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The Pretenders — Middle Of The Road
Album: The Singles
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2613









Released: 1981
Length: 4:10
Plays (last 30 days): 3
In the middle of the road,
Is trying to find me.
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pains behind me.
But, I got a smile
For everyone I meet.
Long as you don't try dragging my bay,
Or dropping a bomb on the street.
Come on baby,
Get in the road.
Come on now,
In the middle of the road, yeah.
In the middle of the road,
You see the darnest things.
Like fat cats driving around in jeeps through the city,
Wearing big diamond rings and silk suits.
Past corrugated tin shacks holed up with kids and
Man I don't mean a Hampstead nursery.
But when you own a big chunk of the bloody third world,
The babies just come with the scenery.
Come on baby,
Get in the road.
Come on now,
In the middle of the road, yeah.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.
In the middle of the road,
Is my private cul de sac.
I can't get from the cab to the curb,
Without some little jerk on my back,
Don't harass me kid,
Can't you tell I'm going home, I'm tired as hell,
I'm not the cat I used to be,
I've got a kid, I'm thirty-three baby.
Get in the road.
Come on now,
In the middle of the road.
Comments (329)add comment
YEEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
Official lyrics are PAST behind me, but I had always thought it was PANTS, which is funnier and more emotionally true. But it's her song, and that's her lyric. thepretenders.com
"Standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
Killer classic!  Love that growl/purr!
Goosepimples. 10.  Amen.
Nice restaurant she owned there (Akron) - on my visit you could order a pint of latte .... a little much to guzzle but generous though 
I love This band and This girl from Akron, OH. 
 jelgator wrote:
 jvalatka wrote:

It's actually "I"m standing in the middle of life with my plants behind me".  Not many people realize she used to be a horticulturalist before going full-time in music.
;) ;)


 
I thought it was 'pants.'

 

I want to give this an 11!!!!
Where’s “brrr! nyow!”?
 jvalatka wrote:

It's actually "I"m standing in the middle of life with my plants behind me".  Not many people realize she used to be a horticulturalist before going full-time in music.
;) ;)


 


 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
 

See I always heard it as "my plans behind me..."  Live and learn and RP!  
I hear it as "with my plans behind me" which fits as a lament of times past better than "pains". With the "I'm tired as hell, I'm not the cat I used to be, I've got a kid, I'm thirty three" later, it doesn't really sound like someone who would feel their pains are behind them.
 ziggytrix wrote:
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
 
That's what I always thought she said!

 jkamm14 wrote:

I always thought it was "past" but now all I can hear is "pants"!
 
It's actually "I"m standing in the middle of life with my plants behind me".  Not many people realize she used to be a horticulturalist before going full-time in music.
;) ;)

One of my favorite Pretenders tracks. 
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
 
Hell, I thought it was "parents" for the longest time... 
Gotta love Chrissy! Chick rock. After hearing and skipping Lucinda Williams this got me going!
Having been a fan of Chrissie and the Pretenders through all their incarnations, this album was a heluva reaffirmation of her kickassitude when it came out!
 1wolfy wrote:
{#Yes} Essbee wrote:
This song was GREAT the first 726,382,193 times I heard it.
 


 Still good, you've just crossed the road I guess.

 ziggytrix wrote:
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
 
Words I try to live by 
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
 
I always thought it was "past" but now all I can hear is "pants"!
 superfido wrote:
I sure like this song a lot more now than I did when it was massively overplayed while I was in upper grade school.

{#Tongue}I'm not sure that's possible -- to overplay it I mean. But I guess i've never reached that point.  ;-)
 

 Ihatethissong wrote:
For a long time I thought she sang, "I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
 
And "Without some little jerk in my bath" 


More cat impressions Please!
 bc wrote:

Hm.  I always thought it was "past".
I'm not sure I trust this site's lyrics 100%.
 
