Morrissey has paid tribute to the Pretenders by covering their 1982 song “Back On The Chain Gang,” which would later appear on their 1984 record Learning to Crawl. The cover is part of Morrissey’s forthcoming vinyl reissue of 2017’s Low in High School, which is expected to be released on December 7. Morrissey is pretty loyal to the cover except for a couple mistakes, which he explained in an interview with Rolling Stone: “I didn’t ever see the lyrics correctly printed because I wanted to sing them as I had always thought they were, this is tricky with [Pretenders frontwoman] Chrissie [Hynde] because sometimes she’ll sing into a misty wobble. So, I decided to wobble also.”
Morrissey and Hynde have a close friendship, and she’s appeared on Morrissey records like “My Love Life” and “Shame Is The Name.” Morrissey said a deep reverence for her and the Pretenders that motivated him to make the cover. “I think the original can safely be counted as a pop classic, and as always with the Pretenders, of the brain as well as the loins,” he told Rolling Stone. “Chrissie is always ready to do something before anyone expects it, and for me that’s a well-developed artist.” In the video provided for the cover, Morrissey performs with a band in a mock-up of a ’60s-style musical program. Watch the video below.