Pretenders II

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Pretenders II
Pretenders II (The Pretenders album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
Released15 August 1981
ProducerChris Thomas
The Pretenders chronology
Extended Play
Pretenders II
Learning to Crawl
Singles from Pretenders II
  1. "Talk of the Town"
    Released: April 1980
  2. "Message of Love"
    Released: February 1981
  3. "Day After Day"
    Released: August 1981 (UK)
  4. "Louie, Louie"
    Released: August 1981 (US)
  5. "I Go to Sleep"
    Released: November 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[3]
The Austin Chronicle4/5 stars[4]
Blender4/5 stars[5]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[6]
Christgau's Record GuideB+[7]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[10]
Spin Alternative Record Guide6/10[11]

Pretenders II is the second studio album by British rock band the Pretenders, issued on Sire Records in August 1981. It incorporates four songs that had been released as singles in the UK and placed on an EP in the US. It peaked at #7 on the UK Albums Chart and #10 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified a gold record for sales by the RIAA. It is the final album by the original line-up, as the following year bassist Pete Farndon was dismissed and guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died in the same week. Farndon died in 1983, and a new line-up would make the band's next album, Learning to Crawl.


The success of their 1979 debut album 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" followed by "Message of Love". In the US, where standalone singles had become rare, these tracks were combined with three others for a stopgap extended play release in March 1981 simply titled Extended Play. Pretenders II was released two months later to mixed critical reception arguably because many of the songs were viewed as overly similar to, (though not quite as groundbreaking as) the band's debut.[citation needed] Nevertheless, several of the album's songs became hits and the album has increased in critical stature with time.[citation needed]

As on their previous album, the band includes a song by Ray Davies of The Kinks, although in this case "I Go to Sleep", written by Davies in 1967, was not recorded by the group. Band leader Chrissie Hynde and Davies were in a relationship at the time of recording Pretenders II. It has been rumoured that the song "Talk of the Town" is about Davies. The couple were to have a daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde, in 1983.[13]

The album also includes the sexually-forward tunes "Bad Boys Get Spanked" and "The Adultress", with perhaps the album's most ambitious track, "Day After Day" spinning 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.[citation needed] The single version of the song ends with a guitar solo that gradually fades out; the album edit ends suddenly, mid-guitar-solo, with the sound of a crashing fighter plane. The album's final track, "Louie, Louie", is an original composition and not a version of the identically titled and often covered song by Richard Berry.

In 2000 it was voted number 403 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums.[14] The following year, twenty years after its release, it was certified gold in the United States.[15]


Rhino released a re-mastered edition of Pretenders II in 2006, including a second disc of live tracks and outtakes.[16] Most of the tracks on the bonus disc originally appeared as a Warner Bros. 1982 promotional live album, Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic. Specialist label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs (known as MFSL or MoFi) released a re-mastered version in 2010.[17] The track listing, however, reverted to that of the original release, without bonus tracks. A further 2015 reissue repeated the original album plus bonus disc of the 2006 version with two additional bonus tracks, this time including a DVD containing four promotional videos and two appearances by the band on Top of the Pops.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Chrissie Hynde except where noted. Tracks 1-15 on the reissue bonus disc were recorded at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium September 4, 1981.

Side one
1."The Adultress" 3:55
2."Bad Boys Get Spanked" 4:04
3."Message of Love" 3:26
4."I Go to Sleep"Ray Davies2:55
5."Birds of Paradise" 4:14
6."Talk of the Town" (edit of the 3:13 single) 2:45
Side two
1."Pack It Up"
2."Waste Not Want Not" 3:43
3."Day After Day"
  • Hynde
  • Honeyman-Scott
4."Jealous Dogs" 5:36
5."The English Roses" 4:28
6."Louie Louie" 3:30
2006 reissue bonus disc
1."The Wait" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic)3:23
2."The Adultress" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 4:07
3."Message of Love" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 3:28
4."Louie Louie" (US b-side to "I Go to Sleep") 3:50
5."Talk of the Town" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 3:27
6."Birds of Paradise" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 4:27
7."The English Roses" (UK b-side to "I Go to Sleep") 4:51
8."Up the Neck" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 6:16
9."Bad Boys Get Spanked" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 3:19
10."Stop Your Sobbing" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic)Davies3:46
11."Private Life" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 7:04
12."Kid" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic) 3:48
13."Day After Day" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic)
  • Hynde
  • Honeyman-Scott
14."Brass in Pocket" (previously unreleased)
  • Hynde
  • Honeyman-Scott
15."(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" (previously issued on Pretenders Live at the Santa Monica Civic)
  • Gary Jackson
  • Raynard Miner
  • Carl Smith
16."Talk of the Town" (previously unreleased Free Range studio demo 21 December 1979) 2:49
17."I Go to Sleep" (previously unreleased guitar version)Davies2:59
18."Pack It Up" (previously unreleased radio mix) 3:50


Additional personnel
  • Bill Price — recording
  • Gavin Cochrane — front cover photography


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1981) Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[19] 18
UK Albums Chart 07[20]
Billboard 200 10[21]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[22] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[23] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Pretenders II – Pretenders". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 March 2006.
  4. ^ Caligiuri, Jim (15 December 2006). "Pretenders: Reissues". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 16 November 2006.
  5. ^ Lim, Dennis. "Pretenders: Pretenders / Pretenders II". Blender. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (12 August 1990). "The Best Of The Pretenders". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 December 2020.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "Pretenders: Pretenders II". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  8. ^ Murphy, Sean (16 November 2006). "The Pretenders: Pretenders". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 28 January 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2006.
  9. ^ Carson, Tom (1 October 1981). "Pretenders: The Pretenders II". Rolling Stone. No. 353. Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2006.
  10. ^ Considine, J. D.; Skanse, Richard (2004). "The Pretenders". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 653–54. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Powers, Ann (1995). "Pretenders". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 309–10. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  12. ^ Pinnock, Tom (April 2017). "Golden Hynde". Uncut. No. 239. p. 83.
  13. ^ Bradford Brady, "Pretenders' hit may have been about Kinks founder" Rapid City Journal, 25 September 2009 p. 37
  14. ^ Colin Larkin (2000). All Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd ed.). Virgin Books. p. 151. ISBN 0-7535-0493-6.
  15. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  16. ^ "Rhino Expands First Two Pretenders Albums". Billboard. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  17. ^ "The Pretenders – Pretenders II Hybrid SACD". Mofi. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  18. ^ Discogs website retrieved 10 August 2020.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 238. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Billboard chart history retrieved 10 August 2020.
  22. ^ "British album certifications – The Pretenders – Pretenders II". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 13 December 2018.Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Pretenders II in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  23. ^ "American album certifications – The Pretenders – Pretenders II". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 13 December 2018.