The Best of the Pretenders

Leftover from Scene's Pretenders story: Area music types talk about their favorite songs. Bill "Mr. Stress" Miller, former leader of the Mr. Stress Blues Band, currently with Alan Greene. One of the Cleveland fixtures referenced in "Precious": "I liked 'My City Was Gone.' That's how a lot of us who grew up in Cleveland in the '50s feel. Things change. My city is gone." Wendy Case, Akron-born singer-guitarist of Detroit's Paybacks: "'Tattooed Love Boys.' What could be sexier than a song about being forced to get it on with bikers? That's the real deal right there. No sissies allowed." Henry Lo Conti, owner of the Agora:Connection: Before Hyde was talent, she was a client. "Is it my kind of music? Not really, but she's always been a part [of what I like], because she's from the area." Cindy Barber, owner of the Beachland Ballroom, longtime witness to Cleveland rock "I love 'Precious' just because it's that determination: I am doing it. I am precious." John Gorman, former program director of WMMS, the radio station often credited with breaking the band nationally: "My favorite is 'Precious.' It's to Chrissie what 'R-e-s-p-e-c-t' is to Aretha." Rachel Roberts, Akron singer-songwriter and bandleader: "'The Night in My Veins.' The melody catches me off guard with her refrain. Also, in her lyrics, 'night' could mean several things. To me it represents dark spiritual encounters with the passion of music." Patrick Carney, drummer of Akron's Black Keys: "The one Rush Limbaugh plays ['My City Was Gone']. Seriously." Nicole Barille, singer-guitarist of Cleveland's Mr. Gnome: "After dealing with several deaths in my family, 'I'll Stand By You' really struck a chord within me and touched an emotional level that I was just beginning to experience through music." Rose Kuhel, singer-guitarist of Cleveland's Rebel Girl, formerly of Akron's Cherry Bomb: "'Precious.' 'Back on the Chain Gang' -- that is a smooth-ass song. 'I'll Stand by You,' that song brings tears to my eyes, but don't tell anyone. I honestly never heard a Pretenders song that I don't like. Annie Zaleski, Cleveland-bred rock writer, Riverfront Times music editor, former Alternative Press associate editor: "It's a toss-up between '2000 Miles,' since I love Christmas, 'Talk of the Town,' since it's just such a pretty chorus, and 'Night in My Veins,' which is just such a badass, empowered tune." Shortly after releasing the boxed set Pirate Radio, the Pretenders are touring the U.S. in support of the Who, playing headlining shows on off dates. Twenty-five years in the spotlight haven't changed Hynde much, and when it comes to Northeast Ohio musical figures, she might be the one least impressed with her career. "I've been overrated, if anything," says Hynde. "I'm just doing my thing." -- D.X. Ferris
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