Exposé Online banner

Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP

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

More info
http://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/may/15/phil-may-frontman-with-the-pretty-things-d

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Stickman - Fretless – On Neil Haverstick's ninth CD, he offers a compilation of all the fretless pieces from his previous CDs. Four of seven tracks exceed the ten-minute mark and feel improvised, sometimes enhanced with...  (2011) » Read more

Djam Karet - Collaborator – Having followed this band since their 1987 cassette release The Ritual Continues, I've always felt that their strongest suit was their ability to create atmospheres, emotional sonic textures that...  (1994) » Read more

The Light - On a New Horizon – Firmly rooted in the more commercial prog-rock of the late seventies, this quintet from Los Angeles have captured that nice fat sound of bands like Saga, Styx, Boston and Kansas in their heyday, a...  (1996) » Read more

Doctor Nerve - Skin – Dr. Nerve's latest album features more of composer / guitarist Nick Didkovsky's uncompromisingly dense and aggresive avant-garde rock. The music on Skin swings from a somewhat restrained RIO...  (1995) » Read more

Strawbs - Deadlines – Deadlines was the last album by the third incarnation of the Strawbs. It was their most progressive work since 1975's Ghosts, when prominent keyboard work (then from John Hawken, ex-Renaissance...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues