Chrissie Hynde

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Chrissie Hynde
Chrissie Hynde 2013.jpg
Hynde in April 2013
Christine Ellen Hynde

(1951-09-07) September 7, 1951 (age 70)[1]
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Years active1975–present
  • (m. 1984; div. 1990)
  • Lucho Brieva
    (m. 1997; div. 2002)
Musical career
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica, drums, piano
LabelsSire, WEA, Rhino

Christine Ellen Hynde (born September 7, 1951) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She is a founding member and the lead vocalist, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the rock band the Pretenders, and one of the band's two remaining original members alongside drummer Martin Chambers.

Hynde formed the Pretenders in 1978 with Pete Farndon, James Honeyman-Scott and Chambers. She has also released a number of songs with other musicians including Frank Sinatra, Cher and UB40, and she released the solo album Stockholm in 2014. Hynde was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the Pretenders. She performed at Live Aid in 1985.

Early life[edit]

Hynde was born in Akron, Ohio, the daughter of a part-time secretary and a Yellow Pages manager. She graduated from Firestone High School in Akron, but stated that "I was never too interested in high school. I mean, I never went to a dance, I never went out on a date, I never went steady. It became pretty awful for me. Except, of course, I could go see bands, and that was the kick. I used to go to Cleveland just to see any band. So I was in love a lot of the time, but mostly with guys in bands that I had never met. For me, knowing that Brian Jones was out there, and later that Iggy Pop was out there, made it kind of hard for me to get too interested in the guys that were around me. I had, uh, bigger things in mind."[2]

Early career[edit]

Hynde became interested in hippie counterculture, Eastern mysticism, and vegetarianism.[3] While attending Kent State University's Art School for three years, she joined a band called Sat. Sun. Mat., which included Mark Mothersbaugh, later of Devo.[4] Hynde was also caught up in the Kent State Massacre on May 4, 1970, in which the boyfriend of one of her friends was among the four victims.[5]

Hynde moved to London in 1973. With her art background, she landed a job in an architectural firm but left after eight months. It was then that she met rock journalist Nick Kent and landed a position at the music magazine New Musical Express,[6] writing what she subsequently described as "half-baked philosophical drivel and nonsensical tirades."[7] This proved not to last and Hynde later got a job at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's little-known clothing store, SEX.[8] Hynde attempted to start a band in France before her return to Cleveland in 1975.[9]

She went back to France in 1976 to try to form a band but it did not work out. She left Kent for Michael Fradji Memmi, bass player of the Frenchies, which she joined.[4] For one show at the Olympia Theatre when their singer had left, she took the lead singer duties.[citation needed] She returned to London in the midst of the early punk movement. At one point she tried to convince Steve Jones and then Johnny Rotten (of the Sex Pistols, who were managed by McLaren) to marry her to get her a work permit.[10][11] Hynde's version of this episode has it that Jones "offered to go to a registry office with me and do the unmentionable" but when he subsequently pulled out, Rotten volunteered to take his place.[12] Upon arrival at the registry office the following morning, they found it "closed for an extended holiday" and were unable to attend the following day due to band member Sid Vicious making a court appearance.[12] In late 1976, Hynde responded to an advertisement in Melody Maker for band members and attended an audition for the band that would become 999. Jon Moss (who would later be in Culture Club) and Tony James of Generation X also auditioned.[13] Later, Hynde tried to start a group with Mick Jones from the Clash.[4]

After the lack of success with the band, Malcolm McLaren placed her as a guitarist in Masters of the Backside but she was asked to leave the group just as it became the Damned. After a brief spell in the band Johnny Moped, Mick Jones invited Hynde to join his band on their initial tour of Britain.[4] Hynde recollected of that period, "It was great, but my heart was breaking. I wanted to be in a band so bad. And to go to all the gigs, to see it so close up, to be living in it and not to have a band was devastating to me. When I left, I said, 'Thanks a lot for lettin' me come along,' and I went back and went weeping on the Underground throughout London. All the people I knew in town, they were all in bands. And there I was, like the real loser, you know? Really the loser".[2][14]

