Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, June 16th

On this day in 1982: Pretenders guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died following sustained cocaine and heroin addiction.

During the mid-1970s, Honeyman-Scott met future Pretenders bandmate Pete Farndon while the bassist was playing with Cold River Lady in Hereford (Melody Maker, 1979). In 1978, Farndon recruited Honeyman-Scott for a series of Pretenders rehearsals and recording sessions, and he officially joined the group that summer (New Musical Express, 1980). Chrissie Hynde recalled, “As soon as I heard Jimmy Scott, I knew I was getting close. Jimmy and I turned out to have a genuine musical affinity.”

Honeyman-Scott’s role in shaping the Pretenders’ sound primarily involved adding melodic lead lines to existing songs to help tie them together. He recalled in the early days, “We did lots of rehearsing – seven days a week, all hours of the day and night. At first a lot of the licks were very heavy – like ‘Up the Neck’ started off as a reggae song. I said, ‘Let’s speed it up,’ and put in that little guitar run. The melodic parts of the numbers really all started coming together by me putting in these little runs and licks. And then Chrissie started to like pop music, and that’s why she started writing things like “Kid”

Hynde and Honeyman-Scott have both acknowledged the influence their contrasting styles had on each other (Guitar Player, 1981; Uncut, 1999). According to Honeyman-Scott, Hynde had a unique style he adjusted to in several ways: “She does quite a bit of rhythm guitar, and I don’t know anybody who plays like her. It’s real distinct, and I can’t count her beat half the time. Instead, I just put a little guitar line over it, like the lick in ‘Tattooed Love Boys'” (Guitar Player, 1981). He joked about his other strategy: “I’ve never told them I can’t work out their time at all! They are used to me coming in a bar too late; they think that’s the way I play. But it’s because I’ve missed where she comes in! I just bluff it and hope for the best.”

In May and June 1982, Honeyman-Scott was first in Los Angeles and then in Austin, Texas, for a short visit with his wife Peggy Sue Fender (an actress/model based in Austin, Texas and also a member of the British girl group Girls Can’t Help It), whom he had married in April 1981. His wife was staying with local guitarist Mark Younger Smith at this time ( While in Austin, he became involved in his first co-production effort for an album by Stephen Doster that was never released. During the sessions with Stephen Doster in Austin, Honeyman-Scott was called back to London for a band meeting on June 14 with Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers that resulted in the dismissal of Pete Farndon from the Pretenders, due to Farndon’s increasing substance dependence. Two days after the dismissal of Pete Farndon, Honeyman-Scott was found dead in a girlfriend’s apartment of heart failure caused by cocaine intolerance.

On this day in 1984: Frankie Goes To Hollywood had their second UK #1 single with ‘Two Tribes.’ It stayed at #1 for nine weeks making Frankie Goes To Hollywood the first band to have their first two singles go to the top of the UK chart. During this run the group’s previous single ‘Relax’ climbed back up the charts to #2. It was the longest-running #1 single in the UK of the 1980s.

Here’s what was happening on the U.S. singles chart on this day back in 1984 where Cyndi Lauper was starting her second and final week at #1 with ‘Time After Time.’

1 1 TIME AFTER TIME –•– Cyndi Lauper (Portrait)-10 (2 Weeks at #1) (1)
2 4 THE REFLEX –•– Duran Duran (Capitol)-9 (2)
3 2 LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY –•– Deniece Williams (Columbia)-11 (1)
4 3 OH SHERRIE –•– Steve Perry (Columbia)-11 (3)
5 5 SISTER CHRISTIAN –•– Night Ranger (MCA / Camel)-15 (5)
6 6 THE HEART OF ROCK ‘N ROLL –•– Huey Lewis & The News (Chrysalis)-9 (6)
7 9 SELF CONTROL –•– Laura Branigan (Atlantic)-10 (7)
8 10 JUMP (For My Love) –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-8 (8)
9 14 DANCING IN THE DARK –•– Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)-4 (9)
10 11 BORDERLINE –•– Madonna (Sire)-15 (10)

11 18 EYES WITHOUT A FACE –•– Billy Idol (Chrysalis)-7 (11)
12 8 BREAKDANCE –•– Irene Cara (Geffen)-13 (8)
13 15 IT’S A MIRACLE –•– Culture Club (Virgin)-6 (13)
14 19 ALMOST PARADISE –•– Mike Reno & Ann Wilson (Columbia)-6 (14)
15 7 HELLO –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-17 (1)
16 17 YOU CAN’T GET WHAT YOU WANT (Til You Know What You Want) –•– Joe Jackson (A&M)-9 (16)
17 36 WHEN DOVES CRY –•– Prince (Warner Brothers)-3 (17)
18 13 I’LL WAIT –•– Van Halen (Warner Brothers)-10 (13)
19 22 STAY THE NIGHT –•– Chicago (Full Moon / Warner Brothers)-7 (19)
20 23 RUN, RUNAWAY –•– Slade (CBS Associated)-11 (20)


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