I believe the lyric is actually "with my plans behind me".
 Ihatethissong wrote:
For a long time I thought she sang, "I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
 
Hm.  I always thought it was "past".
I'm not sure I trust this site's lyrics 100%.
 ziggytrix wrote:

 

Prrrr meOW!! Great

For a long time I thought she sang, "I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
turn it up!
 ckcotton wrote:
Soooooo tired of this

 
hear hear!
 ziggytrix wrote:
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
 
 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
Love Chrissie!  And the Pretenders!!
Why did I give this a nine.  Silly boy.  10 at least.  My apologies.
And school of drumming, too.{#Drummer}
Classic song from a classic album {#Bananajam}
There are reasons this still kicks ass after so long... Her delivery in this is priceless. The guitar is frenetic. The percussion is fluid. Rock!

I was so lucky and blessed to see them open for The Who in the spring of 1980; (the tour that was nearly derailed by tragedy in Ohio).
 gwyllwm wrote:
Yes, I would. Anywhere, any time.

 
Good to see that the PC police aren't around...{#High-five} 
 markybx wrote:

Definitely

She rocks

 


 ckcotton wrote:
Soooooo tired of this

 
That is some weak snark. 

Or... to quote the French, "Votre grossièreté est faible".
 ckcotton wrote:
Soooooo tired of this

 

Take a rest. You must be weary from typing such a long sooooooooooooooooooooooo, 
Soooooo tired of this
every time I hear the intro, I am tricked into thinking it is the intro to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LoF_a0-7xVQ
Wicked !
Tomorrow night in Sac town!
 elutz wrote:
Chrissie {#Dance}{#Heartkiss}

 
She rocks
Chrissie {#Dance}{#Heartkiss}
 raenvald wrote:

What he said.

Just when I think I am ready to be tired of the first three Pretenders albums, and it just doesn't happen. Chrissie never disappoints!

 
Try some of the later ones. 

I heard Boots of Chinese Plastic on a rerun of Breaking Bad the other day.  Great tune off their last disc.  Also, RP is running a couple of tracks off of Chrissie's last album that are quite good. 

These folks have not run out of gas as time passes.
 ottovonb wrote:
Wow…after all these years…still…wow!
 

 
What he said.

Just when I think I am ready to be tired of the first three Pretenders albums, and it just doesn't happen. Chrissie never disappoints!
Akron's finest!!
Yes, I would. Anywhere, any time.
Wow…after all these years…still…wow!
 
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:

I just came here to say that. Pains. Turns out it's pains.

 
I thought it was parents.
 Lindo525 wrote:
Standin' in the middle of life with my pants behind me. (Recurring nightmare)

 
Today, for the first time ever, I "heard" this line without prompting. I'm still laughing!

(CCR: "Heading down to Memphis on a minibike ride ...") 
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
I just came here to say that. Pains. Turns out it's pains.
 
Got me to looking at the lyrics. A great message here. Way back when. Too bad it didn't take.
Still. Kicks. Ass.
 Lindo525 wrote:
Standin' in the middle of life with my pants behind me. (Recurring nightmare)
 
I just came here to say that. Pains. Turns out it's pains.
the growl to that harmonica. ..still awesome! 
Standin' in the middle of life with my pants behind me. (Recurring nightmare)

I used to dance my ass off to this song! Not so much any more - (But I'm still dancing on the inside!!) 
Bangin'.  I love this stuff.  Thanks RP.
This following Joan Osbourne totally killed my auditory boner from Airborne Toxic Event. It's so far from where we were just 7 and a half minutes ago. RP on shuffle tonight?
Well, now she's almost 63 instead of 33.  But still rockin"  Stockholm is a very good recording, imo.
This song is a classic.
Middle of the road. That is what it is. Mediocre.
Motor City Roller Rink 1980 - a great show.  Too bad 3.4 of the band is dead.
 Stingray wrote:
Marry me, Chrissie. I do not mind that you must be already 77!

 
she's 62 says wikipedia.
This song was presented in late 80"s on the disc ""Greenpeace"" along with different groups of that era  .. Martin Stephenson, Daintres " All the humble heart song, another pearl from the album,also R.e.ÐŒ.., and others)

Seeing the Pretenders in 1984 on the Learning to Crawl tour was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Even if my girlfriend wouldn't fly in for the show and I had to sell the extra ticket at a loss, I did not care. 