Hynde also spent a short time with punk band the Moors Murderers in 1978. Named after The Moors Murders (a pair of child-killers) the band consisted of future Visage front man Steve Strange on vocals, Vince Ely on drums and Mark Ryan (a.k.a. The Kid) and Hynde on guitar. The band's name alone was enough to start controversy and she soon distanced herself from the group, as noted in NME. Hynde said, "I'm not in the group, I only rehearsed with them". She stated that "Steve Strange and Soo Catwoman had the idea for the group, and asked me to help them out on guitar, which I did, even though I was getting my own group together and still am".[15]

The Pretenders[edit]

Late 1970s[edit]

In 1978, Hynde made a demo tape and gave it to Dave Hill, owner of the label Real Records.[16] Hill stepped in to manage her career, and began by paying off the back rent owed on her rehearsal room in Covent Garden, London.[5] Hill also advised Hynde to take her time and get a band together. In the spring of 1978, Hynde met bass guitarist Pete Farndon and they selected a band consisting of James Honeyman-Scott (guitar, vocals, keyboards), and Martin Chambers (drums, vocals, percussion). The name "The Pretenders" was inspired by the Sam Cooke version of the Platters' 1955 R&B hit "The Great Pretender".[17]

They recorded a demo tape (including "Precious", "The Wait" and a Kinks cover, "Stop Your Sobbing"), handed it to Hynde's friend Nick Lowe, produced a single ("Stop Your Sobbing"/"The Wait") and performed their first gig at a club in Paris. The single was released in January 1979 and hit No. 33 in the UK. A second single "Kid" followed to similar success in July 1979. In November 1979 the Pretenders released their first signature single "Brass in Pocket" in the UK, which hit UK number 1 on January 19, 1980, the same date as their eponymous first album.[18] Both went on to similar chart success worldwide.


The Pretenders playing at London's Dominion Theatre in 1981

The band released an EP album, titled Extended Play, then Pretenders II later in the summer. "Talk of the Town" and "Message of Love" were on both. The Pretenders lineup would change repeatedly over the next decade. Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose on June 16, 1982, just days after Farndon had been fired from the band. Farndon himself would also die of a drug overdose the following year. After reforming with a caretaker line-up for their next single, "Back on the Chain Gang", the band settled down with Robbie McIntosh (guitar) and Malcolm Foster (bass) during the recording of their next album, the worldwide hit Learning to Crawl. Chambers left the band in the mid-1980s before the Get Close album was released in 1986. The album included the hits "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "My Baby".[19][20] Amidst the ever-changing lineup, Hynde endured as the sole original Pretender until Chambers' return in the mid-1990s. Hynde was the only stable member of the band during this period.[21] In 1994, the band had another hit: The ballad "I'll Stand by You".[22]

2000s onward[edit]

Hynde continued with the Pretenders into the new century both in new recording as well as multiple tours worldwide. New Pretenders albums emerged in 2002 (Loose Screw), 2008 (Break Up The Concrete) and 2016.

Hynde was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the Pretenders.[23] The ceremony was held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.[24]

In 2016, the band collaborated with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys on the album Alone. This album was released as a Pretenders' album, though Hynde was the only original member to appear on it.[25] The new band also played a concert for the BBC at the Maida Vale studio.[26]

In 2016, Hynde and the Pretenders opened for Stevie Nicks.[27]

In July 2020, the Pretenders released their 11th studio album Hate for Sale. The album was well received critically and obtained a score of 78 on the critical aggregator Metacritic.[28]

Other musical projects[edit]

Hynde, along with Curved Air's Sonja Kristina, sang backing vocals on Mick Farren's 1978 album Vampires Stole My Lunch Money and also on Hurt by Chris Spedding. She also sang backing on a track, Nite Klub, on the Specials' eponymous debut album.[29] Hynde sang a duet with INXS on their album Full Moon, Dirty Hearts in 1993. She appears on the title track of the album.[30] Hynde sang the vocals on the track "State of Independence Part II" on a Moodswings album named Moodfood, which was played during the closing credits on the soundtrack of Single White Female.[31] She provided backing vocals on Morrissey's single "My Love Life" in 1991 and again on b-side "Shame Is The Name" in 2009.[32]

