Peter Farndon (OH 1963 - 1970)
19/09/2012
b. 12 June 1952 d. 14 April 1983

Always known as Pete by his fellow musicians and friends, he was a bass guitarist and founding member of the rock band The Pretenders. In addition to playing bass with the group, Farndon sang backup vocals and co-wrote two of the group's songs called "The Wait" and "Space Invader". He left the group on 14 June 1982.

Farndon had always shown a keen interest in rock music. After leaving HCS Pete took up several temporary jobs before eventually entering the music business full time. Pete initially played professionally with a group called Cold River Lady until the summer of 1976, and then toured with Australian folk rock band The Bushwackers prior to joining the Pretenders in 1978. Farndon's musical influences included Stanley Clarke and Jeff Beck (Rhino Entertainment Group, 2006).

P F was the first member of the 1978-82 Pretenders lineup having been recruited by Chrissie Hynde. He recalled their first rehearsal: "I'll never forget it, we go in, we do a soul number, we do a country and western number, and then we did ' The Phone Call ' which is one of the heaviest punk rock tunes you could do in 5/4 time. I was very impressed." Another guitarist was still needed so Farndon recruited lead guitarist James Honeyman-Scott into the group that summer.

Farndon played a large role in shaping the Pretenders' tough image, often wearing his biker clothing or samurai gear on stage. Hynde later acknowledged that two Pretenders' songs, "Biker" and "Samurai" had "references to a Pete Farndon type of character “ As a performer, Hynde recalled that "Pete was fantastic. Pete was blagging it a lot because technically he wasn't any kind of great musician. But he had real heart, like in boxing terms, he could win the fight on heart alone. And he had a great energy, borne of a kind of desperation."

Farndon's distinctive bass guitars also played a role in shaping his image and included a Fender precision bass, a Rickenbacker and at least three Hamer guitars. The first Hamer was a double cutaway model in 1950’s pink. Later Farndon switched to the Hamer 'Cruisebass' model, including one with a distinctive Japanese "Rising Sun" battle flag graphic.

By 1982, Farndon caused increasingly strained relations with his bandmates and was fired in June of that year. By the spring of the following year, he was in the midst of forming a new band with former Clash drummer Topper Headon when he was sadly found dead at home by his American wife Conover. He had apparently passed out whilst taking a bath and later drowned.

Peter Farndon is buried at St. Peter's Church, Withington in Herefordshire.
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