"2000 Miles" is a tribute to The Pretenders' guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, who died from a drug overdose on June 16, 1982, at 25. His death was a devastating blow to the band, and they took a break from touring and recording to mourn his loss. The lyrics refer to Honeyman-Scott's absence and the sense of loss that his passing had on The Pretenders' members.
The Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde wrote "2000 Miles." In an interview, Hynde said she took inspiration from the feeling of distance that she experienced after Honeyman-Scott's death, and that it was important for her to continue making music in his memory.
"One of the things that kept the band alive, ironically, was the death of Jimmy Scott," she said. "I felt I couldn't let the music die when he died. We'd worked too hard to get it where it was... I had to finish what we'd started."
The Pretenders recorded "2000 Miles" for Learning to Crawl, which they released on January 21, 1984, following their hiatus. The album title refers to the challenges and struggles the band faced during this time of transition and rebuilding. Hynde took inspiration from her then-infant daughter, Natalie Rae Hynde, who was learning to crawl at the time.
"2000 Miles" became a popular Christmas song in the UK. Though the subject matter is distinctly un-festive, radio stations play it around the holiday season because its lyrics reference snow, Christmas and "Silent Night
The Tim Pope-directed video also has a Christmassy-vibe. It features Hynde dressed as a member of The Salvation Army in a wintery location.
Several artists have covered "2000 Miles," including:
2003 Coldplay released a piano cover as a charity single
2015 Train for their Christmas in Tahoe album
2015 Kylie Minogue for her Kylie Christmas album
2017 Tom Chaplin for his Twelve Tales of Christmas album