Hynde recorded a duet with Frank Sinatra on Sinatra's 1994 album Duets II. They performed the song "Luck Be a Lady". In 1995, Hynde made an acting appearance as fictional character Stephanie Schiffer on the US television comedy Friends on the episode "The One with the Baby on the Bus", in which she performed "Angel of the Morning" and "Smelly Cat" (which she co-wrote) with Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay on acoustic guitar.[33] Also, in 1995, Hynde sang a cover of "Love Can Build a Bridge" with Cher and Neneh Cherry.[34] Eric Clapton appeared on the track, supplying the lead guitar solo that is featured in the song's instrumental bridge. In 1997, the EMI publishing company issued a cease and desist request to Rush Limbaugh, who for years had been using an edited instrumental version of Hynde's song "My City Was Gone" for the broadcast's opening theme. When the request came to Hynde's attention during a radio interview, she said her parents loved and listened to Rush and she did not mind its use. They agreed to a royalty contract which she retained and at one time used for a payment to PETA to raise awareness of chemical testing on animals.[35][36]

Hynde's most popular non-Pretenders collaboration with another artist, chartwise, was her 1985 collaboration with UB40 on a cover of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe." The track topped the UK singles chart[37] and went as high as No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.[38]

Hynde in 2007

On April 10, 1999, Hynde led the memorial concert "Here, There and Everywhere - A Concert for Linda" for her late close friend Linda McCartney at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Proceeds went to animal rights charities. The Pretenders were the backing band for all artists.[citation needed]

In 1999, Hynde played guitar and sang vocals with Sheryl Crow on the song "If It Makes You Happy" during a concert in Central Park. Hynde is mentioned prominently in the lyrics of the Terence Trent D'Arby song "Penelope Please".[39] In 1998, Hynde sang a duet with her friend Emmylou Harris, "She", accompanied by the Pretenders on the Gram Parsons tribute album, Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons. Hynde had previously reviewed Gram and Emmylou's debut country rock classic, "GP." The version merges Emmylou's country rock and Hynde's reggae tinged new wave. Hynde also recorded a song called "Cry (If You Don't Mind)" with the Spanish band Jarabe de Palo for their album Un metro cuadrado – 1m².[40] She supplied the voice for Siri, the clouded leopard in the movie Rugrats Go Wild (2003) in which she sang a duet with Bruce Willis.[41]

In 2004, Hynde moved to São Paulo, Brazil, for a couple of months in order to play with Brazilian musician Moreno Veloso[42] in an informal tour that lasted until December 2004.[citation needed] She bought a flat in the Copan Building in São Paulo city. She was also the vocalist on Tube & Berger's 2004 No. 1 Hot Dance Airplay track "Straight Ahead".[43] The track gave Hynde a No. 1 track on the Billboard charts.[44] Likewise in 2005, Hynde duetted with Ringo Starr on a song entitled "Don't Hang Up" which can be heard on Starr's album Choose Love.[45] Also in 2005, she collaborated with Incubus on a song called "Neither Of Us Can See". The song is on the soundtrack album for Stealth.[46]

On October 17, 2008, she was an opening act for fellow Akron-area musicians Devo at a special benefit concert at the Akron Civic Theater for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Black Keys, another Akron-based band, and the then up-and-coming solo artist, Rachel Roberts, performed prior to her.[47]

Hynde features as guest vocalist on Ray Davies' 2009 Christmas single Postcard From London[48] and Morrissey's Years of Refusal the same year.[49]

Hynde and Welsh singer J.P. Jones formed a band called "J.P., Chrissie and the Fairground Boys", releasing an album, Fidelity, on August 24, 2010.[50] Several stops on the tour were recorded and sold on USB flash drives.[51]

On February 5, 2011, Hynde and the Pretenders performed live on CMT Crossroads with Faith Hill and her band, including songs from both catalogs.[52]

Along with John Cale and Nick Cave, Hynde played on BBC Four for the Songwriter's Circle program on July 9, 1999. The concert took place at the Subterania Club in London, UK and was released on DVD.[53] She also later joined Cave in 2010 for a rendition of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' famous song "I Put a Spell on You" as a benefit for the Haiti disasters. The song and music video featured performances by Mick Jones, Glen Matlock, Shane MacGowan, and Bobby Gillespie among others.[54]

Hynde released a new album, "Stockholm", on June 10, 2014. The album featured contributions from Neil Young and John McEnroe.[55]

Hynde released Valve Bone Woe, a jazz/pop album of selected covers with the Valve Bone Woe ensemble on September 6, 2019, produced by Marius de Vries.[56] The album debuted at No.32 on the Official UK album charts and at No. 1 on the UK Jazz and Blues chart.[57]


