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The Pretenders — Back on the Chain Gang (live)
Album: The Isle Of View
Avg rating:
7.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1853









Released: 1995
Length: 4:01
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I found a picture of you oh
What hijacked my world that night
To a place in the past
We've been cast out of oh
Now we're back in the fight
We're back on the train yeah oh.
A circumstance beyond our control oh
The phone, t.v. and the news of the world
Got in the house like a pigeon from hell oh
Threw sand in your eyes and descended like flies
Put us back on the train yeah oh
Back on the chain gang.
The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they've done to you.
But I'll die as I stand her today
Knowing that deep in my heart
They'll fall to ruin one day
For making us apart.
I found a picture of you oh
Those were the happiest days of my life
Now we're back on the train
Oh back on the chain gang.
Like a break in the battle was your part oh
In the wretched life of a lonely heart
Now we're back on the train
Oh back on the chain gang.
Comments (219)add comment
Saw this whole program live at the Universal Amphitheater in 2000.  Blown away, the greatest live show I ever seen.
I rated this a 10 because this is one of my all time favorites from The Pretenders. I adore them. Also, I love this live version. I've never heard it. I'm sad that I have never seen them live. #1 on my wish list, if things ever get back to where they were before February-March.  Somehow, I don't know if that is even a possibility. 
When she sings "Those were the happiest days of my life" i get all sentimental about things that never even happened to me... Love this song
 Lazarus wrote:
Everybody in my alien space craft loves this live version...  this song is soooo good...
 
Is Lazarus still with us? I haven't seen his posts for a while.
Wow ... this is a beautiful version - live rules 
 from 9  to  10
This song is a time machine, instantly brings me to 90s.  Very pleasant version.
ugh
Just tuned-in, only to find I missed a song by The Pretenders. Splendid.
 obankenobi wrote:
Saw Chrissie live in SLC 2017 opening for Stevie Nicks, she absolutely rocked the house.  I realized then:  the Pretenders is Chrissie Hynde, period
 
I saw her on that tour in Denver. She's still got it.
Saw Chrissie live in SLC 2017 opening for Stevie Nicks, she absolutely rocked the house.  I realized then:  the Pretenders is Chrissie Hynde, period
 AhhtheMusic wrote:
The orchestral version.  My preference is the hard, driving version, but this is a playful play on it.
 

I love love love this live "orchestral" version (does a couple of strings make it orchestral?).  Gorgeous.    
Hackney Empire, London, circa 1992: A young South African is at a Red Wedge benefit gig, dancing his socks off to Jimmy Somervill or Billy Bragg. Or could it have been Madness (I can't remember). I was drunk and deep in my, um, unique dance groove. I'm looking down at the floor in mid-swirl and see hips grinding through the tightest leather trousers I ever did see. The hips came closer and, to my amazement seem to attach themselves to mine. I looked up. Chrissy Hynde. I was utterly gobsmacked but instantly internalised my excitement. I had to play cool. We were groin-grinding. Just Chrissy and I. I began to grin manically. And... then... somebody called out to her... and.. she was gone. I went into a mad whirling-dervish solo dance set which lasted for hours. Fair to say I tingled with stratospheric pleasure for days after. And still do when I hear a Chrissy Hynde/Pretenders song. 
 h8rhater wrote:

The utter cluelessness of these 2 posts, WHICH do not even belong on a music message board btw, shows how sad the educational system is in this country (or just how lack of knowledge has become a point of pride to some).  To not understand the significant differences between socialism and fascism, or to understand their history of conflict with one another, is to show true ignorance.  To bandy them about when discussing politics in the US only makes any argument you make all the weaker. 

On a lighter note, I really like this stripped down Pretenders version of Back On the Chain Gang.  The whole album is great.  Pick it up sometime if you like Chrissy and the boys.  You wont be disappointed.
 
But they are both VERY bad right? I mean, they sound bad.  Duh!
 ziggytrix wrote:
"Rue the day? Who talks like that?"

 
I do. And those with a broader vocabulary.
 boltonblue242 wrote:
What a perfect connector... what's we welders love the most... a chance to reshape metal ...
 

16-2_20121224191925.JPG


damn. that is super cool.
 

What a perfect connector... what's we welders love the most... a chance to reshape metal ...
 

16-2_20121224191925.JPG


"Rue the day? Who talks like that?"
One cool thing about this song you might not notice unless you play it is that the minor key bridge leads to a key change from the earlier verse/chorus that makes the final chorus, which finally has upbeat and positive lyrics, sound a bit warmer and more optimistic.  You don't find that kind of thing in pop music very often. 
Lovely version of an outstanding tune!
Got to see The Pretenders in the Hunter Valley in Australia 10 years ago, playing with Paul Kelly and The Church.  It was an awesome show, with 3 brilliant bands, singing amongst the grape vines in the sun.  Nice experience.  
 bc wrote:
Funny.  I like the actual strings in the background, as opposed to the tinny "acoustic" sound of the guitar, which sounds neither electric nor acoustic.

