Thursday Inspiration #163 Back On The Chain Gang

Respond to this challenge, by either by using the prompt word train, or going with the above picture, or by means of the song ‘Back on the Chain Gang’, or by going with another song by the Pretenders, or anything else that you think fits.  ‘Back on the Chain Gang’ was written by Chrissie Hynde and recorded as a single by her British-American rock band the Pretenders, and this was released in September 1982.  This song charted #17 in the UK, and it reached #5 in the US.  It was released on the Pretenders 1984 third studio album Learning To Crawl.  Chrissie Hynde’s then-infant daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde was learning to crawl at the time that Hynde was trying to determine a title for the album.  Hynde and Ray Davies leader of the band The Kinks were a couple and they had Natalie together.  This song started off being about Davies, but the meaning changed when the founding member and new wave guitarist Honeyman-Scott died on June 16, 1982 at the age of 25, from heart failure caused by cocaine intolerance.

Coming together two years after punk’s initial explosion, Hynde, Chambers, Pete Farndon, and James Honeyman-Scott formed the Pretenders in 1978 England.  The English bassist Pete Farndon joined the Pretenders in early 1978 and was the first member of the 1978–82 lineup to be recruited by Chrissie Hynde.  Hynde’s ex-lover Farndon was kicked out of the band on June 14, 1982 for his ongoing drug problems and he died on April 14, 1983 at the age of 30.  Farndon was found by his wife drowned in the bath at his home in London, having lost consciousness after overdosing on heroin.  All of these problems should have destroyed the Pretenders, but Chrissie Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers emerged from the wreckage with a commercial and critical masterpiece.  Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner replaced James Honeyman-Scott and Big Country bassist Tony Butler replaced Farndon.  This song was The Pretenders first single with the new lineup.

Hynde was inspired to write this song after finding a picture of Ray Davies in her wallet.  She sings that her world was hijacked to a place in the past and Davies has said that he is easy to love, but impossible to live with.  The Pretenders covered the Ray Davies song ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ on their debut album and they backed it with Hynde’s song ‘The Wait’ as the B side.  This led American born Chrissy Hynde to meet Ray Davies and they had a relationship together for several years.  This song became a tribute to James Honeyman-Scott, because his death had a profound effect on Hynde.  She got mad when she read about his death and the magazines made it seem like it was just another rockstar drug overdose and this song is filled with her anger.  Hynde pours out her heart in this song taking it to a dark place by getting away from the news of the world by becoming a pigeon from hell, because she felt the media was descending like flies on her and throwing sand in her eyes.  She is brought to her knees by the powers that be while living the wretched life of a lonely heart.

Now we’re back in the fight
We’re back on the train
Oh, back on the chain gang

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