While technically an English band the Pretenders revolved around frontwoman, songwriter, guitarist, badass-for-the-ages and Cleveland native Chrissie Hynde, who had left the States in the late 70's for London in pursuit of greener musical pastures. She found them. While searching about for the proper musical fit for her amazing talents she cut some demos which found their way to one Dave Hill of Anchor Records. He arranged some studio time for her and she was encouraged to form a group. When the audition dust settled the original Pretenders lineup was in place with James Honeyman-Scott on guitar, Peter Farndon on bass and Martin Chambers on drums.

Their debut album "Pretenders" exploded onto the charts in January 1980, kicking the decade off with style. It reached #1 in the UK and #9 on the Billboard album charts. Pretenders were a breed apart right from the beginning. Chrissie Hynde wasn't some record company creation like the countless tough girl-wannabe posers seen in videos today, she was the real thing. She didn't suffer fools lightly, didn't enjoy having to answer stupid questions, didn't make apologies for what she did or how she did it and was incredibly talented and driven all at the same time. She wasn't a disco queen pretending to be a cultural force, she was a musician with magnetic gifts who seized the spotlight and blew everyone else off the stage.

The album's first cut "Precious" is a song that helped send the message that the 70s were over in no uncertain terms. As raw and cathartic as anything that ever emerged from punk, as tight and compelling as anything power pop groups like XTC would ever produce and as lyrically uncompromising and sarcastic as Hynde herself the song is a three and a half minute manifesto that set the stage for the band's entire career.

Here they are performing "Precious" at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.