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  DUTCH MICHAELS' GIG OF THE WEEK
THE PRETTY THINGS
The Borderline Club, London
Saturday 29th December 2012


the pretty things

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If ya couldn't afford to see The Rolling Stones, drop down to the Borderline Club December 29th and you might find a couple in the audience and definitely an ex-member on stage. This is a promising night of old school rock n' blues with top musicianship and a Christmas Party to boot! The expected will be fulfilling, the unexpected will be superb.

The Pretty Things are an English rock and roll band from London, who originally formed in 1963. They took their name from Bo Diddley's 1955 song 'Pretty Thing'. Their most commercially successful period was the mid 1960s, although they continue to perform to this day. David Bowie covered two of their songs on his album 'Pin Ups'.

Article continues below...

 
 


Early stages

The Pretty Things were preceded by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, which consisted of Dick Taylor, fellow Sidcup Art College student Keith Richards, and Mick Jagger. When Brian Jones was recruiting for his own band, all three joined Brian and Ian Stewart and were dubbed 'Rollin' Stones' by Jones. Taylor would briefly play bass guitar in the nascent Rolling Stones who employed a variety of drummers during 1962.

Taylor (born Richard Clifford Taylor, 28 January 1943, Dartford, Kent) quit the Stones several months later when he was accepted at the London Central School of Art, where he met Phil (Hi ya Babe) May (born Phillip Arthur Dennis Kattner, 9 November 1944, Dartford, Kent) and they formed The Pretty Things.

Taylor was once again playing guitar, with May singing and playing harmonica. They recruited Brian Pendleton (born 13 April 1944, Heath Town, Wolverhampton – died 16 May 2001, Maidstone, Kent) on rhythm guitar; John Stax (born John Edward Lee Fullagar, 6 April 1944, Crayford, Kent) on bass; and Pete Kitley, replaced by Viv Andrews (on drums) and then by Viv Prince (born Vivian Martin Prince, 9 August 1941, Loughborough, Leicestershire) on drums.

A fellow student at the Art College May and Taylor studied at, Bryan Morrison, was recruited as their manager. Morrison was to manage them for the rest of the 1960s, building his own Bryan Morrison Agency. This agency represented Pink Floyd amongst many other bands.

the pretty things

Early career

The Pretty Things first three singles — 'Rosalyn' #41, 'Don't Bring Me Down' #10, and the self-penned 'Honey I Need' at #13 — appeared in the UK Singles Chart in 1964 and 1965. They never had a hit in the United States, but had considerable success in their native United Kingdom and in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and the Netherlands in the middle of the decade. Their appearance was designed to provoke, with May claiming to have the longest hair in the UK.

The band later blamed their lack of success in the US on the fact they toured the Southern Hemisphere, including New Zealand, where they were banned after Prince set fire to a bag of crayfish on an internal flight.

Their early material consisted of hard-edged blues-rock influenced by Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed. The first of what would be many personnel changes over the years also began, with Prince the first to go in November 1965. He was replaced by Skip Alan (born Alan Ernest Skipper, 11 June 1948, Westminster, London).

In early 1966 the band made a short film Pretty Things On Film; it featured live footage and a music video prototype for 'Can't Stand The Pain', which also featured their manager, Morrison. Rarely screened at the time, the film can be found as a bonus multimedia item on the Snapper CD re-issue of Get The Picture. 1966 saw the R&B scene fall into decline and The Pretty Things began moving away, flirting with soul music.

In mid-1966 saw them make the UK Singles Chart for the final time with a cover of The Kinks song, 'A House In The Country'. In December 1966 came the single 'Progress', where the band were joined by a brass section.

Pendleton left in December 1966, and Stax followed in January 1967. Jon Povey (born 20 August 1942, London) and Wally Waller (born Alan Edward Waller, 9 April 1944, Barnehurst, Kent), both former Fenmen from Bern Elliott and the Fenmen, joined and made the band a five-piece once again.

the pretty things

Their final album for Fontana Records was a contractual obligation produced by Steve Rowland and the subject of controversy sinceEmotions was laden with brass and string arrangements arranged by Reg Tilsley. EMI producer Norman Smith expressed interest in working with them and at the end of September 1967, The Pretty Things signed to EMI's Columbia label. In November 1967 they released 'Defecting Grey', a psychedelic effort that failed to sell. This was followed three months later by a double A-side single 'Talking About The Good Times'/'Walking Through My Dreams'.

