The Pretty Things frontman Phil May dies at 75 due to hip surgery complications following a cycling accident
He formed The Pretty Things in 1963 with guitarist Dick Taylor, his Sidcup Art College classmate, who had just parted ways with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Phil May, frontman for the rock band The Pretty Things, has died at age 75. The Pretty Things were influential during the British era and their seminal fourth studio album 'S.F. Sorrow' was often described as the first rock opera or even the first concept album.
May died on Friday morning (May 15) at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, according to a statement from the band's management. The lead singer had been hospitalized last week after he fell from his bicycle. May had to undergo emergency hip surgery due to his injuries, which led to complications that caused his death. According to The Guardian, coronavirus has been ruled out as any contributing factor.
May was born in Dartford, Kent in 1944. He formed The Pretty Things in 1963 with guitarist Dick Taylor, his Sidcup Art College classmate, who had just parted ways with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards pre-Rolling Stones band Little Boy Blue And The Blue Boys. The Pretty Things signed to Fontana Records in 1964 and began releasing a series of R&B covers and originals. May garnered notoriety at the time for his bisexuality and experimentation with drugs, as well as his hair, which he claimed was the longest in the UK.
In the 1960s, The Pretty Things began turning to a more psychedelic sound, which produced the memorable 'S.F. Sorrow'. The band continued to evolve, adapting more rock trends and releasing albums up until 1980 and were revered by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, David Bowie, the Ramones and Kasabian.
The Pretty Things also joined forces with Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty under the name Pretty Things/Yardbird Blues Band. Some of their latest albums include '...Rage Before Beauty' (released in 1999), 'Balboa Island' (2007), and 2015's 'The Sweet Pretty Things (Are in Bed Now, of Course...)'. Even though The Pretty Things had moments of inactivity, the band never split up, enjoying decades of tours and a 55-year career. At their 2018 farewell show, they were joined onstage by David Gilmour and Van Morrison.
Fans on Twitter shared their love for Phil May. "He was f**king wonderful," said a fan while another wrote, "They were a brilliant band. Sorry to hear the news." One fan said, "OMG!!! Was just lauding The Pretty things to the very same @MDesbarres not even a week ago. An amazing artist who once had the longest hair in England. The man who Bowie once dubbed God has gone on to meet his. He shall be missed by me dearly. Will have a Pretty Things (sic)." Another said, "Sad news ...they were pioneers!"
Phil is survived by his son, Paris May, his daughter, Sorrel May and his partner, Colin Graham.