Six remarkable and unforgettable debut albums from the 1980s

Here’s a mix of debut albums from the 1980s and they were all remarkable records. 

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The Pretenders - Pretenders 

The Pretenders are one of those bands that are still very much going. Their latest album Relentless came out in September last year following a surprise set at Glastonbury in the summer with Dave Grohl and Johnny Marr making guest appearances. Tour dates in the UK for February and March have just been put back to October 2024 to allow lead band member Chrissie Hynde to recover from a recent knee injury.

This means it's hard to believe it was all the way back in January 1980, right at the start of the decade and forty-four years ago, that the band's debut album Pretenders was released. Hynde of course is integral to the band. She’s the only consistent member throughout as others have come and gone. 

Her punk rock roots will have helped influence the band, and this debut album significantly. Previous punk bands, jobs in the music media, and working in Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s shop kept her very close to that new scene.  Did you know she almost married both Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols in an attempt to secure a UK work permit? 

The debut album Pretenders is a classic, not just of its time. It's up there in the lists of top debut albums. It's crammed with great songs, lively guitars, punk, and new wave. 

There are hints of Blondie, The Police, and others in there. But Hynde and the band established their own rock style too. Top singles “Stop Your Sobbing” and “Brass In Pockets” haven't dated and still sound fresh and alive.  

The album was a commercial success with a UK number one and gold disc. Back home in the US it went platinum and up to ninth place in the US charts. Another enduring and very impressive debut album.