 NeilBlanchard wrote:
My guess is that it is an Ovation guitar, which is acoustic, but with a fiberglass shell instead of a much more resonant wooden flat backed instrument.
 
She was playing a 12-string Gibson (fully wooden) acoustic guitar with a pick-up over the sound-hole.  There was another guitarist playing a 6-string with a Markley pick-up popped in the sound-hole. Neither guitar appears to have been "miked" and there doesn't seem to be much EQ set on either guitar, which may be responsible for the "tinny" sound - especially from that 6-string.
Most Ovation guitars are very full-sounding and resonant - especially when plugged in and/or properly miked - Glen Campbell played Ovations for many years.  There are some carbon fiber bodied instruments that are more resonant and full-sounding than some wooden ones.
 h8rhater wrote:

The utter cluelessness of these 2 posts, WHICH do not even belong on a music message board btw, shows how sad the educational system is in this country (or just how lack of knowledge has become a point of pride to some).  To not understand the significant differences between socialism and fascism, or to understand their history of conflict with one another, is to show true ignorance.  To bandy them about when discussing politics in the US only makes any argument you make all the weaker. 

On a lighter note, I really like this stripped down Pretenders version of Back On the Chain Gang.  The whole album is great.  Pick it up sometime if you like Chrissy and the boys.  You wont be disappointed.

 
Bravo h8rhater!  While I wont even start to get into the Political Science aspect, I appreciate your reminding folks of the main gist of this forum; it's for the music!  And yes, sometimes the music is political, and not having read all the comments I'm not sure where the original convo started....my point is that I like your point of LEAVE IT TO THE MUSIC.

Chrissy is a great artist, ain't she?  My wife looks like a cross of her and Linda R (although her vocal abilities are a bit less; her aural skills are up there though lol)

Long Live RP!


 boxofrain wrote:
Great version!

 
I've come a long way, I've come a long way, I've been 500 miles today
Great version!
A Pretenders classic!
Oh Chrissy.....so many long joyful hours listening to those first few albums....
The orchestral version.  My preference is the hard, driving version, but this is a playful play on it.
Looking forward to seeing the band at the new Kings Arena in Sactown in a couple of months. 
  LowPhreak wrote:

Obama's economic and military/foreign policies have little to do with "socialism". They are more in line with the ideological opposite, a form of fascism, i.e., government in cahoots with corporations and wealthy to the detriment of the average citizen. Or could be called corporatism, oligarchy, kleptocracy. In that respect, Obama is just Clinton II or Bush III.

Get your facts straight, and stop listening to right-wing media propaganda for false definitions.

Aghori wrote:

What? "opposite"? Since when is socialism opposite to fascism? More like twin brothers.

 
The utter cluelessness of these 2 posts, WHICH do not even belong on a music message board btw, shows how sad the educational system is in this country (or just how lack of knowledge has become a point of pride to some).  To not understand the significant differences between socialism and fascism, or to understand their history of conflict with one another, is to show true ignorance.  To bandy them about when discussing politics in the US only makes any argument you make all the weaker. 

On a lighter note, I really like this stripped down Pretenders version of Back On the Chain Gang.  The whole album is great.  Pick it up sometime if you like Chrissy and the boys.  You wont be disappointed.
 Aghori wrote:

What? "opposite"? Since when is socialism opposite to fascism? More like twin brothers.

 
belive me Brother, you would rather be on the receiving end of socialism than fascism    


The whole album is great.
 Aghori wrote:

What? "opposite"? Since when is socialism opposite to fascism? More like twin brothers.

 

 xkolibuul wrote:

HILARIOUS!!  The kids these days...

 
Hey, did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?
Really love this version of this song. The strings are a plus
 bc wrote:


Funny.  I like the actual strings in the background, as opposed to the tinny "acoustic" sound of the guitar, which sounds neither electric nor acoustic.

 
My guess is that it is an Ovation guitar, which is acoustic, but with a fiberglass shell instead of a much more resonant wooden flat backed instrument.
Ovation guitar shell
 LowPhreak wrote:

Obama's economic and military/foreign policies have little to do with "socialism". They are more in line with the ideological opposite, a form of fascism, i.e., government in cahoots with corporations and wealthy to the detriment of the average citizen. Or could be called corporatism, oligarchy, kleptocracy. In that respect, Obama is just Clinton II or Bush III.

