Who could forget the rousing "woo-hooa-a-hooas" that helped define the Pretenders' 1984 smash hit "Middle of the Road"? In a decade that saw synthesizer-oriented pop music arriving on U.S. soil from England, singer/guitarist Chrissie Hynde and bandmates tear it up on this classic example of pure, unadulterated rock music. The Pretenders' offering successfully maintains a formulaic rock pattern, with drums that beat on at a driving frenetic 4/4 pace and guitar riffs that induce foot stomping by the most conservative crowd. By the time the harmonica solo kicks in toward the track's end, "Middle of the Road" has worked itself up into such a musical romp that it challenges anyone to remain sitting down. There is no technical or instrumental trickery to be found here, no "secret sauce"; the song is very much in your face. Its rollicking music and lyrics that paint a picture of a journey make anyone want to hop into the car and take off for the open road. "Middle of the road, is trying to find me/ I'm standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me." You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't identify with that sentiment. The Pretenders zeroed in on one of humankind's most basic, secret desire — to get up and go — and backed it with an equally driven musical arrangement. And that's what makes this recording a timeless classic.
from Learning To Crawl (Sire 2-23980), available on CD