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OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Lien ()
Date: May 15, 2020 19:00

R.I.P. Phil May

The Pretty Things star Phil May dead: Lead singer, 75, passes away after falling from his bike at his Norfolk home in tragic accident


Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: ChrisL ()
Date: May 15, 2020 19:13

Sad news.

I saw him at the Brian Jones movie premiere a few months ago and he was looking good.

RIP Phil.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: May 15, 2020 19:19

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Beast ()
Date: May 15, 2020 19:23

Oh God, no - another shock. So very sorry to hear this and the more so because his death was accidental. I loved the Pretty Things and got to see them several times, including their last gig about two years ago. He (and Dick Taylor) were also at the screening of the Life and Death of Brian Jones in London last December. Thanks to him for all the good times and RIP.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: May 15, 2020 20:27

Bad news. My Stones friend John, who saw the Pretty Things in their early days and spoke with some of them (D.T.) will be very unhappy.
I remember in interviews with Phil, talking about the very early embryo Stones days, often meeting with Brian, Keith and Mick. Higly interesting stories.
Commiserations to his family and band mates.
RIP Phil.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: thomas guitar ()
Date: May 15, 2020 20:27

Very sad news .... I remember our conversation 1 1/2 years ago. A very nice person. RIP Phil

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: crawdaddy ()
Date: May 15, 2020 21:02

I know they used to play at The Eel Pie Club at The Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham quite regular a few years back,with Phil and Dick Taylor in the lineup.
I think it must have been about 10 years since I saw them play live there.
Great live performance I remember.

R.I.P. Phil May

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Heart for Stones ()
Date: May 15, 2020 22:18

Thanks for the concerts in Norway, epesially 1973 cool smiley
R.I.P. Phil May

All the Best!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-05-15 22:33 by Heart for Stones.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Erhard51 ()
Date: May 15, 2020 22:32

I saw the Pretty Things one time in Essen, Germany, 05.04.17.

Thank you Phil May for the show. It was a great Club Show with him and Dick Taylor.After the show we spoke with him and Dick Taylor and he signed some old records and some Photos.


Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: runaway ()
Date: May 15, 2020 22:49

Very sad to hear the loss of the great Pretty Things frontman "Phil May", thank you for great concerts and opening one of my Amsterdam Art shows.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: stonesman87 ()
Date: May 16, 2020 01:28

The Pretty Things' "Don't Bring Me Down" stood out as the most Stones-sounding track in the '60s. Many thought it was the Stones, same as many thought the Knickerbockers' "Lies" was The Beatles.

From all my recollections, these two tracks were the outstanding soundalikes of the biggest two groups in the '60s.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Honestman ()
Date: May 16, 2020 02:13

The Pretty Things were the true bad boys of the 60s.

R.I.P Phil


Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: May 16, 2020 02:37

Sorry to learn of this ....

Had the honour of meeting Phil along with
Dick Taylor down here in late 2012 ... Dick was
humorous while Phil more reserved and extremely polite ......

Thanks for all you gave esp those early hard drivin' R&B numbers ....RIP


Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Aquamarine ()
Date: May 16, 2020 08:57

My first stage appearance was when I entered a mime contest at school with some friends--I was Phil, miming to their first hit Rosalyn. They had many great records after that, but Rosalyn and Don't Bring Me Down will always hold a special place in my heart.

P.S. No, we didn't win the contest. angry smiley

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: mikey C ()
Date: May 16, 2020 11:52

Saw them twice in Prague in 2017....Metronome Festival June 24th they played in a tent it was packed on a hot day a great show...Got the set-list!!!! They returned for a club show September 19th..They started to play "Mona"and i was thinking how great it would have been to see Show's back in the early 1960's...After they hung around and signed Posters,Cds,Vinyl Records for everyone Great guys!!!! I keep having The Beatles lyric run thru my head every few days "I read the news to day oh boy" Stay safe everyone..Peace.M

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Ladykiller ()
Date: May 16, 2020 14:19

I saw him with The Pretty Things in a good show in 2014.

RIP Phil May

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: frenki09 ()
Date: May 16, 2020 21:07

It is a mystery how a band like The Pretty Things never became stars fans would harass and stalk. They played tiny clubs up until 2018. They were never a stadium band. Perhaps bad management... (Perhaps Emotions could be a proof of this great band being mismanaged.)

