Home / CD Review: The Pretenders – Pirate Radio

CD Review: The Pretenders – Pirate Radio

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Yes, you all know that Chrissie Hynde was the driving force behind The Pretenders. She was the “face” of the band, and was the one who was featured in the videos. In fact, can you even name any other members of the band? Hmmm… interesting.

Pirate Radio is a 4-CD box set that really is designed for those who are not necessarily diehard fans. It’s one of the few box sets that acts as a true retrospective of the band, and not just the hits, or just the obscure stuff. All the favorites are definitely here – the groove of “Brass In Pocket,” the roar of “Middle Of The Road,” and the ultra-catchy hook of “Back On The Chain Gang.”

Without question, there’s plenty of music here that any fan of classic hard rock in the ’80s will remember. Mixed around it are a lot of cool album tracks. Most surprising to me was the inclusion of songs like “Night In My Veins”; a song that sounds almost nothing like most of their catalog.

Pirate Radio is broken down into two distinct parts. The first 2 CDs cover what most people would call the “classic” era for The Pretenders. Full of oddities, rare tracks, live tracks and hits, this is the era of The Pretenders that most people will probably remember. Discs 3 and 4 cover the more recent era of their material, and being honest, not a whole lot of it was recognizable to me. It wasn’t brilliant either.

RATING – 7/10 – Calling a spade a spade, no box set is ever that good unless you are the most loyal diehard listener ever. This one is no exception, but it’s much better than the average box set is. Full of hits, rarities, demos and more, Pirate Radio is good for both the diehards, and good for a fan of a song or two who wants to hear more.

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About richwithhatred

  • can you even name any other members of the band? yes! the guy on guitar, who died. and, uh..the bass player and…ah, shit! forget it.

    no wait…James Honeyman Scott! hah!

    you have a point though.

    Martin Chambers!

    (ok, i was a Pretenders geek)

  • Rodney Welch

    I saw this in the store and checked out the list. If someone wants to give this to me, I’ll be grateful, but I wouldn’t buy it myself. I have this general feeling that if yoou want the best of the Pretenders, stick with the first three albums.

    I’m a huge fan of their debut and play it often. I recently bought
    i Pretenders II
    on CD, which I’ve long had on vinyl. Played back to back, the two sound almost as good, since the original band was together then.

    James Honeyman-Scott was one of the great rock casualties, I think, sort of like the loss of Danny Whitten was to Neil Young. The band just never sounded quite the same afterwards.

  • i never understood why Pretenders II was overlooked. there are some great tunes on it, including “Bad Boys Get Spanked”. i mean, come on!! 😉

  • Rodney Welch

    Some reviewers said it just didn’t rock as hard, which I don’t get. “The Adultress” is a great lift-off to the record. Maybe they expected it to push further than the first record and they weren’t happy that it was almost as good (or is that almost as great?)

  • I’m probably the biggest Pretenders geek. I own every Pretender album released including bootleg vinyl from some of their U.K. and U.S. club performances. I would probably love this box set without question.

  • do you have the three live tunes from that Kampuchea benefit concert?

  • Rodney Welch

    I have that on tape somewhere and until you mentioned it completely forgot about it. Good show. It also has Rockpile doing “Crawling from the Wreckage” and Ian Dury doing “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.”

  • yep! too bad it’s not on cd. a really fun record.

  • passerby

    I finally got a copy of this box set, and it’s mostly been the first disc and the DVd that I have been repeating. Pete Farndon was one incredible bass player, it’s a shame he couldn’t beat his heroin addiction.

    As great as Chrissie’s voice is, after the original lineup changed, she lost the spark that really made her great, IMO.