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.