Favorite "City" Songs #2 - "My City was Gone"
February 17, 2019 10:49am CST
The city itself is still here, but what the hell happened? I am counting down my favorite songs with "Town," "City," "State," and "Country" in the title, and we are at the "City" edition of today's discussion. We are at #2: "My City was Gone" by The Pretenders. What's a girl to do? Chrissie Hynde's band, The Pretenders, had put out two damn good albums, and a really good EP, after which the group went on hiatus. During the break, both guitarist James Honeyman-Scott and bassist Pete Farndon (Farndon had already been fired, but still) died of drug overdoses. Hynde and drummer Martin Chambers grabbed Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner and Big Country bassist Tony Butler, and recorded a two-sided single, "Back on the Chain Gang"/"My City was Gone" (both of which were later included on the 1984 album, Learning to Crawl.) As is the case with most Chrissie Hynde songs, "My City was Gone" is a bit autobiographical. In her book Reckless: My Life as a Pretender (which I quite enjoyed,) Hynde talks about returning to her hometown, Akron, Ohio, horrified at the changes (land developers call it "progress") that had taken place. (I feel your pain, Chrissie. When I moved back to Denver back in July, my navigational knowledge hadn't skipped a beat. When we arrived at Point B, however, it was all new to me. And not in a good way.) Interestingly, Conservative Talk Radio host Rush Limbaugh had been using "My City was Gone" as bumper music because he liked the baseline, and liked the idea of sticking it to liberals by using a liberal song in a conservative format. However, having not obtained permission, Limbaugh was issued a Cease and Desist order from EMI Records. When Hynde finally found out about this, because her conservative parents loved listening to the radio personality, she worked out a deal with Limbaugh, who paid royalty fees for the right to use the song, which she then donated to PETA. And now you know! (Info verified by Wikipedia)
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