Saturday, November 17, 1979

Pretenders “Brass in Pocket” charted

Brass in Pocket


Writer(s): Chrissie Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 17, 1979

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 15 HR, 10 RR, 1 CL, 1 CO, 12 UK, 5 CN, 2 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 8.7 video, 132.55 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“By the time Chrissie Hynde and her Pretenders released their seminal hit ‘Brass in Pocket,’ the band was already on its third lineup – and that’s before they had any chart success. Their third single, ‘Brass in Pocket’ was their first U.K. No. 1 and reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100.” UCR She said, “The market was wide open for a band like ours with a girl vocalist and solid, simple, straight ahead rock songs. It sounds perfect on the radio, too.” TC

“The brass in the song’s titular pocket is meant to mean ‘money,’ picked up from a bit of Yorkshire slang Hynde heard from a member of another band. Hynde’s vocal imbues that brass with a far greater meaning: It’s an emblem of confidence, a symbol of the certainty the singer feels when she considers what she wants and how she will achieve it.” UCR

The song was significant for showing that “a central role in rock’s power and impact – the bandleader, the frontperson, the boss – could just as easily be filled by a woman as a man.” UCR It was also “one of many great singles to emerge from a musical era awkwardly known as ‘new wave.’” UCR The term “conjures images of synth-drenched pop and Flock of Seagulls haircuts” UCR but was really “about a level of artistic integrity that vanished in the rock indulgences of the ‘70s and was made possible by the deck-clearing ferocity of punk.” UCR

The Pretenders had “punk rock credibility but unlike most other punk groups they could play. Honeyman-Scott’s guitar parts bristled with ideas – sparkling melodic touches that complemented Hynde’s prickly lyrics. Chambers and Farndon put a soulful bedrock under Hynde whether she was bitter or wistful – as is the case with ‘Brass in Pocket.’” TC


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Pretenders
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Pages 291-3.
  • UCR (6/20/2013). “Top 100 Classic Rock Songs

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First posted 7/22/2022; last updated 11/12/2022.

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