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Friday on my Mind 190: RIP Phil May

The Pretty Things (whose member Phil May died last week) were a presence in and around my consciousness in the 1960s. I caught them on TV once and my father of course remarked they were far from pretty. Chart success mostly eluded them, though. However, I do recall vaguely that they were the first British band to sign to Tamla Motown in the US.

Like most early 1960s bands they started out playing the blues but they soon evolved. The were the first to produce a rock opera in the concept album (one of the first of those) S. F. Sorrow where they indulged psychedelic tendencies, but its release was messed up and it therefore appeared after The Who’s Tommy.

Below is an appearance from French TV in which they play a song from S. F. Sorrow. The introduction to this has pre-echoes of Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas and the visual styling and antics of the guy in the tricorne hat could have inspired The Alex Harvey Band.

The Pretty Things: Private Sorrow

Philip Dennis Arthur Wadey/Kattner (Phil May:) 9 /11/1944 – 15/5/2020. So it goes.

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