That single marked the beginning of sessions for the SF Sorrow album. Released in December 1968, it was the first rock opera, preceding the release of The Who's Tommy in May 1969. It was recorded between December 1967 and September 1968 at the Abbey Road Studios, while Pink Floyd were working on 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' (also produced by Norman Smith) and The Beatles worked on the White Album. In March 1968, drummer Skip Alan left the group. Twink replaced him to help the band to complete the album.

In March 1969, the British music magazine, NME reported that Motown Records vice-president Barney Ales had visited London to sign the Pretty Things as the U.S. label's first British act.

S.F. Sorrow was commercially unsuccessful, with no immediate release in the US. However, the album was subsequently picked up by Motown and issued with a different cover on its Rare Earth Records label. The work received only modest support from EMI, and its depressing narrative probably did not help sales.

1969 saw the band feeling disillusioned by the failure of SF Sorrow and that June, Taylor left the band. The Pretty Things borrowed guitarist Victor Unitt from The Edgar Broughton Band to replace Taylor. Shortly after he joined, Twink left. Alan returned to the drumstool in time for the band's return to Abbey Road to start work on Parachute, which kept the psychedelic sound. During this period they also recorded an album for a young French millionaire Philippe DeBarge, which was intended only to be circulated among his social circle.

The acetate has since been bootlegged. In 2010 it was finally picked up by Mike Stax, owner of 1960s music magazine Ugly Things. He unearthed one of the two acetates and had it mixed and mastered and then as a piece de resistance, had the classic Pretty Things line-up, which Dick Taylor had just left at the time of the recording of the tracks with DeBarge, record a song entitled 'Monsieur Rock' (Ballad Of Philippe) a bonus track for this release on Ugly Things UTCD-2207.

Shortly after the release of Parachute, Unitt left and was replaced by Pete Tolson. Despite much stage work and acclaim, their records were still failing to sell at all well.

During the late 1960s, the band made some extra money by recording for music library company DeWolfe. Some of these songs ended up in low-budget films including What's Good For the Goose (1969), Haunted House of Horror (1969), The Monster Club (1981) and a couple of softcore porn films. Not intended for official release, these songs were later compiled on a number of records and released under the alias Electric Banana: Electric Banana (1967), More Electric Banana (1968), Even More Electric Banana (1969), Hot Licks (1970), and Return of the Electric Banana (1978). The initial releases featured one side of vocal and one side of instrumental tracks. Subsequent releases of these albums generally keep the true identity of the band secret.



1970s

By late 1970, the group had gone their separate ways due to commercial failures, and Alan was in a group called Sunshine. May, Povey, Alan, Tolson and Stuart Brooks signed with Warner Bros. Records, and released Freeway Madness at the end of 1972.

1974's Silk Torpedo saw them being managed by Led Zeppelin's Peter Grant. Silk Torpedo was the first album release on Zeppelin's own label Swan Song.[3] Also around this time, Brooks left and was replaced by Jack Green and a second keyboardist Gordon Edwards was added. In 1976, after the release of Savage Eye, May quit the band before a major London gig, and the band split up.

1980s

Reforming for 1980s Cross Talk did not improve their sales figures, and the Pretty Things split up again in 1981. Reforming in 1984, May and Taylor used various session musicians to release Out Of The Island (1988). Mark St. John joined on drums, but by the end of the decade their profile had almost disappeared. May and Taylor reformed the band for a successful European blues tour in late 1990 with Stan Webb's Chicken Shack and Luther Allison. This outfit included drummer Hans Waterman (formerly of Dutch rock groupSolution), bassist Roelf ter Velt and guitarist/keyboardist Barkley McKay (Waco Brothers and Pine Valley Cosmonauts) with Jon Langford ex-Mekons. This line-up regularly toured the European mainland until late 1994.

1990s

May and Taylor, together with former Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, recorded two albums in Chicago as Pretty Things/Yardbird Blues Band. They were The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 and Wine, Women, Whiskey, both produced by George Paulus.

The early 1990s were taken up with a battle against EMI. This was over unpaid royalties stemming back to a deal EMI set up with Motown subsidiary Rare Earth in 1968. The band never received any royalties from Rare Earth nor had received any monies from EMI for many years. The band won the legal case, the result being that in 1993 EMI gave them back all their master tapes, copyrights and an undisclosed sum of money as settlement. On friendly terms again, the 1967 line up decided to return with the addition of Pete Tolson (born Peter Tolson, 10 September 1951, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England). After much rehearsal, Tolson grew disillusioned and quit with Frank Holland taking Tolson's place.

Their label, Snapper Music, issued remastered CDs with many bonus tracks, plus a DVD of a live netcast re-recording of S.F. Sorrow at Abbey Road Studios, with David Gilmour and Arthur Brown as guest players. They played a tour of the U.S. for the first time in decades.