Hynde has a contralto vocal range.[58] Until 1978, shortly before the advent of the Pretenders, Hynde had little idea what she sounded like.[59] Hynde eschews formal voice training; she contends that "distinctive voices in rock are trained through years of many things: frustration, fear, loneliness, anger, insecurity, arrogance, narcissism, or just sheer perseverance – anything but a teacher."[59]


In a 1994 interview, Madonna recalled of Hynde:

"I saw her play in Central Park [in August 1980, performing with the Pretenders]. She was amazing: the only woman I'd seen in performance where I thought, yeah, she's got balls, she's awesome! ... It gave me courage, inspiration, to see a woman with that kind of confidence in a man's world."[60]

Personal life[edit]

The VegiTerranean restaurant and bar and bakery at 21 Furnace St., Akron, Ohio

Hynde had a daughter, Natalie, in 1983 with Ray Davies of the Kinks.[61] She married Jim Kerr, lead singer of the band Simple Minds, in 1984. Together they had a daughter, Yasmin, in 1985. They lived in South Queensferry, Scotland[61] and divorced in 1990;[61] Hynde then married Colombian artist and sculptor Lucho Brieva in 1997.[61][62] They divorced in 2002.[63]

She follows Vaishnavism, a branch of Hinduism, and travels to India once every year to further her studies.[64]

Hynde lives in London, and also has an apartment in the Northside Lofts in her hometown of Akron.[65]

Hynde has described becoming a vegetarian as "the best thing that ever happened to me."[66] She says that she came to regard meat-eaters with "distaste, almost contempt" but has learned to "live and associate with [them] but never respected them."[66] Hynde is also an animal rights activist and a supporter of PETA[67] and the animal rights group Viva!.[68] She also appeared in anti-fur trade organization Respect for Animals' commercial 'Fur and Against' in 2002, alongside Jude Law, Paul McCartney and others.

Hynde has publicly campaigned against the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States, and in February 2020 called on then President Donald Trump to “set him free”.[69]


Hynde published an autobiography, Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, on September 8, 2015.

In October 2018, Hynde released a limited edition book of her artworks, titled Adding The Blue, the name being taken from the final track on her 2014 solo album, Stockholm.

Restaurant venture[edit]

Hynde opened the VegiTerranean, a vegan restaurant in Akron, Ohio[70] in November 2007. The restaurant served fusion Italian–Mediterranean food[71] by head chef James Scot Jones. Before the restaurant's opening on September 15, 2007, Hynde performed three songs at the restaurant with Adam Seymour, a former lead guitarist of the Pretenders. The restaurant was voted among the top five vegan restaurants in the U.S. It closed on October 2, 2011, owing to the economic climate, according to Hynde.[72]


The Pretenders[edit]

JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • Stockholm (2014) - UK No. 22
  • Valve Bone Woe (2019) - UK No. 32 and UK Jazz/Blues No. 1
  • Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan (2021)


Release date Single UK Chart position[73] AUS Chart position[74][75]
September 1984 "Pride (In the Name of Love)" (with U2) 3 4
July 1985 "I Got You Babe" (with UB40) 1 1
June 1988 "Breakfast in Bed" (with UB40) 6 43
September 1991 "Spiritual High (State of Independence)" (with Moodswings) 66 -
January 1993 "Spiritual High (State of Independence) (Remix)" (with Moodswings) 47 -
March 1995 "Love Can Build a Bridge" (with Cher, Neneh Cherry and Eric Clapton) 1 -
May 2000 "Kid 2000" (with Hybrid) 32 -
January 2004 "Straight Ahead" (with Tube & Berger) 29 56
October 2014 "God Only Knows" (with various artists) 20 -

Note - "Breakfast in Bed" reached No. 4 on the US Billboard Alternative Songs Chart on September 10, 1988. Note - "Straight Ahead" reached No. 1 on the US Dance Chart in 2004.

This section should be read in conjunction with the collaborations/other appearances listed in the Pretenders discography.

