Great Rock Albums of 1986: The Pretenders- Get Close


Public Service Announcement: If you feel there is an album from 1986 onward, (I won’t back track to previous years), then feel free to email me with your suggestion at

It was from an emailed suggestion which prompted me to make the above announcement and to listen to and post about the 1986 “Get Close” album from the Pretenders. The album pretty much escaped my notice back in that year, probably as my focus was definitely on heavy metal. I remember the single “Don’t Get Me Wrong” but I also remember that while it wasn’t bad, it didn’t really have me wanting to shout about it either. However, I will say that it’s geared more toward what I had come to expect from The Pretenders than most of the other songs on the album.

Two observations from listening to the album and from what I read about the behind the scenes history regarding it. First one was from a comment from Joe of 1537 fame when I wrote about their previous album, “Learning to Crawl.” I totally agree that by this time, the band was less The Pretenders and more the Chrissie Hynde Band. After firing drummer Martin Chambers, she was the only original member left in the band. The other observation was that the album was moving from the original new wave sound of the Pretenders to a more soft rock sound.

The first three tracks of “Get Close”clearly demonstrate what I mean with the soft rock. All three songs fit under the label although on the third track, “Light of the Moon,” Robbie McIntosh lays down the first of his several good guitar solos on the album. It’s his guitar solo which saves the next track, “Dance.” If it hadn’t been for his killer solo on the song, I would have thought that Chrissie was trying to go disco with it. However, it is the two extremes of the dance back beat and the killer guitar solo which makes it difficult to judge if I really like the song or not.

One intriguing track is “Tradition of Love.” It seems to go a bit space rock with Chrissie’s more extended vocals and the stoner rock sounding beat. Plus, Robbie delivers a cool guitar solo on it. For this album and for The Pretenders, the song is definitely unique and my vote for second best track on the album. The rest of the album is more towards the soft rock side, although there is a strong reggae feel to “How Much Did You Get For Your Soul.” But the best is saved for last with the cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic, “Room Full of Mirrors.” It is definitely the best track on the album for me. It sounds as if the band just puts everything else aside and just goes for it. In comparison to the rest of the album, the song just rocks! It is a good way to end the album.

Track Listing:

  1. My Baby
  2. When I Change My Life
  3. Light of the Moon
  4. Dance
  5. Tradition of Love
  6. Don’t Get Me Wrong
  7. I Remember You
  8. How Much Did You Get for Your Soul
  9. Chill Factor
  10. Hymn to Her
  11. Room Full of Mirrors

The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde- lead vocals, rhythm guitar

Robbie McIntosh- guitar

T.M. Stevens- bass (tracks 3, 4, 6-9)

Blair Cunningham- drums, percussion (tracks 3, 4, 7-9)

Additional Musicians:

Bob Worrell- organ, synthesizers (tracks 1, 3, 4, 8, 9, 11)

Martin Chambers- drums

Rupert Black- keyboards

Carlos Alomar- percussion (track 11)

Bruce Brody- organ

Mel Gaynor- drums (track 1)

Steve Jordan- drums (track 6)

Tommy Mandel- synthesizer

Johnny McKenzie- bass

Chucho Merchan- bass (tracks 2, 4, 6, 10)

Simon Phillips- drums (tracks 2, 5, 10)

Patrick Seymour- synthesizer

L. Shankar- violin (track 5)

Bruce Thomas- bass

Paul Wickens- synthesizer, piano

Malcolm Foster- bass

Maybe Chrissie should have used Steve Lukather!

The me back in 1986, wouldn’t have been to impressed with “Get Close” as a whole. Though, even then, I would have thought the closing track rocked. The present day me is a lot more open to things not metal and I can say that it’s a decent album, though I’d rather still listen to “Learning to Crawl.”

Again, if you feel that I should post about an album, please email me. Though I should say that I have pretty much exhausted the rock portion of 1986 and am eager to get to the metal portion of this great year. Believe me, there are vast number of albums for me to write about!

It is also my sad duty to announce that the Bloodstock Festival has also fallen victim to the Covid crisis and will not take place this year. With everything that has been going on in regards to the lockdown, I was planning to go on the Sunday because Saxon and Judas Priest had the top two spots on the Dio Stage. The organizers are hoping to have the 2020 line up for next year, so here’s hoping.

Next post: Georgia Satellites



























4 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1986: The Pretenders- Get Close”

  1. You’re right about this album being a Chrissie Hynde album. Look at those stellar musicians that helped her out. All star lineup! Wow. Great read on some background history on this record.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post. I was not following Chrissie on this one. I remember Don’t Get Me Wrong, but that is it. It wasn’t the same anymore with the rest of the guys gone. It had lost that extra something special that they used to have. But she is still one talented individual.

    Liked by 1 person

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