2000s to present

Original rhythm guitarist Brian Pendleton died of lung cancer on 16 May 2001 in Maidstone. The following year their ex-keyboard player Gordon Edwards (born Gordon John Edwards, 26 December 1946, Southport, Lancashire) died of a drug overdose.

In 1999 they released the studio album Rage Before Beauty and in the early 2000s, they released several compilation albums, a live album and DVD. In 2003, Alan Lakey's biography of the band, Growing Old Disgracefully, was published by Firefly. The book dealt with the long and involved history of the band, and paid special attention to the legal proceedings issued against EMI in the 1990s. An extensively re-written version is planned to be published in 2012.

Skip Alan suffered heart problems in 2001 restricting his commitment to the band, with St. John deputising on the drums as required. In mid 2007, The Pretty Things released their eleventh studio album Balboa Island on St. John's Côte Basque record label. The album contained a number of Pretty Things originals. Family illnesses meant Waller and Povey were unable to commit to the band, and Jack Greenwood replaced Allan on drums in 2008, a year which also saw the death of their former producer, Norman Smith and ex-manager, Bryan Morrison. In December 2008, a re-release was made, on Ugly Things Records, of their 1969 album, Phillipe DeBarge and the Pretty Things.

In June 2009, May, Taylor, Waller, Povey and Alan reunited to receive the "Heroes" award at the annual Mojo Awards ceremony. The Pretty Things continued to gig into 2010, with the line-up revolving around the May and Taylor axis with additional hired help. Waller, Povey, Alan and Tolson reunited in the middle of 2010 to re-record Parachute, to commemorate its 40th anniversary. Using the byline 'The XPTs', the album was released by Esoteric Recordings on 30 April 2012.

In April 2012, a re-imagining of S.F. Sorrow, entitled Sorrow's Children and featuring covers by contemporary bands of each track, was due for release on Fruits De Mer Records. The album included an interview with May and Taylor, and had a live version of 'Loneliest Person'. The latter was recorded at their gig at London's 100 Club in December 2010, at which they played the whole of their first album.

In 2012 the band returned to New Zealand for the first time since being banned in 1965.

Discography

Studio albums
The Pretty Things (1965) - UK #6
Get the Picture (1965)
Emotions (1967)
S.F. Sorrow (1968)
Parachute (1970) - UK #43
Freeway Madness (1972)
Silk Torpedo (1974) - US #104
Savage Eye (1976) - US #163
Cross Talk (1980)
Rage...Before Beauty (1999)
Balboa Island (2007)[1]
Philippe DeBarge (2009) - (recorded in 1969)

Live albums
Live At Heartbreak Hotel (1984)
Out of the Island (1988)
Rockin' the Garage (1992)
Resurrection (1998) (S.F. Sorrow performed live at Abbey Road Studios, featuring Arthur Brown and David Gilmour)

Pseudonymous and collaborative albums
Electric Banana was a pseudonymous 1967 album of the band. The band recorded this album and two subsequent ones for the De Wolfe Music Library. De Wolfe provided stock music for film soundtracks. The Electric Banana music wound up on various horror and soft-porn films of the late 1960s, such as What's Good for the Goose (1969). When the album was released, the stage name The Electric Banana was used to hide the band's identity.

As Electric Banana (music for films)
Electric Banana (1967)
More Electric Banana (1968)
Even More Electric Banana (1969)
The Electric Banana: Live at the Grand (1969)
Hot Licks (1970)
The Return Of The Electric Banana (1978)
As Pretty Things & The Yardbird Blues Band (May and Taylor with Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds)
The Chicago Blues Tapes 1991 (1991)
Wine Women Whiskey (1994)

Compilation albums
Greatest Hits 1964-1967 (1975)
Real Pretty (1976) 2 LPs (reissue of S.F. Sorrow and Parachute)
The Vintage Years (1976)
The Singles A's & B's (1977)
1967 - 1971 (1982)
Let Me Hear The Choir Sing (1983)
Closed Restaurant Blues (1985)
Cries From The Midnight Circus - The Best Of 1968-1971 (1986)
Unrepentant - The Anthology (1995)
The EP Collection (1997)
Midnight To Six (2000)
Latest Writs, Greatest Hits (2000)
The Rhythm & Blues Years (2001)
The Psychedelic Years 1966-1970 (2001)
Still Unrepentant (2004)
Come See Me: The Very Best of The Pretty Things (2004)



Happy Holidays and all the best for 2013! Dutch xx


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Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Z DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

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