Still one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Ahh Youth!


So I saw the Pretenders on live from the artists den last weekend, and I'm wondering if Bill did too, because I swear, this is like the 3rd time I've heard them today.
The sound of my youth. I love it.

So, the running theme of the last three songs (Metric, Smiths, Pretenders) was annoying "wooo wooo wooo"-ing? 
 ottojschlosser wrote:
There is nothing like this drum intro — one of those songs that you recognize 3 seconds in. Always happy to hear this.

 
For a moment I thought it was institutionalized by suicidal tendencies...
Marry me, Chrissie. I do not mind that you must be already 77!
Well, shoot. I always thought she was standing in the road with her pants behind her. My bad.
 zanref wrote:
Not sure why but I can't stand this masculine voice with russian accent....

 
{#Stupid}
annoying.
 "i'm standing in the middle of the road, with my pants behind me." i swear she says that.
Well, depending on where YOU are in the road, this could be way out there, or at your right hand.

Me?  I meander all over the road, and this is OUTSTANDING!!!    {#Dancingbanana} 
 Moak wrote:
It just hit me now...this could be the best rock n' roll tune ever written.

 
 It's more in the middle of the road for me.
It just hit me now...this could be the best rock n' roll tune ever written.
 redmachine wrote:
How ironic.
It's called 'middle of the road'.
perfect name for it.

 

{#High-five}
 rockpommel16 wrote:
.......crazy..........................smiley..............................

  Rock on Rockpommel !!!

Not my favorite Pretenders tune...but then again...it's Ms. Hynde...good stuff.
Alf!
"When you own a big chunk of the bloody third world, the babies just come with the scenery." 

Whoosh!  One of the better political statements I've ever heard in a song.  Must be the underlying refrain of every oligarch and plutocrat out there these days, eh?

So it goes.

Highlow
American Net'Zen
 toomanyollys wrote:
Just looked up the lyrics and was very disappointed to see it's not "...standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me"... 
 

I always thought that was a better line too.
{#Angel}
Just looked up the lyrics and was very disappointed to see it's not "...standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me"... 
There is nothing like this drum intro — one of those songs that you recognize 3 seconds in. Always happy to hear this.
Election day!
middle of the road indeed
meet the new boss.... 
.......crazy..........................smiley..............................
Not sure why but I can't stand this masculine voice with russian accent....
Smokin'! 120 proof straight neat rock and roll. 
Agree w/ all:  this is maybe their BEST rocker and it does cook.
this is rock and roll and a good singer!
This cut rocks so good we forgive them for all the drugs, insanity and star-turns.  At LEAST a 9.
{#Drummer}
 Boy_Wonder wrote:

I'm afraid James H-S had gone to the Great Gig in the Sky before this was recorded...  

Learning to Crawl
 is the Pretenders' third album, released in 1984 after a two-year hiatus, during which timeJames Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon both died of drug overdoses.

After Farndon's dismissal from the band and Honeyman-Scott's death, Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambersinitially recruited Rockpile's Billy Bremner and Big Country's Tony Butler to fill out a caretaker line-up of the band in 1982. Bremner played guitar and Butler played bass on the band's September 1982 single "Back on the Chain Gang/My City Was Gone", both sides of which were later included on Learning to Crawl. As the album sessions got under way, Bremner, The Rumour's Andrew Bodnar, and Paul Carrack (formerly of SqueezeAce and Roxy Music) played guitar, bass and piano respectively for the track "Thin Line Between Love and Hate".

Finally, Robbie McIntosh (guitar) and Malcolm Foster (bass) were recruited to join Hynde and Chambers, and the band was now officially a quartet. It was this line-up that recorded the majority of the tracks featured on Learning to Crawl.

The November 1983 single "2000 Miles/Fast or Slow (The Law's the Law)" was the newly reconstituted foursome's first release, followed shortly by the full Learning to Crawl album in January 1984.

