Chrissie Hynde has a distinctive voice that I can remember hearing on the radio as a kid. Her recently released memoirs, Reckless, take us on the journey from her roots in Ohio through her discovery of the 1960s London music scene to the ultimate creation and ascension of The Pretenders (original members) in the rock world.
Hynde is no angel, like many other rock-obsessed teens of her time, she consciously delves into the world of drug and alcohol abuse, free love, and of course making music. Throughout the book, she acknowledges the extremes of her and her friends’ behavior without apologies, but not without reflection.
As she balances feeling like a phony with the overwhelming desire to be part of the music scene, Hynde gives us something surprising, the knowledge that rockstars are just like everybody else. She credits The Pretenders’ success to the musical genius of their original guitarist; but anyone who’s heard her sing can attest that her voice is unique, easily identifiable, and rightfully made her a star.
There’s something about Hynde’s generation that doesn’t quite exist in today’s modern world – a free flow of ideas and the natural coming together of talent that seems (at least upon reading, I’m sure she’d disagree) to come together somewhat effortlessly. Even though it bounced around a bit, I enjoyed this unromanticized account of music history. Hynde writes a story worth reading with confidence and perspective.