The Virtual Musical Advent Calendar, December 14: 2000 Miles
A quick note: For the next two days I’m working on a long-form piece on the historical War on Christmas, and since I also have family in town my time is somewhat limited. So I’m rearranging my Advent Calendar playlist so that through Monday I can post those songs that have less interesting histories to delve into.
Today’s selection is Chrissie Hynde’s 2000 Miles.
The piece was originally recorded by Hynde’s Pretenders as a single in 1983. Along with their hit Back on the Chain Gain, 2000 Miles was written as part of Hynde’s process of mourning James Honeyman-Scott, the band’s guitarist who died of a drug overdose the previous year. The songs titular distance doesn’t actually describe the physical mileage separating two lovers, as many mistakenly believe, but rather the unfathomable chasm between ourselves and those loved ones who have gone before us.
Quite a few artists have covered the song, including KT Tunstall, Coldpay, Lissie, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. But to my mind the best version of the song by far is a cover by the Pretenders themselves. Recoded for the album Isle of View, it’s a live acoustic performance that features an accompanying string quartet.
 Confession: I had owned and listened to Isle of View for about a year when, one day while I was making dinner, my wife asked me what I was listening to. As I answered, I realized for the first time ever that the title is a pun. Had I never actually spoke the title out loud, I don’t think I would have ever seen it.
Click here to see all selections for The Virtual Musical Advent Calendar.