The Pretenders. This band has released a couple of great Christmas songs over the years. Last year when we running through the 12 Days of Christmas I featured their 1987 remake of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” that appeared on the first A Very Special Christmas album. That song was made long after the original, classic Pretenders line-up featuring Chrissie Hynde on lead vocals, rhythm guitar and songwriter, James Honeyman-Scott on lead guitar, backing vocals, and keyboards, Pete Farndon on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Martin Chambers on drums, backing vocals and percussion were gone, sadly due to the drug related deaths of Honeyman-Scott and Farndon. If you do not have Pretenders and Pretenders II I highly suggest you get both those albums. Now.
After the death of those two bandmates Hynde and Chambers soldiered on, recruiting Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner and Big Country bassist Tony Butler in 1982 to record the band’s most successful U.S. single “Back on the Chain Gang”. After the success of that song Hynde picked Robbie McIntosh on guitar and Malcolm Foster on bass to form a permanent new Pretenders line-up. That line-up’s first single was 1983’s “Middle of the Road” (killer video for that song by the way).
The B-side for the U.S. version of “Middle of the Road” was a song by the name of “2000 Miles”. Released as a single in the U.K., this song is a great addition to what I consider to be a classic Christmas catalog. The foundation for the song though is a bit sad as it is a tribute to James Honeyman-Scott who had passed just one year earlier. The Pretenders went through a lot in just one year, with Pete Farndon being fired June 14, 1982 by Hynde and two days later on June 16, James Honeyman-Scott died of heart failure as a result of cocaine intolerance. Farndon was found dead on April 14, 1983 after taking heroin, passing out and drowning in his bathtub. Sad. 😦 I miss the original Pretenders, a lot.
“2000 Miles” is a great song, enjoy.