Chrissie Hynde (b. September 7, 1951)
Since the late '70s, singer/guitarist/songwriter Chrissie Hynde has been the leader of one of rock's most widely beloved bands, the Pretenders. Born in Akron, Ohio, Hynde bought a one way ticket to London, England, where she became a rock critic before founding her band. I always thought she wrote her breakthrough hit "Brass in Pocket" to get the attention of Ray Davies of The Kinks, and it worked: she had his child.
Hynde has never been afraid to voice her opinions concerning causes she believes strongly about, such as ending animal cruelty. In October 1997 Hynde appeared on the cover of High Times, speaking on behalf of marijuana legalization. In November of that year, during a California concert held on National Medical Marijuana Day, she and dreamboat drummer Martin Chambers wore green ribbons onstage. Hynde stopped the show to announce that it was because, "we do endorse the use of the herb for medical and other reasons. And I can tell you at 46 that marijuana is the key to longevity." Then she said, "And this is for the Freedom Fighters," and played her "Revolution."
Hynde took several years off from touring to raise her daughters, and her album "Learning to Crawl" documents the experience as only Chrissie could. She recorded a beautiful version of Dylan's tune "Forever Young" and that and her "I'll Stand By You" gain an extra poignancy when they seem to be aimed at a child.
Hynde's song, "Legalise Me" was chosen as the soundtrack for the VIP Video, and her 2014 follow up, "Dark Sunglasses" seems to have a similar, more subtle message. Kinda like "Give Me a Sense of Purpose" was "Brass in Pocket" 20 years later.
With a voice and a sense of purpose that won't quit, rock mama Hynde is often cited as an influence on younger female musicians, but as Brandon Marsalis once introduced her on The Tonight Show, she is "Incomparable."