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The Pretenders — Middle Of The Road
Album: The Singles
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 3226









Released: 1981
Length: 4:10
Plays (last 30 days): 0
In the middle of the road,
Is trying to find me.
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pains behind me.
But, I got a smile
For everyone I meet.
Long as you don't try dragging my bay,
Or dropping a bomb on the street.
Come on baby,
Get in the road.
Come on now,
In the middle of the road, yeah.
In the middle of the road,
You see the darnest things.
Like fat cats driving around in jeeps through the city,
Wearing big diamond rings and silk suits.
Past corrugated tin shacks holed up with kids and
Man I don't mean a Hampstead nursery.
But when you own a big chunk of the bloody third world,
The babies just come with the scenery.
Come on baby,
Get in the road.
Come on now,
In the middle of the road, yeah.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.
In the middle of the road,
Is my private cul de sac.
I can't get from the cab to the curb,
Without some little jerk on my back,
Don't harass me kid,
Can't you tell I'm going home, I'm tired as hell,
I'm not the cat I used to be,
I've got a kid, I'm thirty-three baby.
Get in the road.
Come on now,
In the middle of the road.
Comments (356)add comment
I credit RP for expanding my musical appreciation of the Pretenders, I knew their main radio hits but I really dig more their tightness and experimentation, their social commentary etc 
 Brooklyn_Carey wrote:

Official lyrics are PAST behind me, but I had always thought it was PANTS, which is funnier and more emotionally true. But it's her song, and that's her lyric. thepretenders.com


apparently, someone did enquire
 ziggytrix wrote:

I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.


Plans.  Still think someone should just ask her.
Love the cat just before the harmonica.
 Brooklyn_Carey wrote:

Official lyrics are PAST behind me, but I had always thought it was PANTS, which is funnier and more emotionally true. But it's her song, and that's her lyric. thepretenders.com



Past, not pants. Freud would have had to say something.  
One of my favorite bridges. I love that in the eighties there emerged so many unique sounding, great sounding, bands. Yeah.

I hope that someday we get back to the middle of the road, while there still is a road.
Bill, you always get a bit rebellious on late Sunday night.  The Pretenders: Middle of the Road; The Clash: Clampdown!  Nothing like anarchy on a Sunday night!  RIGHT!
I'm listening to her beautiful rockin voice since I am 13.
Hypnotic and never boring!
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."



funny, I always thought she was using the word "past".
GREAT!!!
I wonder if that little vocal gymnastics before the final solo is a cat getting run over, in the middle of the road.

It's a cool song musically, lyrically. If you are in the middle of the road, you see the the extremes of society in a different light.
I say "plans".   Why doesn't somebody just ask her?
This is such a good song. One of their best. It still kicks after all these years. Some songs don't age well. This is clearly not the case here. 
Great segue into this from Let It Roll. Nicely done, Bill.
 UncleRemus wrote:
"I can't get from my cab to the curb without some little jerk on my back. When you own a big chunk of the bloody third world, the beggars just come with the scenery." Someone once commented on the lack of musical variety and creativity in the 80's. Whenever I hear that, I just mention the Pretenders.


I thought it was babies that come with the scenery.  I'll listen more closely next time around.
They opened for The Who in April of '80. Both bands blew us all away. Chrissie Hynde definitely has THE WORLD'S SEXIEST SNARL
I like the basslines of this song and predecessor LET IT ROLL by Little Feat veeeeeeeerry much!
I used to play this song in a cover band. I realize now I wasn't even close to getting lyrics right.
Owe my god - she is so frickin amazing
Is Chrissie Hynde a Romantic with the heart of a Rocker? Or is she a Rocker with the heart of a Romantic?

I can't decide which because it totally depends on the song I'm hearing. This one? Rocker w/ a Romantic heart. Totally.
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."

She's just left a French bakery without her bread.
one of the very few 80s bands that wasn't embarrassing itself. 
 Montreal_Mort wrote:

* incarnate



I don't think the heroin consumption was proportional, but I could be dead, so what do I know?
* incarnate
She is Keef uncarnate
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."

In my mind I always sang it as 'my past behind me'.


YEEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!
Official lyrics are PAST behind me, but I had always thought it was PANTS, which is funnier and more emotionally true. But it's her song, and that's her lyric. thepretenders.com
"Standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
Killer classic!  Love that growl/purr!
Goosepimples. 10.  Amen.
Nice restaurant she owned there (Akron) - on my visit you could order a pint of latte .... a little much to guzzle but generous though 
I love This band and This girl from Akron, OH. 
 jelgator wrote:
 jvalatka wrote:

It's actually "I"m standing in the middle of life with my plants behind me".  Not many people realize she used to be a horticulturalist before going full-time in music.
;) ;)


 
I thought it was 'pants.'

 

I want to give this an 11!!!!
Where’s “brrr! nyow!”?
 jvalatka wrote:

It's actually "I"m standing in the middle of life with my plants behind me".  Not many people realize she used to be a horticulturalist before going full-time in music.
;) ;)


 


 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
 

See I always heard it as "my plans behind me..."  Live and learn and RP!  
I hear it as "with my plans behind me" which fits as a lament of times past better than "pains". With the "I'm tired as hell, I'm not the cat I used to be, I've got a kid, I'm thirty three" later, it doesn't really sound like someone who would feel their pains are behind them.
 ziggytrix wrote:
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
 
That's what I always thought she said!

 jkamm14 wrote:

I always thought it was "past" but now all I can hear is "pants"!
 
It's actually "I"m standing in the middle of life with my plants behind me".  Not many people realize she used to be a horticulturalist before going full-time in music.
;) ;)

One of my favorite Pretenders tracks. 
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
 
Hell, I thought it was "parents" for the longest time... 
Gotta love Chrissy! Chick rock. After hearing and skipping Lucinda Williams this got me going!
Having been a fan of Chrissie and the Pretenders through all their incarnations, this album was a heluva reaffirmation of her kickassitude when it came out!
 1wolfy wrote:
{#Yes} Essbee wrote:
This song was GREAT the first 726,382,193 times I heard it.
 


 Still good, you've just crossed the road I guess.

 ziggytrix wrote:
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
 
Words I try to live by 
 olivertwist wrote:

 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
 
I always thought it was "past" but now all I can hear is "pants"!
 superfido wrote:
I sure like this song a lot more now than I did when it was massively overplayed while I was in upper grade school.

{#Tongue}I'm not sure that's possible -- to overplay it I mean. But I guess i've never reached that point.  ;-)
 

 Ihatethissong wrote:
For a long time I thought she sang, "I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
 
And "Without some little jerk in my bath" 


More cat impressions Please!
 bc wrote:

Hm.  I always thought it was "past".
I'm not sure I trust this site's lyrics 100%.
 
I believe the lyric is actually "with my plans behind me".
 Ihatethissong wrote:
For a long time I thought she sang, "I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
 
Hm.  I always thought it was "past".
I'm not sure I trust this site's lyrics 100%.
 ziggytrix wrote:

 

Prrrr meOW!! Great

For a long time I thought she sang, "I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me."
turn it up!
 ckcotton wrote:
Soooooo tired of this

 
hear hear!
 ziggytrix wrote:
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
 
 {#Lol} She does pronounce it as "pants" rather than "pains."
I'm standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me.
Love Chrissie!  And the Pretenders!!
Why did I give this a nine.  Silly boy.  10 at least.  My apologies.
And school of drumming, too.{#Drummer}
Classic song from a classic album {#Bananajam}
There are reasons this still kicks ass after so long... Her delivery in this is priceless. The guitar is frenetic. The percussion is fluid. Rock!

I was so lucky and blessed to see them open for The Who in the spring of 1980; (the tour that was nearly derailed by tragedy in Ohio).
 gwyllwm wrote:
Yes, I would. Anywhere, any time.

 
Good to see that the PC police aren't around...{#High-five} 
 markybx wrote:

Definitely

She rocks

 


 ckcotton wrote:
Soooooo tired of this

 
That is some weak snark. 

Or... to quote the French, "Votre grossièreté est faible".
 ckcotton wrote:
Soooooo tired of this

 

Take a rest. You must be weary from typing such a long sooooooooooooooooooooooo, 
Soooooo tired of this
every time I hear the intro, I am tricked into thinking it is the intro to this song:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/LoF_a0-7xVQ
Wicked !
Tomorrow night in Sac town!
 elutz wrote:
Chrissie {#Dance}{#Heartkiss}

 
She rocks
Chrissie {#Dance}{#Heartkiss}
 raenvald wrote:

What he said.

Just when I think I am ready to be tired of the first three Pretenders albums, and it just doesn't happen. Chrissie never disappoints!

 
Try some of the later ones. 

I heard Boots of Chinese Plastic on a rerun of Breaking Bad the other day.  Great tune off their last disc.  Also, RP is running a couple of tracks off of Chrissie's last album that are quite good. 

These folks have not run out of gas as time passes.
 ottovonb wrote:
Wow…after all these years…still…wow!
 

