After 55 years of live performing, The Pretty Things – the iconic, 1st wave British R&B cult heroes, formed by Rolling Stones founder member Dick Taylor and early Bowie hero Phil May – will retire from electric performances at the end of this year when they play one final show in London on December 18 with special friends including Van Morrison and Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour. Unbelievably, Australia has lucked out and will be witness to some of the band’s final performances.

It cannot be overstated the enormity of the impact The Pretty Things had on the UK music scene when they burst upon it with the 1, 2 punch of “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” in 1964. Featuring the bearded guitarist Dick Taylor – who had formed Little Boy Blue & The Blues Boys with school chum Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1962 before becoming the Rolling Stones bass player – and singer Phil May, who had the longest hair on the scene – The Pretty Things made even the Stones look like nice boys. Their primal rhythm’n’blues – Van Morrison is on record as having said they were “one of the greatest R&B bands of all time – real wild”– influenced bands around the world (they toured New Zealand – and got thrown out!) and then their classic 1968 concept album “S.F Sorrow” introduced to the world to the concept of the rock opera before the Who got around to it. They became psychedelic pioneers alongside their pals in the Pink Floyd, and super-fan David Bowie included covers of the first two Pretties singles on his “Pin Ups” album in 1974. The same year they were the first band signed by Led Zeppelin to their new label Swan Song.

Already cited as an influence by the Stooges and the New York Dolls, the Pretty Things then became pin-up boys for early punks – Joey Ramone once said “The Pretty Things’ were the biggest influence on us…they invented garage bands” – and subsequent generations of similarly oriented bands, from Radio Birdman and The Saints to the Hoodoo Gurus to the White Stripes to the new generation of garage/psych kids including King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and all their mates.

The Pretty Things today – still with Phil May and Dick Taylor upfront – sound pretty much exactly like they did in 1965, with a bit of their later stuff thrown in for good measure. Anyone who loves the British sound of the ‘60s and ‘70s needs to catch them before they go.

The Pretty Things are waving goodbye. Be there to wave back…….



Sydney – Wednesday Oct 3 – The Factory – with Tumbleweed & DJ Owen Penglis (Straight Arrows)
Brisbane – Thursday Oct 4 – The Zoo – with The Golden Age Of Ballooning
Melbourne – Saturday Oct 6 – Thornbury Theatre (S. F. Sorrow) – with Sand Pebbles & The Electric Guitars
Melbourne – Sunday Oct 7 (afternoon) – The Caravan – with The Breadmakers
Geelong – Wednesday Oct 10 – Barwon Club – with The Living Eyes
Melbourne – Friday Oct 12 – The Tote – with The Living Eyes & Bananagun
Adelaide – Saturday Oct 13 – Fowlers – with Vic Conrad and the 1st 3rd
Perth – Sunday Oct 14 – The Charles Hotel with Datura4 and Rockin’ Hendy

Author: Pete Wibberley

Internationally published photographer, editor of Adelaide Music Mag and freelance contributor to MNPR Magazine and The Rocker Rag.

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