After more than 50 years of continuous service, The Pretty Things — still featuring original members Phil May and Dick Taylor — remain a significant, challenging force in Rock ‘n’ Roll. Despite their veteran status, their contemporary relevance, undiminished energy and inspirational commitment inspire emerging generations of new artists and young fans, whilst retaining their devoted, fanatical, core fan base.
Their career is a tribute to righteous, unswerving convictions, always chosen over a quick buck. It is no surprise that guitarist Dick Taylor chose to leave The Rolling Stones, which he had formed with Mick and Keith, to pursue a more raw level of energy with The Pretty Things. And they still retain that energy, as befits one of this country’s most exciting live acts, whilst their recordings and songwriting maintain the same levels of inspiration and innovation that were set back in 1964, with the world’s first and best ever Garage anthem, ‘Rosalyn’.
Underrated and often overlooked, The Pretty Things have had a seminal influence on Rock music. Their diverse and unexpected history has spawned countless imitators, many of whom have seen greater commercial success than their heroes, but The Pretty Things remain the original and the best.
Not content with being the first ever garage band, glowingly acknowledged by Iggy, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, and Nirvana, as a primal influence and guiding light. They created a world of rock and roll attitude (the first ever Rock ‘n’ Roll drugs bust and a lifetime ban from Australia and New Zealand provide credentials!) and still found time to create a cult world of incredible ground-breaking music – which is as influential now as their attitude was then.
The Pretty Things were responsible for the world’s first ever Rock Opera. Recorded in 1967 alongside The Beatles and The Pink Floyd at Abbey Road, SF Sorrow was the acknowledged template for The Who’s Tommy, and was, in 1998, another first, when it was recorded live at Abbey Road, with David Gilmour on guitar, for the world’s first ever Global Broadband Netcast.
This template for the Classic Rock Opera was often copied, but never bettered. Their template for the live recording of a classic album was picked up a few years later, are the shelves are now filled with similar formats of great records – Forever Changes, Oddessey And Oracle, and many others…
Where The Pretty Things lead, it seems, the rest will follow…
Following SF Sorrow, the band created another, incredibly significant first. They wrote and recorded the remarkable album, Parachute. Recorded again at Abbey Road, it was voted Rolling Stone magazine’s first Record of The Year of the 1970’s, outclassing Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, The Stones, and The Who.
More importantly, Parachute was the only Rolling Stone Record of The Year, ever awarded to Berry Gordy and Tamla Motown, who had cannily signed The Pretty Things the year before, specifically to access the emerging and influential Rock ‘n’ Roll album market. Few realise that it took The Pretty Things to grant Berry Gordy his most valued wish…. Album credibility.
Parachute was recognised by The Pink Floyd as the inspiration for Dark Side of The Moon… and the rest is history (albeit not that well known!). In 1974, The Pretty Things were the first band to sign to Led Zeppelin’s new record label, Swansong. This association re-kindled a long-standing relationship with manager, Peter Grant, and the band’s old friends, Jimmy Page (who played with them on record in 1965), and Robert Plant. It also spawned two great albums, and gave the band their first ever US chart LP, with Silk Torpedo. Their new profile spawned a lifelong friendship with Aerosmith’s Stephen Tyler – who acknowledges Phil May, the band’s singer, as his primal influence.
Throughout the 1980s the band undertook the huge task of attempting to get all their recorded copyrights back from their original record companies, who had universally failed to pay them or render any accounts. They subsequently became the first of the 1960’s bands in history to gain control of all their work. And, in 1995, after ten years of court battles, they released another first – a dedicated 2 CD long-box that set the standard for all catalogue releases for the next ten years.
The Pretty Things have remained busy, including:
• Awarded the first ever Mojo Hero’s Award, presented by Seasick Steve and Kasabian.
• They played with Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park (at his request),
• Headlined the Childline Rocks show at the O2.
Through their entire career, The Pretty Things have written, performed, and created informed, intelligent, ground-breaking, and original music, enabled by powerful, melodic writing that has kept this incredible band alive for more than 50 years…
This should be a secret everyone knows…
The Pretty Things will take to the stage at 8:15 pm for one long set.
Borderline, Orange Yard, Manette St, London W1D 4JB
Doors open 7 pm
• Buy tickets from Ticket Agencies (please note: booking fees will be charged)
- Alt-Tickets www.alt-tickets.co.uk (online only)
- Ticketweb www.ticketweb.co.uk Telephone: 0844 477 1000
• Buy Tickets at the Door
Tickets may be available to buy on the door from 7 pm, priced at £20.00, but this cannot be guaranteed. The only way to make sure of tickets is to buy them in advance. So, come on down and see The Pretty Things play live at the Borderline in 2017.