List of The Pretenders band members

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Two lineups of The Pretenders performing live in 1981 (top) and 2007 (bottom).

The Pretenders is an English-American rock band from Hereford. Formed in 1978, the group originally consisted of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde, lead guitarist and vocalist James Honeyman-Scott, bassist and vocalist Pete Farndon, and drummer and vocalist Martin Chambers.[1] After the release of their first two albums – Pretenders in 1980 and Pretenders II in 1981 – Farndon was fired from the band on 14 June 1982 due to increasing problems with drug abuse, which had led to Honeyman-Scott claiming he would leave if the bassist was not dismissed.[2] Only two days later, however, Honeyman-Scott died as a result of heart failure brought on by a cocaine overdose.[3] On 20 July, Hynde and Chambers began recording the single "Back on the Chain Gang", written in tribute to Honeyman-Scott, with session musicians Billy Bremner (lead guitar), Robbie McIntosh (rhythm guitar) and Tony Butler (bass).[4] The single was released in October,[5] and later featured on the 1984 album Learning to Crawl.[6]

In February 1983, The Pretenders returned with McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Foster.[1] Learning to Crawl was released in 1984, after which the band remained largely inactive for a year (save for an appearance at Live Aid) as Hynde married Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr and gave birth to daughter Yasmin.[7] The group returned in early 1986 to record Get Close, but shortly after sessions began Chambers was fired by Hynde due to a deterioration in his drumming ability, which also led to Foster leaving.[8] Chambers and Foster were replaced by Blair Cunningham and T. M. Stevens, respectively, who completed the album's recording and remained for its 1987 tour (keyboardist Bernie Worrell also joined at the same time).[9] Shortly after beginning the tour, however, Hynde dismissed Stevens and Worrell and brought back Rupert Black (who had toured since Learning to Crawl) and Foster, who remained for the rest of the year.[10] Johnny Marr replaced McIntosh in late 1987,[11] before the band went on hiatus.[9]

Hynde returned in 1990 with Packed!, which was credited to The Pretenders only to fulfil a contractual obligation – Hynde was the only credited band member on the album, although Cunningham performed drums on all eleven tracks.[12] A new full lineup of the band was formed in 1993 when Hynde enlisted guitarist Adam Seymour and, later, bassist Andy Hobson and returning drummer Chambers for Last of the Independents, released in 1994.[9] Zeben Jameson was added as touring keyboardist, and the lineup of The Pretenders remained constant for more than ten years.[13] Hobson was replaced by Nick Wilkinson in 2005,[14] and in 2008 Seymour was replaced by James Walbourne and pedal steel guitarist Eric Heywood, both of whom first featured on Break Up the Concrete.[15]



Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions
Chrissie Hynde 1978–present all The Pretenders releases
Martin Chambers
  • 1978–1986
  • 1994–present
all The Pretenders releases except Packed! (1990), Break Up the Concrete (2008) and Alone (2016)
Nick Wilkinson 2005–present
  • Break Up the Concrete (2008)
  • Live in London (2010)
James Walbourne 2008–present
Eric Heywood
Carwyn Ellis 2012, 2017–present


Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions
James Honeyman-Scott (died 1982) 1978–1982
  • lead guitar
  • backing vocals
  • occasional keyboards
Pete Farndon (died 1983)
  • bass
  • backing vocals
Robbie McIntosh 1983–1987
  • lead guitar
  • backing vocals
Malcolm Foster
  • 1983–1986
  • 1987
  • bass
  • backing vocals
  • Learning to Crawl (1984)
  • Get Close (1986) – one track only
Rupert Black
  • 1984–1986
  • 1987
keyboards Get Close (1986) – one track only
Blair Cunningham 1986–1987
  • drums
  • backing vocals
  • occasional percussion
  • Get Close (1986)
  • Packed! (1990)
T. M. Stevens bass Get Close (1986)
Bernie Worrell - SociaLibrium, Vienna2009 a.jpg
Bernie Worrell keyboards
Johnny Marr University of Salford 2012 crop.jpg
Johnny Marr 1987 lead guitar "The Windows of the World" (1988)
Adam Seymour 1993–2008
  • lead guitar
  • keyboards
  • backing vocals
all The Pretenders releases from Last of the Independents (1994) to Loose in L.A. (2003)
Andy Hobson 1994–2005
  • bass
  • backing vocals
Zeben Jameson 1994–2006
(touring only)
  • keyboards
  • percussion
  • backing vocals
Loose in L.A. (2003)



  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pretenders: Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  2. ^ Henke, James (26 April 1984). "Chrissie Hynde Without Tears". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Remembering Pete Farndon of the Pretenders". Rhino Entertainment. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  4. ^ Buskin, Richard (September 2005). "Classic Tracks: The Pretenders 'Back On The Chain Gang'". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  5. ^ Heatley, Michael (24 November 2014). The Boy in the Song: The Real Stories Behind 50 Classic Pop Songs. London, England: Pavilion Books. p. 17. ISBN 978-1907554520. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  6. ^ Deming, Mark. "Learning to Crawl – Pretenders: Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  7. ^ Gostin, Nick (13 March 2017). "Rocker Chrissie Hynde says she's a recluse and 'lone wolf' in new documentary". New York Daily News. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  8. ^ Leonard, Michael (September 1990). "Come a Long Way". Guitarist. Ely, England: Music Maker Publications. Archived from the original on 15 July 2007. Retrieved 14 October 2017.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ a b c Wade, Chris (April 2010). "The Story of The Pretenders" (PDF). Hound Dawg. No. 6. Leeds, England: Wisdom Twins Books. pp. 20–21. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  10. ^ Sobsey, Adam (11 April 2017). Chrissie Hynde: A Musical Biography. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-1477310397. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  11. ^ Locker, Melissa (28 January 2013). "Johnny Marr on the Smiths, 'The Messenger' and Going Solo After All These Years". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Happy 25th: Pretenders, Packed!". Rhino Entertainment. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  13. ^ "Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders on Guilfest 2002". Bucks Free Press. Newsquest. 2 July 2002. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Ipswich rock star living the dream". Ipswich Star. Archant Community Media. 28 July 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  15. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (23 July 2008). "Pretenders To Roll Out New Album As MP3s". Billboard. Retrieved 14 October 2017.

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