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Chrissie Hynde With The Rails In Concert - Nashville, Tennessee

“This goes out over my dead body.”Chrissie Hynde speaking on The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket.” According to, she made that statement to her producer, Chris Thomas, after recording the song at Wessex Studios in London.  It took some convincing for her to change her mind.

“Brass in Pocket” has a lot of British slang in it.  After The Pretenders’ first-ever UK gig, Chrissie Hynde was backstage in the shared dressing room and she asked whose pants were on the back of a chair. One of the other performers answered, “I’ll have them if there’s any brass in the pockets.” 

In a 1980 interview with Sounds (a U.K. music publication), Chrissie said of The Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket, “It’s along the lines of the guy who is feeling very insecure, not about pulling a girl but, say, trying to be accepted by the guys down the pub. It’s a front he’s putting up. It’s like buying a pair of new boots and you feel great but then you get home and see you spots in the mirror. Or take a couple of dexies (Dexedrine pills) and you’re in gear for the evening but on the train home it’s different.”

The Pretender’s “Brass in Pocket” and Why Chrissie Hynde Hates This Video


More than one artist has been unpleasantly surprised by the end result of their song’s video.  Such was the case for Chrissie Hynde.  Being a straight-up alpha female, Chrissie wasn’t delighted at being cast as the downtrodden waitress in a dump restaurant. Also from’s interview: “My idea was that the band would show up on motorbikes… I’d cast off my apron and we’d all ride off into the sunset.”

The video producer had other ideas. “He had the band showing up with their girlfriends in a Pink Cadillac, and me trying to get their attention and failing. The closing shot shows the band driving off and me looking out of the window, weeping. I wanted to put a bullet to my head.”

Other Pretenders’ Facts

The Pretenders have had more than their fair share of hardships and loss. The song’s success was overshadowed by the heroin overdose death of their friend and roommate, Kevin Sparrow.  They fired Pete Farndon for shooting smack.  Two days after Pete’s firing James Honeyman-Scott was found dead from an overdose.  A year and a half after James’ death, Pete died from an overdose as well.

Chrissie Hynde is from Ohio.  She was a freshman at Kent State University in 1970.  Chrissie was protesting when the National Guard killed four students. She left the college and never went back (from

14 Classic Rockers from the Midwest

Donielle Fynn is a Michigan native with two kids, two dogs, two cats, a love of yoga, and all things classic rock.

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