Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Glorious Ladies of Rocktober Song #15: "Middle of the Road" by The Pretenders

It would be a crime if I had a Glorious Ladies of Rocktober without a song by The Pretenders.*  Formed in the late '70s and led by singer/main songwriter/rhythm guitarist Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders managed to endure the deaths of two band members in the early '80s to put out a string of hits over the course of a decade.

The band's first four albums –- 1980's self-titled debut, 1981's Pretenders II, 1984's Learning to Crawl, and 1986's Get Close –- were Top 25 albums on the Billboard charts and all but Learning to Crawl went Top 10 in the UK.  Between 1980 and 1994, the band had five Top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and nine Top 20 hits in the UK.  Songs like "Stop Your Sobbing," "Brass in Pocket," "Middle of the Road," "Back on the Chain Gang," "Don't Get Me Wrong," and "Message of Love" have stood the test of time pretty well, and helped the band eventually be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

I am going with "Middle of the Road" because it's my favorite Pretenders song.  Released in November 1983, it reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.  The song starts with a great drum intro and ascends into a catchy, new wave rocker.  It's the kind of song that makes you tap your feet or bob your head, whether you want to or not.  I love the lyrics in the third verse at about the three-minute mark, before Hynde's wicked harmonica solo, where she frantically sings "Don't harass me, can't you tell / I'm going home, I'm tired as hell / I'm not the cat I used to be / I got a kid, I'm thirty-three."  Great song from a great band.

*It would not be a crime

No comments: