|"Brass in Pocket"|
|Single by The Pretenders|
|from the album Pretenders|
|B-side||"Swinging London" / "Nervous But Shy"|
|Genre||Rock, New Wave, alternative rock|
|Label||Real, Sire (US)|
|Writer(s)||Chrissie Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott|
|The Pretenders singles chronology|
The band's third single was their first success, scoring number one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in January 1980 (making it the first number-one single of the 1980s), number one in Australia during May 1980, and number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The song takes its title from an expression Hynde heard from a member of Strangeways a Yorkshire-based support band who was looking for his money ("brass", meaning money).
During an interview with The Observer in 2004, Hynde revealed that she was initially reluctant to have the song released: "When we recorded the song I wasn't very happy with it and told my producer that he could release it over my dead body, but they eventually persuaded me."
In the accompanying music video for the single, Hynde portrays a waitress working in a greasy spoon who encounters a sleepy customer. She suddenly sees three men (her band members) approaching in a car outside. Hynde attempts to look elegant upon their entrance and flirts with one of the men (Pete Farndon) after they have been seated. Pete does not respond to her overtures. Suddenly, three seductively dressed women (the men's girlfriends) enter the greasy spoon, sit at the men's table and begin to kiss their boyfriends. Farndon's girlfriend is not impressed when he appears to respond to Chrissie's flirting. Suddenly, the couples decide to leave the café without eating. Hynde is saddened and watches them outside leaving in their car.
It was the seventh video played during MTV's launch on 1 August 1981.
The song has been covered by Nazareth, Suede (for NME's charity compilation Ruby Trax), Kelis (for the soundtrack to the 2005 film Just Like Heaven), Ashlee Simpson (during concert performances), Ultra Naté, Ted Leo (during WFMU's 2007 fundraising drive), and Alaina Alexander (on American Idol 6 Top 20 night), amongst others.
On May 2012, Chihiro Onitsuka released a cover album FAMOUS MICROPHONE including the cover of this song.
Uses in popular culture
"Brass in Pocket" was used in the background of several commercials as part of an advertising campaign by National City Bank during the late 1990s-early 2000s. The Pretenders lead singer Chrissie Hynde is a native of Akron, Ohio, while National City was based in nearby Cleveland.
The song was covered by the character Dora Winifred "D.W." Read of Arthur as "D.W.'s Brass in Pocket" on the 2001 album Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix.
In Australia around 2006, "Brass in Pocket" was used to inspire an advertisement for Kellogg Company's Special K. The song has a distinctive "call and response" bridge where Chrissie Hynde sings "I'm special (so special)/I gotta have some of your attention, give it to me."
In episode 5 of season 2 of The Greatest American Hero, Ralph Hinkley's students form a rock band and perform "Brass in Pocket" at a concert.