The Pretenders: Pete Farndon, Tony Butler, T.M. Stevens, Andy Hobson
Personnel changes are the bane of all rock ensembles, and The Pretenders are no exception. Rather than document all the bassists who toiled in the service of her majesty Ms. Hynde, I choose to cite those that caught my attention.
Though the late Pete Farndon was not the most technically capable player – his work on the first two Pretenders platters proficiently set the template for his long list of successors, forging solid, minimal motifs which became essential to Chrissie’s canon. Tony Butler, who was also a member of Big Country and sideman to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey – plied The Pretenders’ two most recognizable bass passages for “My City Was Gone” and “Back on the Chain Gang” from Learning to Crawl (1984). He was an unconventional choice for a new wave-pop group, yet fusion virtuoso T.M. Stevens brilliantly brought the funk to Get Close (1986), a chart-topping release which also featured The Attractions’ Bruce Thomas and studio ace Chucho Merchan.
From 1994 until 2002 Andy Hobson held down the bass chair with commendable performances on Last of the Independents (1994), Isle of View (1995), Viva Amor (1999) and the overlooked gem Loose Screw (2002).