Phil May, lead vocalist of the iconic British rock group The Pretty Things, has died due to complications from hip surgery following a bicycle accident. The band’s management confirmed the news. He was 75-years-old.
May was born in 1944 in Dartford, Kent. May first met guitarist Dick Taylor in 1963 after Taylor had left his previous band, an early incarnation of The Rolling Stones. Both alums of Sidcup Art College, Taylor quickly recruited May as the lead vocalist for what would become The Pretty Things. By 1964, the band was signed to Fantana Recordings and quickly found success with their singles “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.” They would release both their self-titled debut and their sophomore LP Get The Picture? the following year.
Notably, the band would pen what would be considered the first “rock opera” with 1968’s S.F. Sorrow. Among their fans were the likes of David Bowie, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. The band remained steadily prolific throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s and continued to perform and release occasional material in the subsequent decades. What would be their final album came in 2015 with their 12th LP The Sweet Pretty Things (Are in Bed Now, of Course...) before they broke up in 2018.
Join us in remembering and celebrating May’s life by revisiting some of his work below.