Chrissie Hynde

The Pretender's fearsome frontwoman made rock history, but behind the scenes drugs and drama took their toll.


A disillusioned teenage Chrissie Hynde left the United States on a one-way ticket to England where she landed a job as music critic for the NME. She also worked in McLaren's ‘Sex’ boutique before forming The Pretenders.

The original Pretenders line-up featured Hynde on vocals/guitar, Pete Farndon on bass, James Honeyman-Scott on guitar and Martin Chambers on drums.

Their albums ‘Pretenders I & II’ were huge successes, with hits like ‘Stop Your Sobbing’, ‘Kid’ and ‘Brass in Pocket’.

During an American tour in 1980, Hynde met Ray Davies and the pair began a relationship which led to the birth of a baby daughter. However, in 1981 tragedy struck for the band when James Honeyman-Scott died from a drugs overdose and a year later, Pete Farndon suffered the same fate.

Hynde and the Pretenders regrouped in 1983, with Robbie McIntosh and Malcolm Foster, releasing ‘Learning to Crawl’ in 1984.

By the middle of that year, things were beginning to look up for Hynde and she married Simple Mind singer Jim Kerr. The couple had a daughter, but would later divorce in 1990.

Hynde's duet with UB40's on ‘I Got You Babe’ did well in the charts and she continued to make music under the guise of The Pretenders, despite the odd change of line-up. ‘Don't Get Me Wrong’ and ‘Breakfast in Bed’ marked the end of the bands 80s output.

The 1990s proved less of a success after ‘Packed!’ failed to set the charts alight. In 1994, the album ‘Last of the Independents’, was quite rightly hailed as an impressive comeback and included the hit ‘I'll Stand by You’.

In 1995, the Pretenders released a live album, ‘Isle of View’, and in 1999 ‘Viva el Amor’ came along. Four years later, the reggae tinged ‘Loose Screw’ (2003) was released and the band set off on a world tour.

Besides making a number of appearances at charity events, Chrissie Hynde is passionate about Animal Rights and is a vocal supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).