The Pretty Things were one of the most influential bands to emerge from the London ‘R & B’ scene of the early 60’s. Regretfully, their lead singer Phil May passed away last week following complications from a Cycling accident as reported in the wider media.
The Pretty Things fronted by Phil May were closely linked to the Ealing Club scene through their lead guitarist Dick Taylor. Prior to forming the band, Taylor was a regular visitor to Ealing Broadway, where he would travel with fellow Dartford residents, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards.
As most Ealing Club followers are aware, in July 1962 Dick Taylor would become a member of the ‘formative’ Rolling Stones, eventually deciding to move on and take up Art College. Following his departure, Bill Wyman would take over the bass guitar role becoming a permanent part of the legendary Stones line-up.
The full story is detailed in the movie Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of the Ealing Club.
Formation of The Pretty Things
In 1963, at Sidcup Art College Dick Taylor formed a group alongside Phil May that would start to follow the footsteps of The Rolling Stones, challenging & emboldening their pursuit to become the bad-boys of mid 60’s London Music. Both bands were heavily based on the blues and the Pretty Things would build up a catalogue of self-penned songs that epitomized the raw, frenetic and pounding attitude of certain bands born out of the London R & B scene.
The Pretty Things would innovate and become early adopters of the psychedelic & counterculture movements integrating those influences into tracks such as LSD (released in 1965) and later creating what is considered to be the first Rock Opera Album, (SF Sorrow) in 1968. This record debuted prior to the release of the Who’s Tommy and was released on a Motown subsidiary, another first for any UK band.
The Pretty Things have been feted and admired by David Bowie (Oh – You Pretty Things). David Bowie, mentioned Phil May and The Ealing Club in his ‘Pin Ups’ Broadcast in 1973. Jimi Hendrix, The Clash: (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais, Nirvana were also admirers.
Their final 2018 show saw David Gilmour & Van Morrison playing in support of the band.
Listen to tracks such as ‘Buzz The Jerk’ and the likes of ‘The Jam’ are very close by. TURN IT UP LOUD!