 
And I'm afraid you're dead on—so to speak. One source credits Chambers with the opening and McIntosh with the solo (https://www.coffeerooms.com/bb/showthread.php?t=1432), although Honeyman-Scott's guitar work is found somewhere on the bloody record, 'cos he's credited in the liner notes. Even if it's not JHS, it's a hell of a record, and I'd give it a 10 if Howard the Duck played lead.
 lemmoth wrote:
One of their very best.  9 plus
 
Couldn't agree more - well said!
Driving, irresistible, unique.
One of their very best.  9 plus
Very informative. Was 2000 miles a tribute to the 'departed' members ?

I'm afraid James H-S had gone to the Great Gig in the Sky before this was recorded...  

Learning to Crawl
 is the Pretenders' third album, released in 1984 after a two-year hiatus, during which timeJames Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon both died of drug overdoses.

After Farndon's dismissal from the band and Honeyman-Scott's death, Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambersinitially recruited Rockpile's Billy Bremner and Big Country's Tony Butler to fill out a caretaker line-up of the band in 1982. Bremner played guitar and Butler played bass on the band's September 1982 single "Back on the Chain Gang/My City Was Gone", both sides of which were later included on Learning to Crawl. As the album sessions got under way, Bremner, The Rumour's Andrew Bodnar, and Paul Carrack (formerly of SqueezeAce and Roxy Music) played guitar, bass and piano respectively for the track "Thin Line Between Love and Hate".

Finally, Robbie McIntosh (guitar) and Malcolm Foster (bass) were recruited to join Hynde and Chambers, and the band was now officially a quartet. It was this line-up that recorded the majority of the tracks featured on Learning to Crawl.

The November 1983 single "2000 Miles/Fast or Slow (The Law's the Law)" was the newly reconstituted foursome's first release, followed shortly by the full Learning to Crawl album in January 1984.


8>9.... go Chrissie!!
 olivertwist wrote:
Good song, but as the opening notes played I immediately thought how I'd rather hear the great track "Mystery Achievement" from their first album — a song I've yet to hear on RP.
 
I love that song.  The whole first album in fact.  Lets hear more of it.
Maybe the perfect rock song, and James Honeyman-Scott to top it off. I thought for a time that "Honeyman" was a nickname 'cos his guitar work was so cool. Probably should have been.
 BikeCoachDave wrote:
How time flies,
in 5 years Chrissy will be able to sing, "I got a kid THATS 33, baby!"
 
... and she will still be HOT.  Sing it loud, girl!

30 years old and still worth listening to, yessirree
Good song, but as the opening notes played I immediately thought how I'd rather hear the great track "Mystery Achievement" from their first album — a song I've yet to hear on RP.
 MiracleDrug wrote:
if you've never seen this live...
you probably won't get it...
 
It was pretty nice live.  Got to see her here in her hometown opening for the B - 52's at Blossom.  Was a full length set, too.  Not the 45 minute opening act length.  A full 90 minutes.  Most wonderful, and so were the B's.

{#Wall}no more pretenders!!!!! please!!!!!
 kayc wrote:

And all this time I thought it was "hamster nursery"

 
{#Roflol}

Cute hamsters in a nursery

That bassline just made my afternoon good again.
Oooooh yes.
{#Dancingbanana_2}{#Motor}

Straight on kick-ass Rock and Roll — it hardly gets any better. At times the lead work sounds
like Mike Campbell's driving licks — and that is a good thing ... Keep em coming.. how some
folks can bitch about this Made in America driving rock, is beyond the pale.  


+2 for actually rocking in the 80's.   I mean compare this to the two that followed on RP today.

Go Go's - This Town
New Order - Blue Monday
8 for the vocal to harmonica fade end
 sirdroseph wrote:
This is probably in my top 50 great songs that I hope to never hear again.
 
I hate it when that happens.  
if you've never seen this live...
you probably won't get it...
This is probably in my top 50 great songs that I hope to never hear again.
How ironic.
It's called 'middle of the road'.
perfect name for it.