The Pretenders – ‘Middle Of The Road’
  • Writer: Chrissie Hynde
  • Producer: Chris Thomas
  • Recorded: Summer 1983 at AIR Studios in London
  • Released: Fall 1983
  • Players:
    Chrissie Hynde — vocals, guitar, harmonica
    Robbie McIntosh — guitar, vocals
    Malcolm Foster — bass, vocals
    Martin Chambers — drums, vocals
  • Album: Learning To Crawl (Sire, 1983)
  • Also On: The Singles (Sire, 1987)
  • “Middle Of The Road” was the first single from the Pretenders‘ third album.
  • The song has an autobiographical edge, as Pretenders leader Chrissie Hynde reflects on events of the recent past — including the deaths of her former bandmates Pete Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott and the February 1983 birth of Natalie, her daughter with Kinks frontman Ray Davies.
  • The Learning To Crawl album introduced new Pretenders Robbie McIntosh on guitar and Malcolm Foster on bass.
  • The album peaked at Number Five on the Billboard 200 — the group’s best showing ever — and at Number 11 on the U.K. album chart.
  • Learning To Crawl also launched two other hit singles, “Show Me” and a remake of the Persuaders‘ “Thin Line Between Love And Hate,” as well as the holiday perennial “2000 Miles.” It also included the hit “Back On The Chain Gang,” which had been recorded and released in 1982.

FAST FORWARD:

  • During the Learning To Crawl tour, Hynde met Simple Minds frontman Jim Kerr and, after a whirlwind romance, married him in May 1984. They later divorced.
  • This lineup of the Pretenders lasted only into 1985, when drummer Martin Chambers and Foster departed. Both subsequently rejoined the band at different times.
  • McIntosh left the Pretenders in the late ’80s and joined Paul McCartney‘s band for two world tours.
  • Hynde continues to lead the Pretenders, and Chambers is back in the band.
  • Hynde is active in the animal-rights field as a member of PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals).
  • The band’s latest new studio album was 2002’s Loose Screw.
  • The Pretenders were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.