We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018.
by Peter Thelen, Published 2020-05-15
Phil May was born Philip Wadey in Dartford, Kent, on November 9, 1944, and he was raised by an aunt and uncle whose surname was May. Although he later returned to his parents, he eventually decided to retain May as his surname. While attending Sidcup Art College in 1963, he joined together with guitarist Dick Taylor, who had just left an early version of The Rolling Stones, to form The Pretty Things. After playing blues rock for a few years, the band moved into psychedelia, making a big splash with S.F. Sorrow, which is regarded as the first rock opera.
May became a noted counterculture in England, associated with long hair, drugs, and bixexuality, though the band never reached the heights of popularity enjoyed by some of their contemporaries. With the passage of time, S.F. Sorrow came to be regarded as one of the high points of psychedelic rock.
He died on 15 May 2020, aged 75, in a hospital in King's Lynn, from complications following hip surgery after a cycling accident.
Filed under: Obituaries
Related artist(s): The Pretty Things
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