Pretenders (The) – Don’t Get Me Wrong

This was one of the first purchases of my sixth form years.

I had always been an admirer of The Pretenders, I remember Chrissie Hynde looked very much like one of a bunch of sisters from the top of our road – that was enough for me.  Looking at the single’s cover, she (Chrissie) could be accused of trying a little too hard to be cool.  But then didn’t all pop stars do that?

In common with quite a few of my singles purchases, I came a little late to the band.  Their first UK singles chart entries dated from 1979, with Stop Your Sobbing (34), Kid (33) and the awesome Brass In Pocket (1).  Obviously, I had heard them on the radio – I guess I was lucky in that Mum was quite happy to listen to Radio One (once Wogan had finished on Radio Two of course).  Remember, back then, there was a more clear distinction between what would appear on the respective play lists of the two monoliths of British Radio.

Anyway, that’s enough of the history of Radios One and Two.  Don’t Get Me Wrong was a comeback of sorts.  Released in October 1986, it was the band’s first single since 1984’s offering A Thin Line Between Love And Hate.  In fact Thin Line was only the band’s third single single the death in 1982 of James Honeyman-Scott, guitarist, songwriter and founder member and second since the 1983 death of Pete Farndon, bassist and co-writer of a number of tracks.  The latter had been sacked by Hynde in 1982 for reasons connected to his drug use.

I bought the single on 27 October 1986 – a Monday, after all I was now in town on a daily basis with ready access to the delights of John Menzies, Woolworth’s and other record shops.  The song made it to number ten in the UK singles chart and had only just faded from the chart before the haunting Hymn To Her was released.

Pretenders (The) – Hymn To Her

The follow up track to Don’t Get Me Wrong, Hymn to Her was written by Chrissie Hynde’s high school friend Meg Keene.

Released in late 1986, it made the UK singles chart top 10, getting to number 8 in January 1987. Plain and simple, it’s a ballad and a paean to womanhood. Of course this sixteen year old didn’t really hear the lyrics as such, it was more the melody that hooked me.

On another point, as mentioned above, this was the second release from the album, Get Close. My record buying habits meant that I didn’t buy buy that many albums.

I’m not 100% sure what an album would have cost back then, but having bought two singles from it, perhaps it might have been more economical to have just bought the album?! But then that’s the whole point of singles. They represent an instant hit, if you pardon the pun. You hear it on the radio and think, “Oh, I like that!” You pop off into town and buy it. Much like today’s record consuming world, but including a bus journey and a physical item purchased at the end of it. Sounds plausible?

Postscript… My copy is a “Limited Edition Gatefold” [including a free single]. The free single being 1983’s 2000 Miles. As it was Christmas time when I made this purchase, it might just have been 2000 Miles that was the real selling point for me.