Chrissie Hynde (born September 7, 1951 in Akron, Ohio) is an American rock musician, best known as the leader of the band The Pretenders. She is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, and the only member of the band to remain constant.
Hynde graduated from Firestone High School. She attended Kent State University and was a student there during the time of the Kent State shootings.
Hynde moved to London in 1973 and made a name for herself as a rock journalist writing for the New Musical Express. She also got involved with several musical efforts, including rehearsing with Mick Jones before he formed The Clash, being in Malcolm McLaren's Masters of the Backside circa 1975, and in 1977 being briefly associated with the notorious but short-lived punk band The Moors Murderers .
In 1978 she formed The Pretenders with English musicians James Honeyman-Scott, Pete Farndon, and Martin Chambers. The Pretenders lineup would change over the years as a result of numerous deaths and interpersonal conflicts; through these changes Hynde's leadership of the band solidified, although Chambers returned to the band. Her guitar of choice is a white Fender Telecaster.
As a rare female bandleader and style-setter in the early days of punk and new wave, Hynde has been highly influential. Her brash style in her appearance, outspokenness in interviews and songwriting, and punk sensibility (she gave Sid Vicious his trademark lock necklace) earned her the respect of other musicians and critics, and the admiration of many young women who were inspired to follow her. Chrissie Hynde recorded a song with UB40 (a cover version of "I Got You Babe"), with Cheap Trick ("Walk Away"), as well as recording with The Pretenders.
Chrissie Hynde had a daughter Natalie Ray in 1983 with Ray Davies of The Kinks (a cover version of the Davies song "Stop Your Sobbing" had been an early hit for the Pretenders, and Hynde met Davies several years later, a meeting which bloomed into a long-term relationship). She then married musician Jim Kerr of the band Simple Minds in 1984, and had a daughter Yasmin with him in 1985. They divorced in 1989. She married artist Lucho Brieva in 1997 and resided with him in London until they separated in 2002.
Chrissie Hynde did a duet with INXS on their album Full Moon, Dirty Hearts in 1993. She sang along on the title track of the album.
She sang the vocal on the Moodswings (band) album Moodfood for track #9, "Spiritual High II" which was played during the closing credits on the soundtrack of Single White Female, the Bridget Fonda film.
Chrissie Hynde has been in the news in recent years as a high-profile animal rights activist.
In 1995 Hynde made an acting appearance on the US television comedy Friends.
In 1999 Hynde played guitar and sang vocals with Sheryl Crow on the song "If It Makes You Happy" during a concert in Central Park.
Hynde is mentioned prominently in the lyrics of the Terence Trent D'Arby song "Penelope Please."
In 2004, Hynde has moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, for a couple of months, in order to play along with Brazilian musician Moreno Veloso, in an informal tour that lasted until December 2004. She bought a flat in the Copan Building, in Sao Paulo's downtown.
In 2005, Hynde collaborated with Incubus on a song called "Neither Of Us Can See". The song is on the soundtrack album for the movie Stealth.
Also in 2005, Hynde sang a song together with Ringo Starr called Don't Hang Up which can be heard on Starr's most recent album Choose Love.
She was also the vocalist on Tube & Berger's 2004 #1 Dance Top 40 track "Straight Ahead". The track would give Hynde her first US #1 track on the Billboard charts.