Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde celebrates her 70th birthday today.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Hynde moved to London in 1973 and eventually immersed herself in the city’s punk scene.
She formed The Pretenders in 1978 with drummer Martin Chambers, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon. The band’s first single, a 1979 cover of The Kinks‘ “Stop Your Sobbing,” reached #34 on the U.K. charts.
The Pretenders’ 1979 self-titled debut album reached #9 on the Billboard 200. It featured the band’s first stateside hit, “Brass in Pocket,” which peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Pretenders also featured several other enduring songs, including “Precious,” “Kid” and “Mystery Achievement.”
The band’s 1981 sophomore album, The Pretenders II, reached #10 on the Billboard 200 and included the popular tunes “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love.”
Tragedy struck the band in June 1982 when Honeyman-Scott, 25, died of a drug overdose, two days after Farndon was fired because of his own drug problems. In April 1983, Farndon drowned in his bathtub after overdosing on heroin. He was 30.
Hynde and Chambers soon re-formed The Pretenders, and the band scored its biggest hit in 1982 with “Back on the Chain Gang,” which reached #5 on the Hot 100. Other hits followed, including “Middle of the Road,” “Show Me,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “I’ll Stand by You.”
Hynde also scored a big hit when she teamed up with U.K. reggae band UB40 for a 1985 cover of Sonny & Cher’s classic duet “I Got You Babe.”
Outside of music, Chrissie has had children with two other famous singers. Her daughter Natalie, whose father is Kinks frontman Ray Davies, was born in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, Hynde was married to Simple Minds single Jim Kerr, and the couple’s daughter, Yasmin, was born in ’85.
Chrissie was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with The Pretenders in 2005.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.