Get your facts straight, and stop listening to right-wing media propaganda for false definitions.

 
What? "opposite"? Since when is socialism opposite to fascism? More like twin brothers.
Dunno what it is...but this song is an automatic PSD for me. It pushes my anxiety button, big time! {#Sick}
 msymmes wrote:
Makes me wish I heard her live when I was younger.

 
True.  Missed too much in my time.  This is great stuff.
Everybody in my alien space craft loves this live version...  this song is soooo good...
 LowPhreak wrote:

Obama's economic and military/foreign policies have little to do with "socialism". They are more in line with the ideological opposite, a form of fascism, i.e., government in cahoots with corporations and wealthy to the detriment of the average citizen. Or could be called corporatism, oligarchy, kleptocracy. In that respect, Obama is just Clinton II or Bush III.

Get your facts straight, and stop listening to right-wing media propaganda for false definitions.

 
LowPhreak:  HA!  Not to wax political but welcome to the new Age.  The Age of the Corporate State. 

Or as was more aptly put in an old song; "Meet the new Boss.  Same as the old Boss." 

And on and on and on it goes.  We never learn.  So it goes.

Highlow
American Net'Zen
Wonderful version of this great song....loved hearing Pretenders at MONA Tasmania a few years back....   {#Bananajam}
                                                              Chrissy and the guys seem ageless
{#Heartkiss} .... love this a lot - wonderful vocals from Chrissy
 MiracleDrug wrote:


no that just means the state-controlled media was able to foist a full blown socialist ideologue on a half-asleep populace...

 
Obama's economic and military/foreign policies have little to do with "socialism". They are more in line with the ideological opposite, a form of fascism, i.e., government in cahoots with corporations and wealthy to the detriment of the average citizen. Or could be called corporatism, oligarchy, kleptocracy. In that respect, Obama is just Clinton II or Bush III.

Get your facts straight, and stop listening to right-wing media propaganda for false definitions.
 d-don wrote:
Loved the 12-string acoustic sound, but she lost me with the orchestration. Unfortunate because I wanted to like it. 3

 

Funny.  I like the actual strings in the background, as opposed to the tinny "acoustic" sound of the guitar, which sounds neither electric nor acoustic.
Not heard this live version before – brilliant! Thanks guys!

marvelous...  love it...
 
Makes me wish I heard her live when I was younger.

Everybody in my church loves this live version...  this song is soooo good...
 jackiewelsh wrote:
don't believe all that you hear/read. Selena's VERSION was released by EMI Latin on 14 February 1995. Inspired by the Pretenders' 1982 song "Back on the Chain Gang", Selena's brother and music producer A.B. Quintanilla III asked Ricky Vela, the lead keyboardist of Selena y Los Dinos, to transform the song into a Spanish-language cumbia.
 jocelynsart wrote:
what? this was originally done by Selena? Isn't it older than that originally? 
I don't like the original Pretenders of this song much and funny enough, though I usually do not enjoy live renditions, this I actually liked better lol!

cutiepie_jessy wrote:
This is HORRIBLE!!! Poor Selena, I wondering if her familiy knows they stole this song. Probably not, they would let this keep playing.
 
 





 
HILARIOUS!!  The kids these days...
I like this even better than the studio version!
don't believe all that you hear/read. Selena's VERSION was released by EMI Latin on 14 February 1995. Inspired by the Pretenders' 1982 song "Back on the Chain Gang", Selena's brother and music producer A.B. Quintanilla III asked Ricky Vela, the lead keyboardist of Selena y Los Dinos, to transform the song into a Spanish-language cumbia.
 jocelynsart wrote:
what? this was originally done by Selena? Isn't it older than that originally? 
I don't like the original Pretenders of this song much and funny enough, though I usually do not enjoy live renditions, this I actually liked better lol!

cutiepie_jessy wrote:
This is HORRIBLE!!! Poor Selena, I wondering if her familiy knows they stole this song. Probably not, they would let this keep playing.
 
 




get your facts straight kid:
 Selena's VERSION  was released by EMI Latin on 14 February 1995. Inspired by the Pretenders' 1982 song "Back on the Chain Gang", Selena's brother and music producer A.B. Quintanilla III asked Ricky Vela, the lead keyboardist of Selena y Los Dinos, to transform the song into a Spanish-language cumbia.
 
cutiepie_jessy wrote:
This is HORRIBLE!!! Poor Selena, I wondering if her familiy knows they stole this song. Probably not, they would let this keep playing.
 


 cutiepie_jessy wrote:
This is HORRIBLE!!! Poor Selena, I wondering if her familiy knows they stole this song. Probably not, they would let this keep playing.
 
