is available for listening on Hynde's Myspace page.

Other musical projects

Hynde, along with Curved Air's Sonja Kristina, sang backing vocals on Mick Farren's Vampires Stole My Lunch Money 1978 album. She also sang backing on a track, Nite Klub, on The Specials eponymous album [49302]. Hynde sang a duet with INXS on their album Full Moon, Dirty Hearts in 1993. Hynde appears on the title track of the album. Hynde sang the vocals on the track "State of Independence Part II" on a Moodswings album named Moodfood, which was played during the closing credits on the soundtrack of Single White Female. Hynde also recorded a cover of Morrissey's "Everyday is Like Sunday", [49303]which is available on The Pretenders album "Pirate Radio" as well as providing backing vocals on Morrissey's single "My Love Life" [49304]in 1991 and again on b-side "Shame Is The Name" in 2009.

Hynde recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra on Sinatra's 1994 album Duets II. They performed the song "Luck Be a Lady". In 1995, Hynde made an acting appearance (and performed "Angel of the Morning" on acoustic guitar) on the US television comedy Friends. Also, in 1995, Hynde sang a cover of "Love Can Build a Bridge" with Cher and Neneh Cherry. Eric Clapton appeared on the track, supplying the lead guitar solo that is featured in the song's instrumental bridge. In 1997, Hynde battled Rush Limbaugh over his use of her song "My City Was Gone", coming to an accommodation in 1999.

Later that year, Hynde played guitar and sang vocals with Sheryl Crow on the song "If It Makes You Happy" during a concert in Central Parkmarker. Hynde is mentioned prominently in the lyrics of the Terence Trent D'Arby song "Penelope Please." Hynde also recorded a song called "Cry (If You Don't Mind)" with the Spanish band Jarabe de Palo for their album Un metro cuadrado - 1m². She supplied the voice for the clouded leopard in the movie Rugrats Go Wild (2003) in which she sang a duet with Bruce Willis.

In 2004, Hynde moved to São Paulomarker, Brazilmarker for a couple of months in order to play with Brazilian musician Moreno Veloso in an informal tour that lasted until December 2004. She bought a flat in the Copan Building in São Paulomarker city. She was also the vocalist on Tube & Berger's 2004 #1 Hot Dance Airplay track "Straight Ahead". The track gave Hynde her first US #1 track on the Billboard charts. Likewise in 2005, Hynde duetted with Ringo Starr on a song entitled "Don't Hang Up" which can be heard on Starr's album Choose Love. Also in 2005, Hynde collaborated with Incubus on a song called "Neither Of Us Can See." The song is on the soundtrack album for Stealth.
Hynde performing in 2008
In 2009 Hynde collaborated with Morrissey to provide backing vocals to the B-side 'Shame Is The Name'. On October 17, 2008, she was an opening act for fellow Akron-area musicians Devo at a special benefit concert at the Akron Civic Theater for the then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Black Keys, another Akron-based band, and the then up-and-coming solo artist, Rachel Roberts, performed prior to her.

Hynde features as guest vocalist on Ray Davies' 2009 Christmas single Postcard From London.

Personal life

Hynde had a daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde, in 1983 with Ray Davies of The Kinks. A cover version of the Davies song "Stop Your Sobbing" had been an early hit for the Pretenders, although Hynde met Davies several years later—a meeting which bloomed into a long-term relationship (although Davies and Hynde never wed). She then married musician Jim Kerr of the band Simple Minds in 1984, and had a daughter, Yasmin, with him in 1985. They divorced in 1990. She married artist Lucho Brieva in 1997, and lived with him in London until they separated in 2002.Hynde now lives in London, Englandmarker, and also has an apartment in the Highland Square neighborhood in her hometown of Akron.

Hynde has been in the news in recent years as a high-profile animal rights activist. She is a supporter of PETA She is a confirmed vegetarian, and has also spoken out in favour of music file-sharing as a way for new artists to be heard.

Hynde is an avid supporter of the animal rights group Viva!

Restaurant venture

The VegiTerranean restaurant, bar and bakery at 21 Furnace St., Akron, Ohio, USA

Hynde opened a vegan restaurant in Akron, Ohio, in 2007 called The VegiTerranean. The restaurant, which opened in November, 2007, serves fusion Italian-vegetarian food. The restaurant's head chef is James Scot Jones, who is good friends with Hynde. Prior to the restaurant's opening, on 15 September 2007, she performed three songs at the restaurant with an acoustic guitarist, Adam Seymour, the lead guitarist of The Pretenders.


  1. Review.
  2. Loder, K.: "Pretenders", page 13. Rolling Stone, 29 May 1980
  3. 999: A History (Part One) on A history of UK Punk Rock from 1976-79;
  4. Hynde states these words in The Pretenders Greatest Hits DVD documentary extra titled No Turn Left Unstoned.
  5. Letters page, NME, 1/21/1978
  6. Really Randoms: Chrissie Hynde, Ricky Martin, Jimmy Page : Rolling Stone
  7. Akron Beacon Journal online
  8. Pretenders News
  9. City stars as Hynde's muse, Abram, Malcolm X., Akron Beacon Journal, 8/30/2008
  10. Kentucky Fried Cruelty :: Celebrity Support :: Chrissie Hynde
  12. VegiTerranean website
  13. VegiTerranean NOW Open

External links

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