 
What he said.

Just when I think I am ready to be tired of the first three Pretenders albums, and it just doesn't happen. Chrissie never disappoints!
Akron's finest!!
Yes, I would. Anywhere, any time.
Wow…after all these years…still…wow!
 
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:

I just came here to say that. Pains. Turns out it's pains.

 
I thought it was parents.
 Lindo525 wrote:
Standin' in the middle of life with my pants behind me. (Recurring nightmare)

 
Today, for the first time ever, I "heard" this line without prompting. I'm still laughing!

(CCR: "Heading down to Memphis on a minibike ride ...") 
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
I just came here to say that. Pains. Turns out it's pains.
 
Got me to looking at the lyrics. A great message here. Way back when. Too bad it didn't take.
Still. Kicks. Ass.
 Lindo525 wrote:
Standin' in the middle of life with my pants behind me. (Recurring nightmare)
 
I just came here to say that. Pains. Turns out it's pains.
the growl to that harmonica. ..still awesome! 
Standin' in the middle of life with my pants behind me. (Recurring nightmare)

I used to dance my ass off to this song! Not so much any more - (But I'm still dancing on the inside!!) 
Bangin'.  I love this stuff.  Thanks RP.
This following Joan Osbourne totally killed my auditory boner from Airborne Toxic Event. It's so far from where we were just 7 and a half minutes ago. RP on shuffle tonight?
Well, now she's almost 63 instead of 33.  But still rockin"  Stockholm is a very good recording, imo.
This song is a classic.
Middle of the road. That is what it is. Mediocre.
Motor City Roller Rink 1980 - a great show.  Too bad 3.4 of the band is dead.
 Stingray wrote:
Marry me, Chrissie. I do not mind that you must be already 77!

 
she's 62 says wikipedia.
This song was presented in late 80"s on the disc ""Greenpeace"" along with different groups of that era  .. Martin Stephenson, Daintres " All the humble heart song, another pearl from the album,also R.e.ÐŒ.., and others)

Seeing the Pretenders in 1984 on the Learning to Crawl tour was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Even if my girlfriend wouldn't fly in for the show and I had to sell the extra ticket at a loss, I did not care. 

Still one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Ahh Youth!


So I saw the Pretenders on live from the artists den last weekend, and I'm wondering if Bill did too, because I swear, this is like the 3rd time I've heard them today.
The sound of my youth. I love it.

So, the running theme of the last three songs (Metric, Smiths, Pretenders) was annoying "wooo wooo wooo"-ing? 
 ottojschlosser wrote:
There is nothing like this drum intro — one of those songs that you recognize 3 seconds in. Always happy to hear this.

 
For a moment I thought it was institutionalized by suicidal tendencies...
Marry me, Chrissie. I do not mind that you must be already 77!
Well, shoot. I always thought she was standing in the road with her pants behind her. My bad.
 zanref wrote:
Not sure why but I can't stand this masculine voice with russian accent....

 
{#Stupid}
annoying.
 "i'm standing in the middle of the road, with my pants behind me." i swear she says that.
Well, depending on where YOU are in the road, this could be way out there, or at your right hand.

Me?  I meander all over the road, and this is OUTSTANDING!!!    {#Dancingbanana} 
 Moak wrote:
It just hit me now...this could be the best rock n' roll tune ever written.

 
 It's more in the middle of the road for me.
It just hit me now...this could be the best rock n' roll tune ever written.
 redmachine wrote:
How ironic.
It's called 'middle of the road'.
perfect name for it.

 

{#High-five}
 rockpommel16 wrote:
.......crazy..........................smiley..............................

  Rock on Rockpommel !!!

Not my favorite Pretenders tune...but then again...it's Ms. Hynde...good stuff.
Alf!
"When you own a big chunk of the bloody third world, the babies just come with the scenery." 

Whoosh!  One of the better political statements I've ever heard in a song.  Must be the underlying refrain of every oligarch and plutocrat out there these days, eh?

So it goes.

Highlow
American Net'Zen
 toomanyollys wrote:
Just looked up the lyrics and was very disappointed to see it's not "...standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me"... 
 

I always thought that was a better line too.
{#Angel}
Just looked up the lyrics and was very disappointed to see it's not "...standing in the middle of life with my pants behind me"... 
There is nothing like this drum intro — one of those songs that you recognize 3 seconds in. Always happy to hear this.
Election day!
middle of the road indeed
meet the new boss.... 
.......crazy..........................smiley..............................
Not sure why but I can't stand this masculine voice with russian accent....