37. The Pretenders – Brass in Pocket

I’m special, so special. I gotta have some of your attention. Give it to me.

Just about every woman I have gone out with has loved this song. I guess I didn’t give them enough attention. Yet the song is so good it makes it onto my list despite being associated with so many exes. As I was playing songs researching this list, Jean heard Brass in Pocket and said, “I love that song!” Note to self: give wife more attention.

The Pretenders were an English band with an American lead singer. They came out after punk and they weren’t punk, but they were what you got when a punk lead singer, Chrissie Hynde, meshed with musicians that could play their instruments. They played beautiful rock songs that didn’t sound like anybody else.

I found a clip of the first time I saw them. They sang Stop Your Sobbing on the Kenny Everett Video Show in this clip, starting at 6:35. Earlier in the same video they play as the punk backup band for a skit with Everett’s punk character Sid Snot, so for a few minutes they were punk after all.

The song of the Pretenders that made it into my top 40 is Brass in Pocket. The guitar playing of James Honeyman-Scott is beautiful, the rhythm section keep it strong and tight but the song belongs to Chrissie. Her voice is strong with its own personality. She isn’t a great technical singer – she doesn’t vibrato at all and she doesn’t hit notes, she smears them. If you listen to her sing this you’ll hear her slide up into notes and down out of them. But it doesn’t matter, she sounds great and she gets the pitch right at some point during the smear.

The video is great. Chrissie Hynde is so hot she could be a waitress, and that’s exactly how the director casts her. The boys rock up in their pink Cadillac and flirt with Chrissie before their girlfriends show up. The video supports the song well and you are left with a feeling of sadness that the ‘so special’ Chrissie is left behind.



Pete Farndon is the bass player and this is a steady, tight bass line. There’s a little bit of flash but he keeps it in the background most of the time to let the song focus on Chrissie. He was a good player, I am still sad that heroin killed him. 


Next: Cheap Trick – Dream Police

Previous: Frank Zappa – Valley Girl


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