- Jessica I. Brown
English rock band. The Pretenders were formed in England in 1978 by American musician Chrissie Hynde (vocals and guitar) and included guitarist and keyboardist James Honeyman-Scott, bassist Pete Farndon, and drummer Gerry McIlduff. Hynde formed the band after moving from Ohio to London, where she worked for both NME and at Malcolm McLaren’s SEX boutique. She worked with a number of local musicians before attracting the attention of Dave Hill, a former A&R man who was starting his own record label. She gathered the other band members and in 1979 they released a cover of The Kinks’ “Stop your sobbing.” The single was a successful start, and they continued to release singles from Hill’s Real Records label. McIlduff was replaced with drummer Martin Chambers before their self-titled debut album was released in 1980 to critical acclaim and international success. With all 12 songs written fully or in part by Hynde, their sound varied from accessible pop-influenced songs to harder rock, influenced by the aggressive and raw attitude of London punk music. Though Hynde was the only woman in the band, she was viewed as the one in control, and was the only member who consistently stayed in the band throughout lineup changes and deaths of some members. She defined the image of the tough woman in rock for mainstream audiences, and did not flaunt her sexuality as a tool though she also hesitated to align herself with any feminist titles. ...