Stand By You
” Look, as long as we can make records and sell enough so we can do some shows, that’s all I want. You know what? I just want to play guitar and be in a band. Same as I always did.” Chrissie Hynde
For most people, Chrissie Hynde is none other than the leader of punk-pop band the Pretenders. With the group, she immediately gained legions of fans for such singles as the cover of Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Brass In Pocket,” the cover of “I Got You Babe” (with UB40), “I’ll Stand By You,” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong.” Hynde, who in 1995 played Stephanie Schiffer in an episode of the sitcom “Friends,” has collaborated with musicians like Sheryl Crow, Incubus and the Beatles’ Ringo Starr.
Besides being a musician, Hynde is also famous as an active member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and a contributor to the establishment of the PETA headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. The 7th person on VH1’s “100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll” is also an active and outspoken vegetarian. Hynde, who is a close friend to singer Annie Lennox, had to apologize for her accidental role in a McDonald’s restaurant bombing caused by a misguided fan. Previously, she had jokingly stated that she had blown up a McDonald’s franchise to help advance her vegetarian views.
Hynde is the mother of two daughters, Natalie Rae (from her relationship with musician Ray Davies) and Yasmin (actress, from her six-year marriage with Jim Kerr). She was once also married to artist Lucho Brieva.
Running Off to Europe
Childhood and Family:
A daughter of a part-time secretary and a telephone company worker, Chrissie Hynde was born on September 7, 1951, in Akron, Ohio. Greatly influenced by the Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop and the Beatles, Chrissie already had an interest in bands and the hippie counterculture when she was studying at Firestone High School.
Chrissie joined a band called “Sat. Sun. Mat.” while attending Kent State University’s Art School and finally dropped out during her third year to pursue her passion in music. She later headed to London and took several jobs, such as a writer for New Musical Express magazine and a staff member at the punk clothing store SEX, before focusing on music.
In 1983, Chrissie gave birth to daughter Natalie Rae from her relationship with Ray Davies of the British band The Kinks. A year later, the singer married Jim Kerr of the band Simple Minds, with whom she has another daughter, Yasmin (actress, born in 1985). After ending her second marriage in 1990, Chrissie had a five-year marriage with artist Lucho Brieva (1997-2002).
Stop the Sobbing
After several futile attempts on creating a band while in Europe, Chrissie Hynde received a break when her demo tape was heard by Dave Hill of Real Records, who then managed her and helped her form a band. With Pete Farndon (bassist), James Honeyman-Scott (guitarist) and Martin Chambers (drummer), Hynde set up a band called the Pretenders, whose name was taken from the song “The Great Pretender.” Later, the group’s lineup changed several times because of member deaths and internal conflicts.
Hynde and the Pretenders made their first public performance in a Paris club and recorded a demo tape, which included “Precious,” “The Wait” and the cover of the Kinks’ “Stop Your Sobbing.” The latter track was eventually officially released in 1979 and soon became a Top Thirty hit in the UK.
Releasing a self-titled album in 1978, the Pretenders burned charts in the UK and US with the song “Brass In Pocket.” The punk-pop band later added to their fame with the hit albums Pretenders II (1981) and Learning to Crawl (1984), as well as with such songs as the cover of “I Got You Babe” (with UB40), “Walk Away” (collaborated with Cheap Trick), “I’ll Stand By You,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and many more.
Outside the band, Hynde composed the music for the comedy series “The Comic Strip Presents” (1982) and the song “State of Independence” for the horror movie Candyman (1992). She also contributed her vocals for INXS’ title track in the album Full Moon, Dirty Hearts (1993) and Moodswings’ single “Spiritual High II.”
Giving acting a try, the singer played Stephanie Schiffer and sang “Angel in the Morning” in an episode of the acclaimed sitcom “Friends” (1995). After performing at the 1999 memorial concert for the late Linda McCartney, she made music for a number of films, such as G.I. Jane (1997, wrote “The Homecoming”), the drama series “Passions” (1999, sang “Breakfast in Bed”), Eye of the Beholder (1999, performed “I Wish You Love”) Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000, crooned the self-written “Kid 2000”) and Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001, wrote “Bad Boys”). Hynde, who in 1999 enchanted a Central Park concert audience with her duet with Sheryl Crow in “If It Makes You Happy,” performed with her band at the BBC’s 2003 annual “Children in Need” charity event.
A year later, the voice of Siri in the animation movie Rugrats Go Wild (2003) collaborated with Brazilian musician Moreno Veloso in his one-year informal tour and then with Spanish band Jarabe de Palo in the single “Cry (If You Don’t Mind).” Hynde was featured in Tube & Berger’s No.1 Dance Top 40 track “Straight Ahead” (2004), Incubus’ song “Neither Of Us Can See” (was included in the soundtrack album for the thriller Stealth, 2005), as well as Ringo Starr’s solo single “Don’t Hang Up” (2005).