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Global Comment Advent Calendar 15: “2000 Miles” by The Pretenders

Today’s calendar selection seems, at first listen, to be a song about two lovers separated by a distance of 2000 rather snowy miles. Possibly not their finest work in terms of lyrics (‘2000 miles is very far through the snow’ – er yes, indeed it is) the song nevertheless has a heartfelt quality to it that really shines through. It’s also fairly simple in terms of structure, with the guitar repeating in circles in the background, but I think that’s what allows the emotion to come to the fore.

It turns out that the song isn’t actually about a distant lover at all, but about the band’s guitar player, who had died in 1982 due to drug abuse. As always, Hynde’s voice steals the show and lends the song its beauty.

It was released in December 1983 and charted at number 15 in the UK; it has since been covered by Coldplay, Natalie Imbruglia and KT Tunstall (so not Hanson this time, who seem to have covered every other Christmas song known to man). This is a song which will resonate with everyone at Christmas, whether they’re missing a distant lover or someone who’s passed away.

Listen here: