Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Pretenders - "Stop Your Sobbing" (forgotten song) (the song remains the same)

Sure, this was originally by The Kinks, on their 1964 eponymous debut LP, but they never released it as a single so I'm going to credit it to The Pretenders. The take away lesson here is that Ray Davies is such an incredible song writer that a "filler song" for The Kinks can be a hit single for any other band.

"Stop Your Sobbing" was released as the first single by The Pretenders and was also featured on their 1979 debut LP, Pretenders. Despite doing well for their first single, few people probably remember this song because 1) there was no video for MTV (to the best of my knowledge anyway), and 2) "Brass in Pocket", also from their debut LP, pretty much overshadowed the rest of the band's songs, at least by The Pretenders Mk. I.

That's too bad, because "Stop Your Sobbing" is easily the band's best, or second best song (some days I think "Talk of the Town" deserves that honor). Ray Davies writing, Nick Lowe producing, and Chrissie Hynde singing... well, it is just hard to improve on that. This is one of the few cases where the cover surpasses the original.

The original lineup of the band produced two excellent LPs, and then bassist Pete Farndon and guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died of drug overdoses during a three day span in 1982. The Pretenders recruited new members and found greater commercial success with 1983's "Learning to Crawl", but I never cared as much for this version of the band. Hynde was always the principal song writer, but the sound just wasn't as good.

But none of that matters -- "Stop Your Sobbing" is a brilliant song and a testament to both The Pretenders and The Kinks.

The Pretenders: 1980 on the Kenny Everett Show, 1987 on the David Letterman Show, Live Aid (1985).
2016-04-15 Edit: I just now discovered the "official" video.

The Kinks: "Stop Your Sobbing"

B-Side Bonus Link: "The Wait" (live version from the 1981 LP "Concerts for the People of Kampuchea")

2010-11-15 Edit: A cover by Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson.

Obligatory Hynde/Davies fact: well after this song was recorded, they began a relationship (~81-84) and had a child together. This has no bearing on the song, of course, but I think there is a rule somewhere that states this fact must be repeated when discussing "Stop Your Sobbing".

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