11 Essential Pretenders Songs

Pretenders Songs

Photo: By Calan [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, The Pretenders broke into the rock and roll scene with the huge smash song “Brass in Pocket.” The band’s debut album was an action-packed record filled with some of the best rock and roll that would ever be released in the 1980s. The heart, soul, and brains of The Pretenders was none other than Chrissie Hynde. The Pretenders would release 11 albums between the years 1980 and 2016. The band lost key members early on due to tragic circumstances. However, two key figures in the band have remained constant throughout. Drummer Martin Chambers, and of course Chrissie Hynde have kept the spirit and name The Pretenders alive for close to forty years.

Our 11 Essential Songs from The Pretenders list takes a look at some of the bands most memorable selections released over a thirty-five year period. Like all our songs lists, it’s simply a small subjective sampling of the songs that we happen to like the best. Undoubtedly, we will miss many fan favorites because it’s only eleven songs. We hope that these lists inspire those who may know very little about the band to go check them out.

# 11 – Brass in Pocket

“Brass In Pocket,” was the song that put The Pretenders on the map. However, most fans that brought the first Pretenders album were blown away by how great all the other tracks were compared to this single. It’s a great song but really did not represent what the first album really sounded like.

# 10 – The Adultress

The opening track on the band’s second album, Pretenders II has always been one of our favorite Pretenders songs. The grooves that the band came up with were just so irresistible. Chrissie Hynde’s dark seductive vocal performance on the killer track “The Adultress,” was absolutely tantalizing. This song was not a hit, but it was such a perfect album opening track.

# 9 – 2000 Miles

There have been many great rock and roll classic Christmas Songs written over the years. “2000 Miles,” stands as one of the best. The song was released as a single in 1983 just prior to the band’s release of their excellent Learning To Crawl album.

# 8 – Talk Of The Town

The great guitar riff to the song “Talk of The Town,” made this one an easy choice to include on our 11 Essential Pretenders Songs list. The song “Talk Of The Town,” was released first as a stand-alone single in 1980 and then included on the band’s 1981 EP Extended Play. It also was finally issued on The Pretenders second album entitled Pretenders II.

# 7 – My City Was Gone

There are more songs on this 11 Essential Pretenders songs list released on the Learning To Crawl album than any other Pretenders album. The first three Pretenders albums are amazing, but Learning To Crawl was the band’s masterpiece.

# 6 – Message Of Love

Like the song “Talk Of The Town,” “Message of Love,” was first released on the band’s 1981 extended play vinyl and then later released on the band’s second album. Fans loved this one when it was first released.

# 5 – Middle Of The Road

The second half of our 11 Essential Pretenders Songs list returns once again to the great Learning To Crawl album with the rousing track “Middle of the Road.” Easily one of the best Pretenders songs ever released. The Pretenders song “Middle of the Road,” was the third single released from the Learning To Crawl. album. There were seven singles released from Learning To Crawl.

# 4 – Back On The Chain Gang

The Pretenders song Back On The Chain Gang,” was the first single released from the Learning To Crawl album. The song wound up becoming one of the most successful commercial singles the band ever released. It was a top 10 hit on the Billboard hot 100 peaking at number 5 in 1982. Just like The Beatles had done with their single releases, the back side of the single “Back On The Chain Gang,” featured the song “My City Was Gone,” which was just as strong a song as the A side.

# 3 – Mystery Achievement

The song “Mystery Achievement,” was released on The Pretenders debut album. It was one of the most popular songs on the album that received airplay on FM album-oriented rock back in the day. A great track that opened up side two of the record with a most memorable drum and bass line.

# 2 – Precious

While “Mystery Achievement,” served as the great opening track to the second side of the band’s debut album, the track Precious was released as the opening track on side A. The song “Precious,” defined the sound of the Pretenders more than any other song. Its spirit, its groove, and its energy is why fans fell in love so quickly with this band. In essence, they were the real thing and true rock and roll fans spot that immediately

# 1 – Night In My Veins

We have to apologize to our readers that we have spent so much of this list writing about songs from the band’s first four albums. The band has released great material for over thirty years. However, there were so many incredible songs released in the 1980s, that we could not ignore. Nonetheless, our favorite Pretenders song was released on an album that was released in 1994. The great album Last Of The Independents features a thunderous opening track with the provocative rock and roll lyrics that has always made Chrissie Hynde’s best work so compelling. Our choice for the number one songs on our top 10 Pretenders songs lits is the great track “Night In My Veins.”


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