When her band, the Pretenders, reached the charts three decades ago with new wave hits "Brass in Pocket" and "Back on the Chain Gang," Chrissie Hynde cut a singular figure—her edgy, androgynous sex appeal barely concealing the vulnerability of a true romantic. Now 59, she still sports her signature fringe, kohl-rimmed eyes, and skinny jeans, and she calls her poppy latest album, Fidelity!
(with her band JP, Chrissie & the Fairground Boys), "the best thing I've ever done—and I never
say that!" In a recent conversation, Hynde divulged a few of the "thousand things that have moved me to tears," genre by genre.
"If I'm in a public place—say, in a roof garden on top of a hotel—and someone is playing reggae, I want to kiss their feet. I go to mid-'70s stuff by Keith Hudson, Toots & the Maytals, and Jimmy Cliff."
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"When I was 18 and had a job framing pictures in a gallery, the guy working next to me would always play opera, and I thought he was a nutter. But now I adore it. Maria Callas will never go missing in my listening, because she rocks."
Maria Callas, The Passion of Callas
"People think classical music is for old folks, but when you look back at the people who actually wrote it and made it—Mozart was 35 when he died; Beethoven did some of his best work in his 30s. These were young guys."
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"The trumpeter Lee Morgan was awesome. So many of those '60s jazz players were obviously on a quest for some higher realization, some great truth, and that's what I love about music."
Lee Morgan, Search for the New Land
"My favorite thing is the radio, just tuning in to whatever happens to be on. Radio France has an eclectic range of oddball music: cabaret, jazz, blues, classical, all sorts of contemporary Europop."
Radio France FIP, at Players.Tv-Radio.com/RadioFrance/playerfip.php