The Pretty Things | Artist

The Pretty Things | Artist

Tags: Era_1960s, Gender_Male, Genre_Pop_Rock, Genre_Psych, Origin_UK, Type_Artist

The Pretty Things are an English rock band, formed 1963 in Sidcup, Kent, by Phil May (lead vocals, harmonica, guitar), Dick Taylor (lead guitar, vocals), John Stax (bass), Brian Pendleton (guitar) and Peter Kirtley (drums). The Drummer's seat changed regularly with Kirtley soon replaced by Viv Andrews, then Viv Prince, Twink and Skip Alan. May and Taylor remained the core members for over fifty years, other long-serving members included John Povey (keyboards, vocals) and Wally Waller (bass, vocals). Starting out, Dick Taylor and Phil May both attended Sidcup Art College along with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Taylor was an original member of The Rolling Stones but left the band after five months to continue Art School in London where he and May formed their own band 'Pretty Thing' named after a Willie Dixon song. Initially an R&B band, they had several Singles in the UK charts including "Rosalyn", "Don't Bring Me Down" and "Honey I Need". The band's sound evolved through several phases including Psych, Heavy Rock and Pub-rock styles. After three early strong albums, their creative peak came with the 1968 release of the masterpiece psychedelic rock opera S.F. Sorrow, which, while securing the band a record company signing in the US, remained commercially unsuccessful for several decades. S.F. Sorrow was recorded between December 1967 and September 1968 at Abbey Road Studios at the same time Pink Floyd recorded A Saucerful of Secrets (also produced by Norman Smith) and the Beatles worked on the White Album. It was the first rock opera, preceding the release of the Who's Tommy by five months. Their next release Parachute was also a superb album, continuing the psych-rock sound of its predecessor but with tighter song structures. On the strength of Parachute the band got signed to Led Zeppelin's Swan Song label, but never recaptured the magic of the early albums. Across 13 studio albums, standouts include Get The Picture?, S.F. Sorrow, and Parachute. Also recommended are two side project recordings, The Pretty Things/Phillipe Debarge and Electric Banana. The first is an album recorded with and paid for by French playboy Philippe DeBarge in September 1969, but not released until 2009. Secondly, Electric Banana, is from the late 1960s when the group made extra money by recording for music library company DeWolfe. Some of these songs ended up in low-budget films and softcore porn films. Not intended for official release, these songs were later compiled and released under the alias Electric Banana, keeping the true identity of the band secret. The Pretty Things, despite having much of the same musical talent and appeal as contemporaries such as the Stones, remained one of the most underrated great bands of the 60's. Phil May died, aged 75, on 15 May 2020.

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Featured Albums: The Pretty Things

Related Artists: Electric Banana, Dick Taylor, The Mekons, Twink, The XPTs

Video Clips: Midnight to Six Man, Don't Bring me Down, Singapore Silk Torpedo

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