If The Rolling Stones
were harder than The Beatles, then The Pretty Things were harder than the Stones. Vocalist Phil May
and guitarist Dick Taylor, old friends of Jagger and Richards, shared a passion for US Blues records. For a while the two bands vied for supremacy of Britain
's R and B scene, The Pretty Things (named after a Bo Diddley song) scoring 1964 hits with 'Rosalyn' and 'Don't Bring Me Down', marked by Taylor's stinging guitar and May's vocal snarl. Their appearance, too, was calculatedly provocative, with May
claiming the longest hair in Britain. As the 60s wore on, The Pretty Things moved towards Soul
, but sales diminished, In 1968, they released their landmark psychadelic album, SF Sorrow
, and battled on for several years, depite a myriad of lineup changes.
In the 70s they were signed to Led Zeppelin's label Swan Song, issuing Silk Torpedo (1974), but their fortunes faltered. May and Taylor kept the Pretty Things alive and, in 1993, recieved royalty payments witheld from them in the 60s.