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This year marks the 30th anniversary of the last studio recordings of the late James Honeyman Scott, a woefully underrated guitar player who helped create the iconic Pretenders sound. Jimmy Scott's 80s new-wave musical style was singular, but he respected his influences, which included Pete Townshend and the Punk Rock eruption of the late 70s. He acted as a subtle complement to the vocals of the legendary Chrissie Hynde, but it was his dynamism that Hynde acknowledged made the group's sound unique. In "Tattooed Love Boys," (Pretenders, 1980) Scott incorporates his signature "jingle-jangle" riffs, which are now commonplace, most notably in the anthems of U2. In the video, Scott pays homage to Townshend's "windmill," but the sound is all Scott. The depth and breadth of Scott's style is evinced clearly in the clean, almost plaintive, guitar lines that accompany the verses and chorus of "Jealous Dogs," (Pretenders II, 1981), By the coda, however, Scott's magisterial, propulsive lead would make Joe Walsh proud. The Honeyman Scott canon consists of two albums and an EP. A year after their release, he would be dead--heart failure attributed to cocaine abuse. Listen to the almost forgotten gem of that EP, "Porcelain," for James Honeyman Scott at his finest. Time to raise a glass to this sorely missed artist. Add his gems to your iPod and check out the videos on YouTube.

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