From the Vault...


The Pretenders
"Learning To Crawl"

© WEA/Sire Records

Year of Release: 1984

track listing
  • Middle Of The Road
  • Back On The Chain Gang
  • Time The Avenger
  • Watching The Clothes
  • Show Me
  • Thumbelina
  • My City Was Gone
  • Thin Line Between
    Love And Hate
  • I Hurt You
  • 2000 Miles

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    The Pretenders
    "Learning To Crawl"

    The Pretenders return this week with their 1984 release, Learning To Crawl. It was their third studio album in their career. The album was named after singer Chrissie Hynde's newborn daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde. She was learning to crawl at the time, when the band was recording material for a new album. Despite losing two bandmembers from drug overdoses, the outcome of the album was a huge success, having various songs becoming big radio hits. Seven out of the ten songs were singles. Yet it was four of these seven that I remember getting the most airplay: "Back On The Chain Gang" and the B-side, "My City Was Gone" (I had this 45 back in the day), (Most people may remember "My City Was Gone" as the opening theme for radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.) "Middle Of The Road" was another huge hit. "Time The Avenger" was another song that received heavy radio airplay. Another song that was officially a single from the album, yet I do remember hearing it on the radio, was "Show Me."

    The rest of the tracks are just as exceptionally well. "Watching The Clothes" is definitely a good song. "Thumbelina" has an updated Rockabilly sound. "Thin Line Between Love And Hate" has a New Age Jazz sound, as one particular artist comes to mind, Sade. Her style can be compared to this track. The remaining last two songs are "ok-to-good": "I Hurt You" and another radio single, "2000 miles."

    Definitely well recorded, The Pretenders' third album of their career, Learning To Crawl is a very good album, and one of the band's best. Their first three albums accomplished many hit songs, yet afterwards, their albums did not do so well, as only one hit song would surface hear and there. Future hits would be "Don't Get Me Wrong" (1986's Get Close. After another album was released, their next album, Last Of The Independents (1994) would claim another hit, "I'll Stand By You". Four more albums were relased from 1995 to 2008, as there were no hit singles. Maybe their hit making years were over, however, they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

    Learning To Crawl is a must to have. The hit singles are the standouts, as there were quite a few on this album, than their previous albums released. Some consider the band's style as Punk, while others named it as Rock. At the time of their debut album in 1980, New Wave and Punk Rock were becoming another part of popular music. The Pretenders are more of a Rock band, yet some of their songs could fit the New Wave and/or Punk Rock formats. Although claiming either or both New Wave and Punk as their source of music, the Rock style would be more appropriate.

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    Wall Of Voodoo--Dark Continent
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    Doobie Brothers--The Captain And Me