Learning to Crawl (2018 Remaster) Pretenders
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- 1Middle of the Road (2018 Remaster)04:13
- 2Back on the Chain Gang (2018 Remaster)03:50
- 3Time the Avenger (2018 Remaster)04:55
- 4Watching the Clothes (2018 Remaster)02:52
- 5Show Me (2018 Remaster)04:09
- 6Thumbelina (2018 Remaster)03:17
- 7My City Was Gone (2018 Remaster)05:25
- 8Thin Line Between Love and Hate (2018 Remaster)03:40
- 9I Hurt You (2018 Remaster)04:37
- 102000 Miles (2018 Remaster)03:39
Info for Learning to Crawl (2018 Remaster)
What is the sound of a fledgling band dealing with multiple tragedies, coming to terms with drastic changes, digging deep into its consciousness, finding resolution in hurt, and overcoming staggering odds to record a bonafide masterwork? It's the sound of every note that graces the Pretenders' Learning to Crawl. Still recognized as one of the most emotionally gripping and musically gutsy performances ever made, the smash 1984 album hasn't aged a day. And now, it sounds better than could ever be imagined.
The story behind Learning to Crawl is directly connected to the powerful, moving music within. After releasing two records that swept the world by storm (Pretenders and Pretenders II), the group's fortunes reversed after guitarist James Honeyman-Scott was found dead of a drug overdose in 1982. Shortly thereafter, founding member Pete Fardon, fired just two days before his partner's death, also succumbed to an overdose, leaving the band's state in tatters. Would there still be a Pretenders?
Hynde answers this question with a resounding "yes" on Learning to Crawl, which still contains signs of the band's early, street-wise rawness but also adds new wrinkles, with more streamlined melodies, sensitive ballads, and reflective tones. "Back on the Chain Gang," the Pretenders' most commercially successful hit, functioned as a bittersweet tribute to her ex-mates while the Christmas-themed "2000 Miles" holds rank as one of the most effecting, penetrating love songs of Hynde's career. Throughout the record, the Pretenders are again one.
New guitarist Robbie McIntosh supplies simpler, bluesier, basic guitar lines and the foursome know how to all-out rock, with the furious "Middle of the Road" and socially conscious "My City Was Gone" testifying to a stinging, thrilling sensibility that can exist only because of the devastation that the band survived. Call it the rise of the phoenix or triumph of the human will, but any way you see it, Learning to Crawl occupies a rare territory – akin to the space referred to on the superb cover of "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" – that registers in the pits of the human soul.
"Chrissie Hynde took a long, hard road to rock & roll stardom, but when her band, the Pretenders, finally broke through in 1979, they wasted no time, growing from promising newcomers on the British music scene to major international stardom with a pair of smash albums to their credit in a mere three years. But the Pretenders' meteoric rise came to a crashing halt in 1982, when drug abuse claimed the life of guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and forced Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers to dump bassist Pete Farndon, who would also succumb to an OD in April 1983. Hynde was forced by circumstance to reinvent the Pretenders for their third album, 1984's Learning to Crawl, but if the new edition of the group lacked some of the spark of the band that made the first two LPs, through sheer force of will Hynde created a masterpiece. While Hynde hardly held back in her emotionally potent songwriting in the Pretenders' early work, on Learning to Crawl there's a gravity to her lyrics that blended with her tough but wiry melodic sense and streetwise intelligence to create a set of truly remarkable tunes. "Back on the Chain Gang" is a touching tribute to her fallen comrades that still sounds bitterly rueful, "Middle of the Road" is a furious rocker that explores the emotional and physical toll of a musician's life, "Time the Avenger" is a taut, literate examination of a businessman's adulterous relationship, "My City Was Gone" deals with the economic and cultural decay of the Midwest in a manner both pithy and genuinely heartfelt, and "2000 Miles" is a Christmas number that demonstrates Hynde can be warm without getting sappy. As a guitarist, Robbie McIntosh brought a simpler and more elemental style to the Pretenders than James Honeyman-Scott, but his tough, muscular leads fit these songs well, and bassist Malcolm Foster's solid punch fits Chambers' drumming perfectly. Three albums into her recording career, Chrissie Hynde found herself having to put the past to bed and carve out a new beginning for herself with Learning to Crawl, but she pulled it off with a striking mixture of courage, strength, and great rock & roll; with the exception of the instant-classic debut album, it's the Pretenders' finest work." (Mark Deming, AMG)
Chrissie Hynde, lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica
Robbie McIntosh, guitar, backing vocals
Malcolm Foster, bass, backing vocals
Martin Chambers, drums, backing vocals, lead vocals (11), percussion
Recorded Mid-1982 to late 1983 at AIR Studios, London
Produced by Chris Thomas
were formed in 1978 with singer Chrissie Hynde on vocals, Pete Farndon on bass, James Honeyman-Scott on guitar and Martin Chambers on drums.
They released two LP’s, Pretenders – which charted at #1 in the UK and #9 in the States - and Pretenders II, and one EP, Extended Play. The band enjoyed worldwide chart success with singles including Stop Your Sobbing, Kid, Brass In Pocket, Talk of The Town and I Go To Sleep. The band was constantly on the road and enjoyed heavy MTV rotation.
In 1982 they were dealt a difficult year: a parting of ways with Pete Farndon being swiftly followed by the death of James Honeyman-Scott. Pete’s death came a year later.
Subsequently the band’s line-up remained fluid and the band went on to release the albums Learning to Crawl, Get Close and Packed! between 1984 and 1990.
After a 4-year hiatus came the band’s next release Last of the Independents, followed in 1995 by Isle of View, a live acoustic album recorded over two nights in London with the Duke String Quartet.
1999 saw the release of Viva El Amor, the last album to be released on longtime label Warner Records, and their next album Loose Screw was released on Artemis Records in 2002.
Neil Young inducted the Pretenders into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, and their next release, Break Up The Concrete, came in 2008.
The band have toured the world and performed in front of over 4 million people. Pretenders continue to play together.
This album contains no booklet.