By the time she was 14, Chrissie Hynde knew she had to get out of Akron, Ohio. Her perfect '50s American childhood upturned by a newly acquired taste for rock 'n' roll, motorbikes and the 'get down boys' seen at gigs in and around Cleveland - Mitch Ryder, the Jeff Beck Group, the Velvet Underground and David Bowie among the many.
Wrapped up in the Kent State University riots and getting dangerously involved in the local biker and drug scenes, she escaped - to Mexico, Canada, Paris and finally London, where she caught the embryonic punk scene just in time not only to witness it first-hand, but more importantly to seize the opportunity to form her own band, The Pretenders.
Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Vivienne & Malcolm, Ray Davies...on every page household names mingle with small town heroes as we shift from bedroom to biker HQ; from squat to practice room; from pub gig to Top Of The Pops - the long and crooked path to stardom, and for The Pretenders, ultimately, tragedy.
That Chrissie Hynde is alive to tell the tale is, by her own admission, something of a miracle. Throughout she is brutally honest, wryly humorous, and always highly entertaining. She has written one of the most evocative and colourful music memoirs to be published in recent years.
Narrated by Rosanna Arquette.
©2015 Chrissie Hynde (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks
Wonderful slice of life from the late sixties( hippy era) early seventies( punk era) Chrissies style of writing is strong, poetic and melodic...and captures the realities of over excess, creativity and how perhaps the one depends on the other..or drives the other. Difficult to know for sure...this is a very real memoir! She says basically..."This is how it was"
The Pretenders were a band of my formative youth, at an age when i had no conception of the non-music side of rock and roll. I later heard stories of what was happening behind the scenes and when i saw this book i couldn't wait to hear the truth. It was eye-opening, frank and revealing, also shocking, terribly sad but educational. The only thing which spoiled it a bit for me was the narration, which lacked rhythm and feel for the text, often the pace and tone were out of sync with the flow of the story and placed inappropriate punctuation in the sentences. That said, this deficiency should not ruing enjoyment of the book, i still highly recommend
A snotty, arrogant turn on" read a early review of a typical Chrissie Hynde live performance fronting the Pretenders. Never a woman to compromise, Chrissie has always been known for her feminist world view not to mention her radical vegetarianism. But that persona, as this superb rock biography shows, is tempered by a touching vulnerability and a genuine wit. Despite a downbeat ending to this book - with the drug- linked deaths of both Pretenders bassist Pete Farndon and guitarist James Honeyman Scott - this book is fascinating stuff. Born in 1951 on Akron, Ohio, Chrissie takes us through a somewhat chaotic life prior to founding the Pretenders in the late 70s. An Iggy Pop obsessive, she was at Kent State University during the fatal riots of 1970. She lived in Canada, Mexico and Paris before falling in love with London. She has ingested a factory full of drugs and booze. She worked at Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood's shop in London in the mid 70s and later was at the heart of the punk scene, fronting fledgling early incarnations of both the Clash and the Damned. She nearly got hitched to Sid Vicious (but only to be allowed to stay in Britain) and former partner Ray Davies, but didn't marry either. This is a book full of history, tragedy, belly laughs and the author's acerbic but, in the end, likeable personality. While this book is raunchy and acutely honest, it is no kiss and tell celebrity shag-fest, and it's all the better for that. Read it even if you didn't like The Pretenders. It's hugely entertaining and very, very cool.
Rosanna Arquette spits out Chrissie's ripe prose with real venom, even if she does struggle occasionally with some of the English place names. Her reading is far from perfect, but it's very human, even laughing out loud during a funny bit at one point. If your idea of fun is hearing the star of Desperately Seeking Susan saying the word "bollocks", this is very much for you.
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