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.
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.
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.