Pretenders II

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Pretenders II
Pretenders II (The Pretenders album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by The Pretenders
Released 15 August 1981 (US)
Recorded 1980–81
Studio Wessex Studios, London and Pathe Marconi Studios, Paris
Genre New wave, punk rock, rock
Length 46:11
Label Sire
Producer Chris Thomas
The Pretenders chronology
Extended Play
Pretenders II
Learning to Crawl
Singles from Pretenders II
  1. "Talk of the Town"
  2. "Message of Love"
  3. "Day After Day"
  4. "The Adultress"
  5. "I Go to Sleep"
  6. "Louie, Louie"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[1]
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[2]
Blender 4/5 stars[3]
Chicago Tribune 2.5/4 stars[4]
Christgau's Record Guide B+[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[6]
PopMatters 9/10[7]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[9]
Spin Alternative Record Guide 6/10[10]

Pretenders II is the second studio album by British rock band the Pretenders.


The success of the Pretenders' debut album in 1980 created a great demand for more material from the fledgling band; however, a lack of songs precluded the quick release of a follow-up album. In the UK, the band released two hit singles in 1980 and early 1981: "Talk of the Town" and "Message of Love," respectively. In the US, where standalone singles had become rare, these tracks were combined with three others for a stopgap EP release called Extended Play, in March 1981. Their second album, Pretenders II, was released a scant two months later, to mixed critical reception, partly because two of the better songs on the album had been previously released, and partly because many of the songs were viewed as overly-similar (though not quite as groundbreaking) to the band's debut. Nevertheless, several of the album's songs became hits and the album has increased in critical stature with time.

The album is notable for the inclusion of a cover of The Kinks' "I Go to Sleep" (they had covered that band's "Stop Your Sobbing" on their debut album, and band leader Chrissie Hynde would have a personal relationship with Kinks' frontman Ray Davies), as well as the sexually-forward tunes "Bad Boys Get Spanked" and "The Adultress". Perhaps the album's most ambitious track, "Day After Day" spins a common second-album narrative of unaccustomed celebrity, with the band rushing from gig to gig, hotel to hotel, head-spun from the swiftness of it all. The song ends suddenly, mid-guitar-solo, with the sound of a crashing fighter plane. The song "Louie, Louie" is an original composition and not a version of identically titled and often covered song by Richard Berry.

The album would be the final release from the original line-up of the band, as shortly afterwards the band would be fractured by the drug abuse that would take the lives of guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon, leading to a long recording hiatus.

Twenty years after its release, it was certified gold (500,000 sold) in 2001.

This is the first album to be released while their producer, Chris Thomas, was working with Elton John.

Rhino released a re-mastered edition of Pretenders II in 2006, including with it a second disc of live tracks and outtakes. On disc two, tracks 1–3, 5–6, 8–13, and 15 originally appeared as a Warner Bros. promotional live album, Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic, from 1982. Tracks 4 and 7 appeared as b-sides to the single release of "I Go to Sleep". Tracks 14 and 16–18 are previously unreleased.

Specialist label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs known as MFSL or MoFi released a re-mastered version in 2010. The track listing however reverts to that of the original release i.e. no bonus tracks.

The front cover portrait was photographed by Gavin Cochrane.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Chrissie Hynde unless otherwise noted.

  1. "The Adultress" – 3:55
  2. "Bad Boys Get Spanked" – 4:04
  3. "Message of Love" – 3:26
  4. "I Go to Sleep" (Ray Davies) – 2:55
  5. "Birds of Paradise" – 4:14
  6. "Talk of the Town" – 2:45 (edit of the 3:13 single)
  7. "Pack It Up" (Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott) – 3:50
  8. "Waste Not Want Not" – 3:43
  9. "Day After Day" (Hynde, Honeyman-Scott) – 3:45
  10. "Jealous Dogs" – 5:36
  11. "The English Roses" – 4:28
  12. "Louie Louie" – 3:30
Bonus disc, 2006 remastered edition

Tracks 1–15 were recorded live at the Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica, California, on 4 September 1981.

  1. "The Wait" (live) (Hynde, Farndon) – 3:23
  2. "The Adultress" (live) – 4:07
  3. "Message of Love" (live) – 3:28
  4. "Louie Louie" (live) – 3:50
  5. "Talk of the Town" (live) – 3:27
  6. "Birds of Paradise" (live) – 4:27
  7. "The English Roses" (live) – 4:51
  8. "Up the Neck" (live) – 6:16
  9. "Bad Boys Get Spanked" (live) – 3:19
  10. "Stop Your Sobbing" (live) (Ray Davies) – 3:46
  11. "Private Life" (live) – 7:04
  12. "Kid" (live) – 3:48
  13. "Day After Day" (live) (Hynde, Honeyman Scott) – 4:41
  14. "Brass in Pocket" (live) (Hynde, Honeyman Scott) – 3:28
  15. "Higher and Higher" (live) (Gary Jackson, Raynard Miner, Carl Smith) – 4:24
  16. "Talk of the Town" (FreeRange Studio demo, 21 December 1979)
  17. "I Go to Sleep" (guitar version) (Ray Davies) – 2:59
  18. "Pack It Up" (radio mix) (Hynde, Honeyman Scott) – 3:50


The Pretenders
Additional personnel
  • Billn Price - recording
  • Gavin Cochrane - front cover photography



Year Chart Position
1981 Pop Albums 10


Year Single Chart Position
1981 "The Adultress" Mainstream Rock 12


Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold 26 September 2001


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pretenders II – Pretenders". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 March 2006. 
  2. ^ Caligiuri, Jim (15 December 2006). "Pretenders, Pretenders II". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 16 November 2006. 
  3. ^ Lim, Dennis. "Pretenders: Pretenders / Pretenders II". Blender. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Kot, Greg (12 August 1990). "The Best Of The Pretenders". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "Pretenders: Pretenders II". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8. 
  7. ^ Murphy, Sean (16 November 2006). "The Pretenders: Pretenders". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 November 2006. 
  8. ^ Carson, Tom (1 October 1981). "Pretenders: The Pretenders II". Rolling Stone (353). Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2006. 
  9. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 653–54. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  10. ^ Weisband, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide (1st ed.). Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.