Apart from the charting collaborations above and work by the Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde has contributed numerous duets and covers to popular music via recording or live performance, exploring different styles and genres:

  • Angel of the Morning (solo version)
  • Aria e Memoria (with Allessandro Safina)
  • As Time Goes By (with Rod Stewart)
  • Baby it's You/Message to Michael (Bacharach)
  • Between Me and You (with Brandon Flowers)
  • Big Bad Cat (with Bruce Willis)
  • Bluebirds over the Mountain (with Robert Plant)
  • Candy (with Iggy Pop)
  • Caroline, No (Brian Wilson, Beach Boys cover)
  • Chicago (we can change the world) (with Bob Geldof, Dave Gilmour and Gary McKinnon)
  • Cry
  • Days (with Elvis Costello)
  • Don't Hang Up (with Ringo Starr)
  • Fire and Flame
  • Full Moon Dirty Hearts (with INXS)
  • Give It Up (with Annie Lennox)
  • Hi Ho Silver Lining (with Jools Holland)
  • Hey Little Boy (Little Girl) (with Mick Ronson)
  • If It Makes You Happy (with Sheryl Crow)
  • I'm Only Happy When It Rains (with Shirley Manson)
  • In the Bleak Midwinter (with the Blind Boys of Alabama)
  • I Put A Spell On You (with Shane MacGowan, Johnny Depp, Nick Cave, Bobby Gillespie, Mick Jones, Glen Matlock, Paloma Faith, Eliza Doolittle)
  • I Shall Be Released (Dylan)
  • Jammin' (cover of Jimmy Cliff)
  • Laise-moi t-aimer, We'll Be Together (with Michel Berube)
  • Let It Be (Beatles cover)
  • Little Latin Lupe Lu
  • Live and Let Die
  • Lonely Moment (with Eric Serra)
  • Love and Tears (with Naomi Campbell)
  • Love Song (The Cure)
  • Luck Be A Lady (with Frank Sinatra)
  • Meat Is Murder (with Johnny Marr)
  • Morning Glory (Tim Buckley)
  • My Father (Judy Collins cover)
  • My Love Life (with Morrissey)
  • Mother
  • Nebraska (Springsteen cover with Adam Seymour)
  • Neither of Us Can See (with Incubus)
  • Never Be Alone Again (with Russell Crowe)
  • Nighclubbing (with Iggy Pop, Vanessa Paradis, Johnny Depp)
  • One Name (with Gloria Estefan)
  • Postcard from London (with Ray Davies)
  • Predictable
  • Property of Jesus (cover of Dylan)
  • Ri na Cruine (with Clannad)
  • Rada Ramana (with the Jeevas)
  • Reve Inhabite (in French with Eric Serra)
  • Real Slow Today (with Boris Grebenshchikov)
  • Rent (with the Pet Shop Boys)
  • Rodeo (with Paul Allen and the Underthinkers)
  • Satellite
  • Shame is the Name (with Morrissey)
  • Ship of Fools (with Nick Cave and JJ Cale)
  • Smelly Cat (with Phoebe Buffay)
  • Spiritual High (State of Independence) (with Moodswings)
  • Stop Draggin' My Heart Around (with Stevie Nicks)
  • Stop This World (Mose Alison cover)
  • Stand By Your Man (with Kate Moss)
  • Subway Train
  • Superstar (Carpenters cover with Adam Seymour)
  • The Joker (with Jason Mraz)
  • This Kiss (with Faith Hill)
  • This Town (with Screaming Target)
  • Un Garcon Qui Pleure (in French with Marie du France)
  • Waiting In Vain (Bob Marley cover)
  • Walk Away (with Cheap Trick)
  • Waterloo Sunset (Kinks cover with Adam Seymour)
  • You Don't Know What Love Is (Raye and de Paul)

Hynde has also collaborated on Pretenders songs with leading artists including:

  • A Plan Too Far (with John McEnroe)
  • Brass In Pocket (with Joan Osborne)
  • Break Up The Concrete (with Devo and the Black Keys)
  • Don't Get Me Wrong (with Arctic Fire)
  • Don't Get Me Wrong (with Brandon Flowers)
  • Down The Wrong Way (with Neil Young)
  • I Go To Sleep (with Damon Albarn)
  • I'll Stand By You (with Jeff Beck)
  • Legalise Me (with Jeff Beck)
  • Let's Get Lost (with Neil Tennant)
  • Middle of the Road (with Iggy Pop)
  • My City Was Gone (with Neil Young)
  • Never Be Together (with Duane Eddy)
  • Stop Your Sobbing (with Chris Spedding)
  • Talk of the Town (with Garbage)
  • 2000 Miles (with Kylie Minogue)

See also[edit]


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