WCSX Classic Cuts
The Pretenders: “Back on the Chain Gang”
The Hook: With bassist Pete Farndon fired, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott dead and studio time booked, it was either throw in the towel or hire another guitarist and carry on.
Album: Initially came out as a single, then on the King of Comedy soundtrack and then on The Pretenders’ Learning to Crawl
Writer: Chrissie Hynde
Stats: Peaked at number-four on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number-five on the Hot 100 singles chart.
Background: With two of the original four members of The Pretenders gone from the band in a flash, Chrissie Hynde says recording “Back on the Chain Gang” was an existential decision for her.
Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde on “Back on the Chain Gang.” OC:…be miserable. :19
“I was booked to go into the studio with the original Pretenders and then we fired Pete. Two days later Jimmy was dead. So I was still booked to go in the studio and I went, ‘Who can I take in to do this thing?’ And I thought, ‘Well, who would Jimmy take in?’ and I thought, ‘Billy Bremner.” So we went in and I thought, ‘Well, we can either throw the towel in now and be miserable and not go into the studio, or we can go into the studio and be miserable.”