LEAD singer of the best British band to never make it big, Phil May of the Pretty Things died today (May 15) aged 75.
His band were considered more dangerous than the Rolling Stones and were a bit like a punk pop group when they started in the 1960s, attracting many girls with their long hair and raucous behaviour, indeed they became the first British band to be banned from New Zealand due to serious misbehaviour.
Like the Stones and Them, their early recordings were versions of black American RnB and blues numbers and they had a couple of big single hits with Rosalyn and Don’t Bring Me Down but they never really hit the big time.
After their first three albums, they discovered all types of drugs and recorded what is recognised as the first Psychedelic Rock Opera at Abbey Road, S F Sorrow well before Tommy from the Who and their follow up Parachute was named Rolling Stone album of the year.
They kept going with a fairly steady line up for several decades and attracted a lot of attention from artists such as David Bowie who recorded two of their numbers on Pinups and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd who appeared at their last concert in 2018 alongside Van Morrison.
There were a few fallouts but they kept going in one form or another for 55 years and certainly represented the image you might expect from a band immersed in Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll.
Ironically, although Phil May had been hospitalised a few years ago with a severe upper respiratory tract infection, it wasn’t Covid-19 that killed him but complications following a fall from his bike which badly damaged his hip.
In the words of one of his songs – Old Man Going, Going, Going, Gone!