As far as I am concerned they were ahead of the curve with Get The Picture? and their self-titled second album. Two classics in one year (1965).

I am a huge Stones fan. And with some regret I have to admit that Mike Jaguar and Keef and the other lads in the band didn't even come close to The Pretty Things up until Beggars Banquet as far as originality was concerned. (The Stones, of course, came up with unbelievably good and catchy singles, but as far as LPs were concerned The Pretty Things beat The Stones big time. Aftermath sounds pretentious compared to what The Pretty Things were going for in 1965, the year before. I know that 1966 wasn't a good year for The Pretty Things, but still... Aftermath seems like a step back compared to what The Pretty Things had done in 1965.)

The Pretty Things were a wild bunch, but in the studio they were more sophisticated and adventurous and complex than The Stones.

There's not a bad song on the two aforementioned albums. Not one!
In places they sounded so ahead of their time, so original:

Honey, I Need
Can't Stand The Pain
I Can Never Say
You'll Never Do It Baby
Oh Baby Doll
The Moon Is Rising

Listen to how sophisticated these songs sound! And we are talking about 1965. I ain't no musician, but I can still tell that in 1965 very few bands (if any) had such tight, revolutionary sounding, original arrangements.

Compare Cry To Me or Road Runner from The Pretty Things to The Stones' versions. The Stones sound angelic, less spontaneous compared to the rawness of The Pretties.
Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to compare the two bands, and I am sure many of you would disagree with me, but hopefully some of you would go back and listen to those two albums and re-evaluate the significance of them. The Stones' sound is tiny and too polished and in many ways unoriginal compared to The Pretty Things of 1965.

The Pretty Things never even came close to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And sadly, this thread isn't buzzing like it should be. I have zero free time to post here, I've been really busy for the past 2-3 years, but this time I had get this out of me...

I can't remember the last time I listened to The Rolling Stones, Now! or to December's Children, for example. But I can't get enough of Get The Picture? and The Pretty Things' self-titled album.

Remember the article with the juicy headline “Would You Let Your Daughter Go With a Rolling Stone?" I bet that most parents would have gladly said "yes" to a Rolling Stone dating their treasured one after seeing a Pretty Thing on the telly...

R.I.P. Phil May and The Pretty Things! A band to be rediscovered again and again and again...

P.S.: When will we get a proper stereo mix of Aftermath? Shamefully bad sounding album in stereo.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: May 18, 2020 07:47

Phil May's obituary from the Guardian (not the same article as the one earlier in this thread)

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: filstan ()
Date: May 19, 2020 15:36

Oh nooo! This is terrible, sad news. Pretty Things somehow never made it big in the States, but they were a really great band. Phil May was a terrific front man.

RIP Phil May

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: bonddm ()
Date: May 19, 2020 16:11

From their official website.

“PHIL MAY – 1944 – 2020.

At 7am this morning, Phil May, lead singer with The Pretty Things, died in hospital after surgery to replace his hip joint, in Norfolk, where he had been staying with his family.

If you’re reading this, you will already know what a remarkable singer and performer Phil was, throughout the 55 years and more that he fronted The Pretty Things, and you will probably also be aware of his prodigious talent as a writer, lyricist and ground-breaker, with numerous musical “firsts” to his name.

But he was far, far more than that. To those of us who knew him intimately, and loved him, personally, he was a remarkable, mercurial, influential and irreplaceable human being and the finest, most honourable human being I have ever known.

He was funny, creative, quick, decent, insightful, hugely talented in so many ways, infuriating, direct, and unswervingly loyal, in an industry of frauds, and honest, painfully so. This Idol did not have feet of clay. His work across 55 years encompasses some of the true high points of rock music from its’ early R&B roots – right through to the present day. He will never see the release of what will now be the last Pretty Things album – the raw, roots, acoustic blues of “Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood” – which will be released later this year. So sad, it was a real labour for him to complete, but worth every moment of toil.

He will probably be remembered in history as “the man with the longest hair in Britain”, something he literally fought for, to make his point. But that was just the tip of his particular iceberg. His art, work and performance defined him so much more completely than any headliner ever could, as anyone who has heard “S. F. Sorrow” or been lucky enough to see a 70+ year old Phil smashing sell-out shows across the world, with the last, great Pretty Things, electric line-up, will confirm.

