In her much-anticipated bio, The Pretenders front woman Chrissie Hynde gives a remarkably frank look into her life growing up as a teen and early 20-something in her native Dayton, Ohio before uprooting and relocating to London and finding herself at the center of the punk rock movement.
Much like her music over the past three decades, Reckless is impressively enjoyable, ego-less and pretention free; what makes this bio stand out from so many other rock star memoirs that clutter the shelves is Hynde’s unflagging honesty and frankness, whether she’s discussing her sexual assault by Ohio bikers or her take on Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Hynde friend and Sex Pistol guitarist Sid Vicious. While far from a celebrity tell-all, given her role and that of her friends in shaping the music that dominated rock radio for a better part of the 1980s, the musician talks openly about her peers in the late British 70s punk scene as well as her relationship with Ray Davies, the father of her daughter. She also details the struggles her band members had with drugs and the deaths of guitarists James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon.
Part of what makes Reckless such an enjoyable read is the fact that Hynde herself is clearly a massive music fan with her own idols, many of which she discusses in the book, including David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Compelling, revealing and entertaining, Hynde’s memoir is easily one of the best musician bios to come out in years.
Reckless: My Life as a Pretender by Chrissie Hynde/hardcover, 336 pages/Doubleday/2015