Chrissie Hynde and producer Dan Auerbach perform on the floor of his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. “She’d sing live with the band and we’d all get shivers when that voice came through the speakers,” says session guitarist Kenny Vaughan.
Photo by Jill Furmanovsky

The Pretenders leader talks about making a rocking new album with Dan Auerbach, her guitar history, and why she absolutely loves to play.

“There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think, ‘This is fucking great,’” Chrissie Hynde replies when asked about her 36-year run with the Pretenders. She’s right, of course. Growing up in Akron, Ohio—the Rubber City, where she attended Firestone High School—Hynde wanted nothing more than to be in a rock band. And for more than half her life she’s led one of the best through a dozen incarnations—all of them dependent on her poetic writing, her smoky and commanding voice, and her partnerships with a variety of fellow guitarists that have created a perfect union of artful rhythm playing and terse, conflagrant solos, leads, and licks.

Those fretboard collaborations have bristled and purred through truly extraordinary songs. They range from the punk-inflamed and bellicose early classics “The Wait” and “Tattooed Love Boys” to meat-and-potatoes rockers like the title track of the band’s new album Alone to elegant and reflective ballads like “Hymn to Her” from 1986’s Get Close and “Almost Perfect” from 2008’s Break Up the Concrete.

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