He was a unique, and consistently challenging and creative man, who was never ready to give up his freedom to be what he chose to be, for money or even fame. He, and his long-time partner on stage and record, Dick Taylor, always danced to a different drummer, and one with a mesmerising beat.

So, he will hopefully be remembered by you as the great, unique and original, mould-breaking artist he always was, and not just some silly pop star with nothing to say and too much time to say it. Phil was different. We will all remember him with love, affection, and sadness, not a day will pass without him being in my, personal thoughts and in my heart, He was my friend, my artist, my burden, my blessing, my soul mate and my hero. I never met anyone like him, and I won’t ever again. We loved Phil, as many of you did…… The King is dead. We won’t find another….. Goodbye, Phil. We will miss you every day, and remember you with fondness and a smile.

15 May 2020”


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2020-05-19 16:12 by bonddm.

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Green Lady ()
Date: May 24, 2020 12:18

There is apparently a good obituary in the Times, which I am unable to post because it's behind their paywall. Any Times readers out there?

Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Cristiano Radtke ()
Date: May 24, 2020 17:14

Green Lady
There is apparently a good obituary in the Times, which I am unable to post because it's behind their paywall. Any Times readers out there?

Phil May obituary

Wild and hairy frontman of the Pretty Things who was considered a rival by Mick Jagger and was ‘stalked’ by the teenage David Bowie

Phil May, centre, with the Pretty Things performing on TV in 1964/MARK AND COLLEEN HAYWARD/REDFERNS

Friday May 22 2020, 12.01am BST, The Times

In the days when anxious parents were locking up their daughters whenever Mick Jagger and his group of long-haired libertines hit town, there was only one band that was shaggier, wilder, lewder and more degenerate than the Rolling Stones.

That band was the Pretty Things, led by Phil May, who rivalled Jagger as a lascivious, hip-wiggling lead singer and was dubbed “the longest-haired man in Britain”.

The marketing campaign behind May and his band was crude but effective and could simply be paraphrased as, “If you thought the Stones were a bunch of scruffy yobs, wait until you see this lot.”

For a while the carefully promoted sense of outrage worked well and the Pretty Things’ first two rambunctious singles, Rosalyn and Don’t Bring Me Down, featuring May’s yowling vocals, were as ferociously potent as anything recorded during the 1960s British beat boom.

“He’s just too f***ing pretty . . . He’s dangerous,” Jagger was reported to have said after May had made a spectacular TV debut with the Pretty Things on Ready Steady Go! in 1964. Andrew Loog Oldham, the Stones’ manager, was dispatched to tell the show’s producer, Vicki Wickham, that if she put May and his reprobates on again, Ready Steady Go! should forget about getting the Stones back.

The rivalry was given an added piquancy by the fact that the guitarist in May’s group was Dick Taylor, who had been at Dartford Grammar School with Jagger and had briefly played in the Stones’ pre-fame line-up.

The Pretty Things’ most enthusiastic uber fan was a teenager named David Jones, who hung around the stage door at so many of the band’s gigs that they took to calling him “the Stalker”. When he got to know May he entered his number in his phone book under the name “GOD”. Jones later changed his name to David Bowie, and recorded deferential versions of Rosalyn and Don’t Bring Me Down on his 1973 album Pin Ups.

Bowie also namechecked the band in the song Oh! You Pretty Things and borrowed aspects of May’s androgynous appeal. From the outset May had hinted at bisexuality in songs in which he interchanged the pronouns “he” and “she”. May claimed on one occasion to have ended up with Brian Jones, Judy Garland and Rudolf Nureyev in the same bed at the Dorchester hotel.

He was married for 30 years to Electra Nemon, the sister-in-law of the former Conservative MP Sir George Young and daughter of the sculptor Oscar Nemon, whose bronze statue of Churchill stands in the members’ lobby in the House of Commons. He divorced her in the 1990s and entered a long-term relationship with Colin Graham, with whom he lived in Norfolk. Graham survives him, along with two children from his marriage: a son, Paris, and daughter, Sorrel, a TV producer.

Phil May was born Philip Dennis Arthur Wadey in Dartford, Kent, in 1944 and was brought up in his early years by his mother Daphne’s sister, Flo, and her husband, Charlie May, whom he considered to be his real parents and whose name he took. When he was ten he returned to live with his mother and stepfather.

On leaving school he studied graphic design at Sidcup Art College, where Keith Richards was a student in the year above him. He formed the Pretty Things with Taylor, another fellow art student, in 1963.