Wiki knows.....well sometimes reliable   

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fotos_Y_Recuerdos
kişniyor -> horsey whinning :) Just joking. Getting older takes too much from the voice i think. Thats the main problem.
what? this was originally done by Selena? Isn't it older than that originally? 
I don't like the original Pretenders of this song much and funny enough, though I usually do not enjoy live renditions, this I actually liked better lol!

cutiepie_jessy wrote:
This is HORRIBLE!!! Poor Selena, I wondering if her familiy knows they stole this song. Probably not, they would let this keep playing.
 


Loved the 12-string acoustic sound, but she lost me with the orchestration. Unfortunate because I wanted to like it. 3
This is HORRIBLE!!! Poor Selena, I wondering if her familiy knows they stole this song. Probably not, they would let this keep playing.
No. Chrissie, what made you of putting strings to a poor acoustic version of this very good song?
 Sasha2001 wrote:
There's just not a bad version of this song. I don't think perfect songs like this can be made to sound bad, only less perfect.
 
Ummm...  no.  This is BAD.
OMG ?!?!?!  Really ?!?!?!

Just because something has nostalgia doesn't mean that we should slow it down and add strings!  this isn't clever re-envisioning, just shlockey & hokey!

I can't think of anything I'd like to hear LESS than this version of this song again. 

Shame on you, Chrissie...{#Crashcomp}


She can do no wrong.

There's just not a bad version of this song. I don't think perfect songs like this can be made to sound bad, only less perfect.
Still has that pain in her voice.....8..
Great song, bad version
Wonderful, mature version.
 steventylersqa wrote:
The peeps in my time share condo like this song a lot, makes us sleepy too.
 
We agree...  love this marvelous song...

 
The peeps in my time share condo like this song a lot, makes us sleepy too.
 MiracleDrug wrote:


no that just means the state-controlled media was able to foist a full blown socialist ideologue on a half-asleep populace...
 
Oh, Lord... even RP isn't safe. Why doesn't Fox news start a music streaming site? {#Drunk}
SOOOOOOO bored of this......
 Hannio wrote:


But then we elected Obama!  So that makes up for it, right?.......Right??
 
We have a lot farther to go to make up for that 8 years....


Everybody in my hotel room loves this live version...  this song is soooo good...

 
not a fan of this version, the other is much better.  she sounds awful...
I saw her a year or so ago, and, near the end of a great show, made my way from my seat right up to the front of the stage, standing with a horde of others, most of whom were much younjger.  As I was trying to position myself to be as close to Chrissie as possible and within her direct line of vision, I was elbowed aside by a couple of teenage girls. 

Missed my opportunity. Again.   

 Alexandra wrote:
I actually like the studio version better than this. She kind of sounds like a bleating sheep on this one....but I love ya Chrissie.
 
Me, too.

This is a great album to play from beginning to end.  In the context of the album, its really great.
First time I ever this version. I like it better than the album cut.
 Hannio wrote:


But then we elected Obama!  So that makes up for it, right?.......Right??
 

no that just means the state-controlled media was able to foist a full blown socialist ideologue on a half-asleep populace...
Do the Pretenders only have 2 songs?

Brass In Pocket being the other......
man this is overdone 
 Krispian wrote:
Anyone know who's singing backup on this one?
 
I am.

No. . .wait. . . you mean on the record.


I'll dance to this...

 
 meloman wrote:

Oh please! Ratings distribution my ass. Don't resort to the "wisdom of the masses" argument. The Americans elected Bush TWICE! Need I say more?
 

But then we elected Obama!  So that makes up for it, right?.......Right??
 johnjconn wrote:

With a spoon?

 

No need for the spoon.  This song does it all by itself.
Anyone know who's singing backup on this one?
An excellent interpretation of her own song.

I love the slow delivery. Very effective. 
I actually like the studio version better than this. She kind of sounds like a bleating sheep on this one....but I love ya Chrissie.
 rjewyo wrote:
Better than the original cut ....Thanks Bill  {#Hearteyes}
 

Totally agree.  This song reminds me of a great time in my life from a great CD.  Merci.  {#Dance}
Better than the original cut ....Thanks Bill  {#Hearteyes}
This is another fantastic version of a classic to start with!

{#Notworthy}

Yes!!!!


