Original Pretty Things formed Erith/ Dartford areas 1963 and included May and Dick Taylor (gtr), latter having been founder-bassist of Rolling Stones. Viv Prince (drms) joined shortly after formation. Pretties played dirty, driving R & B with fondness for Bo Diddley rhythm (name came from Diddley song).
Projected outrageous, evil image designed to out-Stone the Stones, whom they managed to rival for short time, Hit charts 1964 with Rosalyn and Don’t Bring Me Down, but similarity to better-promoted Stones and inconsistent standards of(l) and (2) led to waning popularity after Honey I Need You hit March 1965.
Then occurred confusing series of personnel changes, low morale, and two-year gap before transitional (3). Prince had been replaced by Skip Alan 1965 – who would leave and later return-and originals Brian Pendleton (rhythm gtr) and John Stax (bs) shortly gave way to John Povey, Wally Allen, and Twink (John Adler).
Phil May- composed (4) is now acknowledged as first-ever rock opera, inspiring Pete Townshend to write Tommy, though it went largely un-heralded.
Founder Dick Taylor left near completion of (4), Skip Alan returning. Hard rock (5) also sunk without trace in U.K., though named Album Of The Year (1971) by Rolling Stone in States.
Tolson, Edwards joined group, though (6), released after lengthy silence, still found them in doldrums and continually on verge of splitting.
‘Rescued’ by Led Zeppelin, long-time Pretties admirers, who signed group to own Swan Song label 1974. Despite this boost, however, group still didn’t achieved necessary breakthrough – shock loss of Phil May casting further doubts on future. Jack Green, ex-T.Rex, joined for (7).
(I) Pretty Things (Fontana 1965)
(2) Get The Picture (Fontana 1965)
(3) Emotions (Fontana 1967)
(4) S. F. Sorrow (Harvest 1968)
(5) Parachute (Harvest 1969)
(6) Freeway Madness (Warner Bros 1973)
(7) Silk Torpedo (Swan Song 1974)
(8) Savage Eye (Swan Song 1975)