In honor of James Honeyman-Scott

By Pat Prince

There are certain musicians who bring you joy just by thinking of them.

For me, James Honeyman-Scott is one of those musicians. His presence in the Pretenders reminds me of some of the best punk pop (hell, music in general) ever written and recorded.

And today, June 16th, sadly marks the 28th-year anniversary of his death. He was only 25 at the time, and the cause of death was the pandemic of the rock musician, the drug overdose. Ironically, his death was two days after the band’s dismissal of bassist Pete Farndon for substance abuse. And one can only imagine what Honeyman-Scott’s creativity would have brought us if he were still alive.

“Jimmy,” as he was known to his fellow members of the Pretenders, was often overlooked by many in the mainstream. Yet, Honeyman-Scott was a significant part of what made The Pretenders’ sound so great. The overall melodic attitude of his guitar parts were a compliment to Chrissie Hynde’s always-wonderful vocal snarl.

He was also one of the main songwriters of the band. If your love for The Pretenders’ sticks with the first two albums, then a good deal of your appreciation must go to Honeyman-Scott’s contributions.

One of my favorite guitar leads in rock music is the short n’ sweet one in “Kid.” well-positioned in the song, fleeting, like the beautiful experiences of  youth.

When I pop the first Pretenders’ album on my turntable tonight, in honor of James Honeyman-Scott, it will be like popping open a cold beer after a hard day’s work and tilting it in appreciation towards a friend.

This one’s for you, Jimmy.

One thought on “In honor of James Honeyman-Scott

  1. For the short time he was on this planet and active in the development of popular music the images that exist of him like his posturing in the Tatooed Love Boys video are synomomious with the late 70s/early 80s and the advent and golen age of MTV music television.

    As a musician his contributions to The Pretenders helped define the entire post punk new wave movement while cementing The Pretenders in rock music and allowing Chrissie Hynde to grow with her career. She owes alot to him and her other fallen bandmate Pete Farndon.

    He is perhaps one of the most tragic stories in rock in that he died at such a yound age and never really got a chance to live along life and show the world all the other great music that was still in him. Honeyman Scott simply was sucked in and devoured by the rock n’ roll lifestyle.

    It is clear that a Behind the Music doc on the Pretenders is needed and that both Jimmy and Pete need the discussion and examination that they sooooo sorely deserve.

    RIP – Jimmy and Pete

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