Talk of the Town (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Talk of the Town"
Talk of the Town (Pretenders).jpg
Single by The Pretenders
from the album Pretenders II
ReleasedApril 1980
Format7" single
Recorded1980, Paris[1]
GenreNew wave,[2] jangle pop
Songwriter(s)Chrissie Hynde
Producer(s)Chris Thomas
The Pretenders singles chronology
"Talk of the Town"
"Message of Love"

"Talk of the Town" is a song written by Chrissie Hynde and performed by the Pretenders. Released first as a single and then on the Pretenders' 1981 EP Extended Play, it was later re-released on the band's 1981 album Pretenders II.

Inspired by a London nightclub and a fan of the band, the song was a radio hit and reached number 8 in the United Kingdom, it has since been praised by critics as a highlight of Pretenders II.


"Talk of the Town" was inspired by a fan Chrissie Hynde had encountered on the band's first tour. She explained in a BBC Songwriters' Circle special, "I had in mind this kid who used to stand outside the soundchecks on our first tour... I never spoke to him. I remember that the last time I saw him I just left him standing in the snow, I never had anything to say to him. I kind of wrote this for him, so, in the unlikely event that you're watching this, I did think about you."[3] It was also rumored that the song was written about Kinks frontman Ray Davies, whom Hynde would date and have a child with;[2] the title itself was inspired by a London nightclub of the same name.[2][3]

"Talk of the Town", one of the first songs written following the Pretenders album, was recorded in Paris.[1] At the time of the creation of Pretenders II, Hynde found confidence in the song's radio success, saying "I knew that people still liked us and we were getting airplay with 'Message of Love', 'Talk of the Town', [and] 'I Go to Sleep'".[1]


"Talk of the Town" was initially released as a single in April 1980. It was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom, entering the charts at number 21 and peaking at number 8 in its third week on the charts;[4] the B-side of the single in most territories was "Cuban Slide", but in the United States it was the band's previous single, "Stop Your Sobbing".

The song was also released on the band's US release Extended Play in March 1981—alongside "Cuban Slide"—and later that year was included on the band's second studio album, Pretenders II.

Reception and legacy[edit]

"Talk of the Town" has generally received positive reception, often being singled out as a highlight from Pretenders II. Tom Carson of Rolling Stone lauded the song, writing, "What's so wonderful about 'Talk of the Town,' for example, is how beautifully she grasps the rapturousness of success: she's the girl who got left behind, but she's also the boy who's changed his place in the world, and we understand them both".[5] Matthew Greenwald of Allmusic said, "Between the breezy melody and literate, confessional lyrics, this song is head and shoulders above what passed for a pop single at the beginning of the '80s, and remains a classic of Hynde's."[2] Sean Murphy of Pop Matters said that the song, along with fellow Pretenders II singles "Message of Love" and "Day After Day", "richly deserve their rotation on less imaginative DJ's play lists".[6] Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune called it a "fine single" while Dennis Lim of Blender praised it as "tender".[7][8]

The song was referenced in the Garbage song "Special", where vocalist Shirley Manson sang "We were the talk of the town" as a tribute to Hynde. To avoid legal problems, Manson contacted Hynde by telephone to ask for permission to use the lyric. Hynde agreed to let Garbage use the lyric without even hearing "Special" first (and did not ask for any credit or royalties); Manson then wanted to send Hynde a copy of the song just to be safe, but Hynde sent a fax to Smart Studios giving her written consent before Manson could do so.


  1. ^ a b c Hynde, Chrissie (9 August 2016). Reckless: My Life as a Pretender (Reprint ed.). Anchor. ISBN 978-1101912232. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Greenwald, Matthew. "Talk of the Town". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Talk of the Town". SongFacts. Retrieved 29 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Pretenders". Official Charts. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  5. ^ Carson, Tom (1 October 1981). "Pretenders: The Pretenders II". Rolling Stone (353). Archived from the original on 8 December 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2006.
  6. ^ Murphy, Sean (16 November 2006). "The Pretenders: Pretenders". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 November 2006.
  7. ^ Kot, Greg (12 August 1990). "The Best Of The Pretenders". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
  8. ^ Lim, Dennis. "Pretenders: Pretenders / Pretenders II". Blender. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2013.