The Pretty things on tour. From left: Brian Pendleton, John Stax, Dick Taylor, Phil May and Viv Prince/JOOP VAN BILSEN/ANEFO

After the Pretty Things’ early flush of success the group was bedevilled by poor decision-making, bad luck and a reputation that preceded them.

In 1965, at the height of their British success, they were invited to tour by Sid Bernstein, the New York-based promoter who had introduced the Beatles to the United States. As one of the most exciting acts to emerge from the British beat boom, they should have been more or less guaranteed to follow the Beatles and the Stones in the “British invasion” of the American charts but Bryan Morrison, the Pretty Things’ manager, turned down the invitation on the grounds that the fee was too low and sent the band to New Zealand instead. The quiet country wasn’t ready for the Pretty Things and the tour was a disaster. May and his bandmates provoked so much outrage, including starting a fire on an aircraft at 30,000ft, that their antics were debated by the New Zealand parliament and there were calls for them to be banned from the country for life.

Like the Sex Pistols a decade later, everywhere the Pretty Things went there were drug busts, fights and riots. It was claimed that members of the group made 27 court appearances in 1965 alone.

Even the indefatigably transgressive May grew tired of the chaos and considered a return to art school. “We’d had the screaming girls, we’d be chased down the streets and locked in hotel rooms. We couldn’t get out because of the screamers. So I went back to my tutor and said, ‘Look, I want to come back and paint’,” he recalled.

“Why sit in a life class in London when you can travel the world?” came the sage reply. “Fill your life up with experiences, go back on the road, carry on playing and see in three or four years’ time.”

May carried on, although one by one his bandmates dropped by the wayside. Viv Prince, the drummer, who was so wild that he made Keith Moon appear sane and sober, was fired because it was impossible to know if he was going to turn up.

Brian Pendleton, the guitarist, disappeared in 1966 on the way to a gig in Leeds by train. “When we got to the other end, he wasn’t on the train any more. We never saw him again for a year and a half,” May said. He was later found working in a bank. Over the years the band went through 33 members with May as the only constant.

After switching his drug of choice from Purple Hearts to LSD, May reinvented the Pretty Things in the 1967 “summer of love” as psychedelic rock pioneers. He deserved the credit for writing the first “rock opera” with SF Sorrow in 1968, a story chronicling a life from birth through childhood, love and old age.

Today the album is regarded as a landmark but at the time the group’s record company, EMI, was unimpressed and failed to promote it. Six months later the Who released Tommy and Pete Townshend got the plaudits.

When May suggested that the Who’s rock opera had been influenced by SF Sorrow, Townshend wrote him a letter instructing him to desist with his claim and implying legal action could follow if he did not. May was deeply hurt and described the letter as “a kick in the bollocks”.

After SF Sorrow had flopped, the remains of the Pretty Things were reduced to recording low-budget film soundtracks with an embarrassed May hiding the group’s identity under the name Electric Banana. They appeared as such in the 1969 Norman Wisdom comedy What’s Good for the Goose. Needless to say, one night May managed to get Wisdom stoned for the first and probably only time in the comedian’s life.

With a new line-up, the Pretty Things’ next album, Parachute (1970) was voted record of the year by Rolling Stone. Typically, for the band, it became the only album of the year in the magazine’s history not to sell a million copies.

There was one further tilt at super-stardom in the mid-1970s when Led Zeppelin signed May and the Pretty Things to their label, Swan Song. According to Zeppelin’s manager, Peter Grant, within three months May and his colleagues had spent their entire advance of $150,000 on cocaine. The two albums that they recorded for the label flopped.

May carried on regardless until lung disease caused by years of heavy drinking and smoking forced him to retire from the stage. He played his final concert with the Pretty Things in 2018, when he was joined onstage by his old friends David Gilmour and Van Morrison.

“You could have surfed on the warmth that was coming out of that audience,” May said after the show. “The power of people expressing their gratitude for the music you made was quite thrilling.”

Phil May, rock singer, was born on November 9, 1944. He died of complications following hip surgery on May 15, 2020, aged 75


Re: OT: R.I.P. Phil May from the Pretty Things
Posted by: Georges ()
Date: May 24, 2020 19:47

I saw Phil May and Dick Taylor on stage at the Olympia in Paris years ago.
They were the first part of Bill Wyman's gig.
R.I.P. Phil May

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