It’s a little ironic or at least coincidental that Chrissie Hynde, of Pretenders fame, has made a publishing deal for her songs on the same say more or less that Diana Rigg passed away.
The two are inescapably tied together in history thanks to the Pretenders video of their hit, “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” which interspersed clips of Rigg from “The Avengers” TV show of the 1960s with Hynde playing her in modern (1986) times.
“Don’t Get Me Wrong” is one of the jewels in the Hynde songwriting catalog that will now be published by Merck Mercuriadis‘s rapidly expanding Hipgnosis Music. There are 164 songs in the deal including “Brass in Pocket,” “Back on the Chain Gang,” “Talk of the Town,” “Middle of the Road,” “My Baby,” “Precious,” “The Wait,” “Tattooed Love Boys,” and what has to be the stand out publishing-wise, “I’ll Stand by You.” The latter song, a ballad quite different than Hynde’s ferocious rockers and tongue in cheek ripostes, is covered over and over, Muzaked and repurposed in dozens of forms. Hynde may slag it publicly, but that song is her cash cow.
Mercuriadis’s company is called Hipgnosis, and he’s certainly hypnotized the music publishing world. In the last year he’s signed Taylor Swift, her collaborator Jack Antonoff, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, Barry Manilow, Rodney Jerkins, Mark Ronson, plus Jeff Bhasker, the guy who writes the Harry Styles hits.
In a statement, Mercuriadis said he became a vegetarian because of Hynde. (He’s very Larry Tate to get a client.) He said: “This is very personal for me. Chrissie is one of my favorite songwriters of all time and The Pretenders are one of my favorite bands of all time. Her importance cannot be overestimated and she has been a powerful role model for women and men all over the globe for 40 years.”
The Hipgnosis deal covers all of Hynde’s songs including the new album, “Hate for Sale,” which BMG Records dumped unceremoniously this past July. Maybe Merck can get that album relaunched. It’s sold a grand total of 7,600 copies since July 17th according to Buzz Angle. Last week it sold 227 copies.
PS A shout out to Seymour Stein who signed the Pretenders way back in 1979 to his Sire Records and ushered them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as he did with the Ramones, Talking Heads, and Madonna.