A mid-'70s visa scare had Chrissie Hynde contemplating desperate measures to stay in the U.K. — even marrying a couple of her friends in the Sex Pistols.

The future Pretenders leader made her way from Ohio to London in 1973, and as she later told the Daily Telegraph, she quickly fell in love with the city. "I knew nobody when I got here. It was real good for my own personal discovery," she explained. "I didn't have anyone saying to me, 'Oh, my God, you're wearing hot pants. I can't believe you're wearing hot pants.' Because nobody knew me. I could do and say and think anything I wanted."

But as she recounts in her recently released memoir Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, by 1976, she was on the verge of being kicked out of the country — without a visa, she couldn't get a job, and she'd resorted to "doing dumb s--- to get by" like planning (but ultimately dropping out of) a traveler's check scam. In her desperation, she turned to her friend John Lydon, aka Sex Pistol singer Johnny Rotten, with an eye toward getting married so she could stay in the country.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), this was just as the Pistols started taking off, and Lydon was preoccupied with avoiding the increasing heat of the spotlight — and things were further complicated when Lydon's bandmate Sid Vicious accused Hynde of hatching the plan "'Cause now he's a rock star you can have his baby and get his money!"

Quickly chastened, Vicious ended up offering to marry Hynde himself — but when the would-be newlyweds arrived at the registrar's office to tie the knot, they found it closed. "The next day wouldn't work," wrote Hynde, "as Sid had to go to court for putting someone's eye out with a glass."

Hynde would remain at loose ends for a couple more years, at one point attempting to start a group with future Clash leader Mick Jones, and — as she recounts in her book — suffered plenty of low moments along the way. But by the end of the decade those days were behind her, marked by the release of her band's classic self-titled debut.

See the Pretenders and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Albums of the '80s

This Day in Rock History: September 22

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