Are The Pretenders a "Greatest Hits" band or a "Listen to Each Album" band?

The other day as a Pretenders song came on the radio, I though to myself- as I often do when a Pretenders song comes on the radio- that I really should have some Pretenders in my CD collection.

I like all the radio songs, but don’t know much else. Are they strictly a “Greatest Hits” band, or is there one of the original albums that I should start with and then work my way through the catalogue?

Funny you should ask – I just ordered a copy of their first album on CD (I’ve got most of it on vinyl). I think that’s an essential rock album. The later stuff is hit or miss, but that’s something worth blowing a speaker on.

The first album - the Pretenders - is a perfect album and must be owned.

Their second album, with Back on the Chain Gang and a few others, is also a great album to own.

Learning to Crawl, with Middle of the Road, is also a great album

Beyond that, they are hit or miss…

I would put them in the Box Set category. Having made more than one very good album and then tapering off by the early 90’s, if they put out a box set, jump on it.

Better than Greatest Hits, but you definitely don’t need to own all of their material.

I listened to the first album this morning for the first time in, good lord, probably at least 15 years.


Where would Liz Phair be without Chrissie Hynde?

Go buy this album immediately. As WordMan says, it is, in simple fact, a perfect album that must be owned.


Pretenders II and Extended Play, for me, are essentials along with the First.
Learning To Crawl is when things start to drop off for me. That’s the album with “Middle Of The Road,” “Back On The Chain Gang”, “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” Probably their most radio-friendly hits.

Pretenders, their first album, is one of the greatest albums ever recorded and is a must-have for any collection.

Pretenders II, while not as good (and few albums are), is also an excellent album that is well worth owning.

Then band members started dying, the material suffered as a result, and I lost interest.

When The Pretenders were a band (First 2 albums + “Extended Play” EP) they were a “Listen to each album” band. When they became Chrissie + whoever turned up in the studio (“Get Close” and later), strictly Greatest Hits. The transistional “Learning to Crawl” (Chrissie, Martin on drums, and replacements for the two deceased members) is also pretty good, although the mellowing is starting to appear by the end of side 2.

First album - Classic. One of the best debut albums in the history of rock.
Pretenders II - Pretty darn good, lots of killer stuff that won’t show up on a compilation (“Bad Boys Get Spanked”, “The Adultress”, “Pack It Up”)
Learning to Crawl - Still worth a listen.

Everything else - Some hits and lot of filler.

My vote is for ‘Last of the Independents’ while admitting special attachment to one of the songs.

Actually “Don’t Get Me Wrong” is on the following album Get Close