The syrupy sweetness of this arrangement makes me gag.
what a voice!!!!! 
Big improvement on the original version, so much warmer played acoustic, but maybe I'm just getting old and fuddy duddy
I usually don't see the point in playing live versions (if they are so good, why have a studio recording at all?).  I like it in this case though, sounds different and oddly improved.
i love this album - the film of the performance is excellent (i especially love the punk string quartet). chrissie has such an amazing voice, and amazing songwriting skills, and this arrangement builds so wonderfully.
Arghh! Even in this slow version she speeds up the "chain gang" part of the chorus. I don't know why she feels like she has to speed it up from the original pace which I think was one of the most perfect rock songs. I genuinely like this version except for that, but that kills it for me.

 daigoro wrote:
You can get off your high horse any time now. Like the leaders of Europe have been so great? You had a few bad ones in the 20th century as I recall. Being from Poland, you should know better than anyone.
 
I'm always a big fan of the "At least he wasn't as bad as Hitler" defense of Bush. Really keeps things in perspective.

More in keeping with the theme of this place, I do like this version. Not as much as the original, but the feeling of resignation (as noted by someone else) does add to the feeling of the song. A nice variation on a great song.

And as for lamenting Chrissie's lack of "balls," may I say she's lost more balls than you've ever had. Harrumph!
 Ecocruiser wrote:
I gave it a 10 because it's a great song and I REALLY love the 12 string sound.
 

Yeah, the guitar work is niiiice.
I like to look at lyrics in the harsh light of reality.

This one sounds like someone had to finally get a job.

 
The ghost of Chrissie Past is staring in wide eyed horror at what she has become.
 OmegaConcern wrote:
Bill - could you follow this up w/some Concrete Blonde, maybe show Chrissie how it's done?
 
You're joking, right?

There's a bit of resignation in the sound of this version. I like it. {#Sunny}
 crockydile wrote:
Nice reinterpretation.
  Yes, like the Angel version 2 songs ago, hearing it for the first time again.  so to speak.


I liked it better when Chrissy had balls.  So to speak.
Nice reinterpretation.
 meloman wrote:

Oh please! Ratings distribution my ass. Don't resort to the "wisdom of the masses" argument. The Americans elected Bush TWICE! Need I say more?
 
You can get off your high horse any time now. Like the leaders of Europe have been so great? You had a few bad ones in the 20th century as I recall. Being from Poland, you should know better than anyone. I understand you may not be comfortable with the pros and cons of the masses having a vote at all, since you've only had a democracy for about 20 years.

Aren't you bored talking about Bush yet?

I gave it a 10 because it's a great song and I REALLY love the 12 string sound.
 jenakle wrote:
this what a song sounds like after singing it 1000s of times and the original vitality and passion is nearly forgotten with the misuse still a great song LOL
 
 I think you missed the subtlety of perfection.


 lawman wrote:

If you don't like music, and if you don't like the sound of Humanity singing in a wonderful voice ...why are you listening to Radio Paradise?

  Lighten up.
 meloman wrote:

Oh please! Ratings distribution my ass. Don't resort to the "wisdom of the masses" argument. The Americans elected Bush TWICE! Need I say more?
 

actually the "masses of Americans" did NOT vote Mr. George W. Bush president. Mr Bush was clever enough to win the states with the highest number electoral college votes, the actual popular vote was very close, indeed. a razor's edge so to speak. if it was not for gore's inability to carry his home state, and those geriatric voters in FL, (that still stinks to high heaven, BTW) we would never have seen him, and the world would be a far different place.
OmegaConcern wrote:
Mmmm...this sure is a swill take on this song!
(ugh...moves to 1, only becuase there is no zero.)

If you don't like music, and if you don't like the sound of Humanity singing in a wonderful voice ...why are you listening to Radio Paradise?

Mmmm...this sure is a swill take on this song!
(ugh...moves to 1, only becuase there is no zero.)

Bill - could you follow this up w/some Concrete Blonde, maybe show Chrissie how it's done?

 jenakle wrote:
this what a song sounds like after singing it 1000s of times and the original vitality and passion is nearly forgotten with the misuse
 
Exactly.


Why, when the studio version is so great?
so nice! this voice is unique & I love it that you play it Bill!
{#Notworthy}
 Isobel wrote:
Nuh uh. This sucks all the life out of an amazing song. And yes, Chrissy is a Goddess of Rock.
 
Ditto to both points.

The original version is really much better, but this is an interesting take.
please stop playing this.  her voice is seriously annoying.
Chrissie is the very best!!
 Arianrhod wrote:
OmegaConcern wrote:
The original version was lukewarm. This version has congealed. I second the second statement.
 
Third the second. Dunno what I was thinking when I gave it an 8 originally. The original is an 8. This is 6.

great , this live version
Chrissie  is the best !!

 

well, it is not easy to be indifferent to the cutting and insinuate voice of ms. Christine Ellen Hynde - ** 7 **