The 1964-65 lineup. Left to right: Dick Taylor
, Phil May, Viv Prince, Brian Pendleton, John Stax.
"The Pretty Things embody everything that is cool and exciting about the bands and the music of the ‘60s, and rock & roll in general. There was purity to everything they did—they never seemed to be motivated by ego or a hunger for fame, they just sort of let things happen and didn’t care about the consequences. They’re still the same way, and that’s inspiring to me. There’s no compromise at all in their music, be it the early raw R&B records, the psychedelic stuff, or the more progressive records that followed. There were few other bands that could master all of those forms so definitively. There’s something about their image, their lifestyle, their attitude and their whole approach to creating music that I can identify with absolutely."
of The Loons and Ugly Things magazine, from this interview
An English rock and roll band from London
, who formed in 1963 and are still active today
. They're best known for releasing S.F. Sorrow,
the first ever Rock Opera
- yes, even before The Who
! In the beginning, they were a tough R&B outfit often compared with The Rolling Stones
(mostly because guitarist Dick Taylor was the Stones' first bassist), although they never achieved the level of fame and success that the Stones did. Built around the core formed by Taylor and lead singer Phil May.
As noted, the Pretty Things began as a hard-edged blues-rock outfit, releasing two albums and several singles in the UK. When that scene began to decay, the band recorded a contractually-required album, Emotions
, before switching labels and beginning the S.F. Sorrow
sessions in 1967. The album was released in 1968 to little success, although today it is usually regarded as a groundbreaking work of art. The next album, 1970's Parachute,
continued in the psychedelic/art rock vein and became Rolling Stone's
Album of the Year.
Still failing to attain much popular success, the Pretties recorded a few more albums before disbanding, reuniting several times to release further unsuccessful albums. Today, May and Taylor tour with a new lineup, and several band members (not including May or Taylor) have recently re-recorded the Parachute
The Pretty Things' studio albums:
- The Pretty Things (1965)
- Get the Picture? (1965)
- Emotions (1967)
- S.F. Sorrow (1968)
- Parachute (1970)
- Freeway Madness (1972)
- Silk Torpedo (1974)
- Savage Eye (1975)
- Cross Talk (1980)
- Rage Before Beauty (1999)
- Balboa Island (2007)