3 Songs You Didn’t Know Chrissie Hynde Wrote for Other Artists

Within five years of moving from her hometown of Akron, Ohio to London, England in 1973, Chrissie Hynde formed the Pretenders, which she named after Sam Cooke’s cover of The Platters” 1955 hit “The Great Pretender,” and has remained the band’s primary songwriter throughout its four-decade-plus history.

Hynde wrote through the Pretenders’ 1979 self-titled debut and early hits “Kid” and “Brass in Pocket” and into Pretenders II in 1981 and “Talk of the Town” and “Message of Love.” By the ’80s, the band hit another level with their third album Learning to Crawl and hit “Back on the Chain Gang” with Hynde’s songs carrying on decades through the Pretenders’ 2023 release Relentless.

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[RELATED: The London Punk Origins of The Pretenders]

Outside of the Pretenders, Hynde has also released three solo albums— Stockholm in 2014, Valve Bone Woe in 2019, and her 2021 release Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan—and her collaborations have also spanned work with former boyfriend The Kinks‘ Ray Davies, Frank Sinatra, Cher, Gloria Estefan, Emmylou Harris, John Cale, UB40, Incubus, and the Black Keys, among many others.

Here’s a look at three songs Hynde also wrote outside of her core catalog with the Pretenders for other artists.

1. “Rainsong,” Moodswings (1992)
Written by Chrissie Hynde

Moodfood is a 1992 album by Moodswings, the British duo made up of producer Grant Showbiz (The Smiths, Billy Bragg) and James F. T. Hood. Hynde appears on the track, along with songs “State of Independence Part II”—originally written and released by Jon and Vangelis on their 1981 album The Friends of Mr Cairo—and “Rainsong,” which she also wrote. The album also features guest appearances by Jeff Beck and Johnny Marr on guitars.

Caught in a rainstorm
Wondering what I must do
I’m standing alone
So many miles from you

I was thinking about our life together
Knowing it must be now or never
To get back to you
Now I’ve just got to get out of this rain

I can feel it washing my life away
And I know that I need to
Get out of this rain
And listen to my heart again

2. “Smelly Cat,” featured on Friends (1999)
Written by Chrissie Hynde, Lisa Kudrow, Adam Chase, and Betsy Borns

Friends writer Adam Chase initially came up with the song title, but when it came to writing the lyrics for the “Smelly Cat” episode, Lisa Kudrow took the reins with some help from Hynde.

In the episode, written by Betsy Borns, who is also credited as a co-writer of the song, Phoebe Buffay (Kudrow) is replaced at her regular gig at the Friends hangout The Central Perk by a professional musician named Stephanie Schiffer, played by Hynde. Phoebe later writes “Smelly Cat” as a kitty litter jingle, and even teaches Hynde how to play the song at The Central Perk.

[RELATED: Story Behind the Iconic Chrissie Hynde Co-Written ‘Friends’ Song “Smelly Cat”]

Kudrow and The Pretenders later recorded a longer version of “Smelly Cat” for the 1999 compilation album, Friends Again.

Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat,
What are they feeding you?
Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat,
It’s not your fault

They won’t take you to the vet
You’re obviously not their favorite pet
Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat,
It’s not your fault

You may not be a bed of roses
You’re not friend to those with noses
I’ll miss you before we’re done
Or the world will smell as one

3. “Kid2000,” Hybrid (2000)
Written by Chrissie Hynde

In 2000, Hynde penned “Kid2000” for British electronic duo Hybrid made up of Mike and Charlotte Truman. Also featuring Hynde on vocals, the duo performed the song for the soundtrack of 2000 British coming of age comedy Kevin & Perry Go Large.

What changed your mood?
You’ve gone all sad
So, I feel sad, too
I think, I know
Some things
You never outgrow

You think it’s wrong
I can tell you do
How can I explain?
You do not want me to

My only kid
You look so small
You’ve gone so quiet
I know you know
What I am about
I won’t deny it

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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