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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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arch enemy ARCH ENEMY ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE DATES FOR 2015
European fans will see Arch Enemy again in late April. The band are coming back with support from US Metal force Unearth and Drone from Germany...

toto TOTO DEBUT NEW SINGLE 'HOLY WAR'
Toto have announced a March 20th release date for their new studio album 'Toto XIV' in Europe...

motley crue EXCLUSIVE: MOTLEY CRUE PAY TRIBUTE TO GARY GLITTER ON THE FINAL TOUR
Debauched rockers Motley Crue are currently in Japan performing their last Asian dates on their much publicised Final Tour...

music for nations LEGENDARY HEAVY METAL LABEL MUSIC FOR NATIONS IS BACK
As well as reissues, the label will be signing new artists for the first time in over a decade...

satyricon SATYRICON SIGNS WITH NAPALM RECORDS FOR RELEASE OF SPECTACULAR LIVE DVD
"It's not a live album. It's a celebration of what Satyricon stands for as a band..."

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'IN SOME WILD UNIVERSE' PLUS TOUR UPDATE
This video features the touring line-up of the band for 2015...

tytan TYTAN AND FRIENDS TO PLAY AT THE WEDFEST
Joining them will also be Midnight Messiah plus the promising young rocking sounds of Bad Touch, Knock Out Kaine and Piston...

rival sons RIVAL SONS WITHDRAW FROM SOUNDWAVE 2015
Australia will have to wait a little longer to see Rival Sons in the flesh as family matters take priority...

the answer HARDCORE SUPERSTAR WILL RELEASE NEW ALBUM 'HCSS' ON 20TH APRIL 2015
"This is nothing less than Hardcore Superstar coming full circle by showing our fans where we come from and what we still believe in..."

the answer THE ANSWER RELEASE BRAND NEW LYRIC VIDEO FOR TRACK 'LONG LIVE THE RENEGADES'
"The song is about just doing what you do best and having a bit of a bunker mentality..."

dead kennedys DEAD KENNEDYS ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPE HEADLINE TOUR FOR JUNE 2015
US punk pioneers will bring their distincitve sound to four countries over ten dates...

carl sentance BREAKING NEWS: CARL SENTANCE ANNOUNCED AS NEW VOCALIST FOR NAZARETH
Persian Risk vocalist Carl Sentance replaces Linton Osbourne to start the next chapter for the Scottish hard rockers...

rockingham firefest BREAKING NEWS: ROCKINGHAM RELIGHTS THE FIREFEST; GOTTHARD, DAN REED, STAN BUSH AND MORE ANNOUNCED
The AOR flag will be raised high yet again over Nottingham Rock City...

sven dirkschneider U.D.O. ANNOUNCE DIRKSCHNEIDER'S SON AS NEW DRUMMER
"His style of playing drums is fresh and really grooves heavily. It simply is exactly what we need for U.D.O..."

pentagram PENTAGRAM RE-SIGNS WITH PEACEVILLE RECORDS - ALBUM RECORDING UNDERWAY
Through four decades of adversity and triumph, Pentagram have become a legendary international act...

uriah heep URIAH HEEP 2015 UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
This tour follows on from the release of the band's acclaimed album 'Outsider' which enjoyed excellent reviews...

godsmack GODSMACK VOCALIST SULLY ERNA TO MAKE AN ONLINE POKER COMEBACK
For Godsmack fans this could be disheartening as Erna shifts his attention from music to poker...

heidevolk HEIDEVOLK LAUNCH VIDEO FOR NEW TRACK 'WINTER WOEDE'; NEW ALBUM ON THE WAY
The album and video mark the debut of the band's newest members, Kevin Vruchtbaert on guitar and Lars Vogel on vocals...

quo convention FIRST EVER STATUS QUO FAN CLUB CONVENTION ANNOUNCED
There will be live music, very special guests and a packed programme this October for this very special celebration...

queensryche THUNDER CONFIRMED AS VERY SPECIAL GUESTS TO ZZ TOP AT WEMBLEY ARENA PLUS MINI UK TOUR ANNOUNCED
The group's first studio album in six years, 'Wonder Days', reminds us why Thunder are now more revered than ever before...

queensryche QUEENSRŸCHE TO TOUR EUROPE AND RELEASE NEW ALBUM IN 2015
It's a busy year for Queensrÿche with headline shows and festival appearances before the new album release...

dir en grey dir en grey RETURN FOR TWO EXCLUSIVE SHOWS
The Islington O2 Academy will be the scene for Japanese avant-garde Metal in May...

unleashed SWEDISH LEGENDS UNLEASHED REVEAL ALBUM TITLE AND ARTWORK
The founders of the Viking Death Metal movement are back and as brutal as ever...

status quo BREAKING NEWS: STATUS QUO ANNOUNCE 'AQUOSTIC' ROYAL ALBERT HALL GIG IN APRIL
This is the show that wowed the listeners of BBC Radio 2, plus those lucky enough to be in the intimate surroundings of Roundhouse in October...

monument MONUMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOUR
You want great British Metal? You've got it with Monument's headline tour this Spring...

santa cruz SANTA CRUZ REVEAL LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'MY REMEDY'
Get a taste of the new album with 'My Remedy', the third single to be released...

Shattered sun LEGENDARY BRITISH MELODIC ROCKERS FM RETURN WITH 'HEROES & VILLAINS' ON APRIL 17TH
"We're on a roll! Some of the tracks on this album are better than anything that the band has ever produced, and Steve's voice is as good as ever..."

nightwish NIGHTWISH ANNOUNCE ONLY UK DATE THIS YEAR WITH ARCH ENEMY SUPPORTING
"Who would have thought about headlining at Wembley Arena one day when we were starting our UK touring history..."

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS GO UNPLUGGED AND PERSONAL: ACOUSTIC DATES ANNOUNCED
After last year's highly acclaimed unplugged tour, The Quireboys are pleased to announce a very intimate string of evenings early 2015...

killit KILLIT UNLEASH DEBUT VIDEO AND ANNOUNCE FIRST EVER LIVE SHOW
'Shut It Down' is the first single from the album and is out now and available...

state villains STATE VILLAINS TO RELEASE SECOND EP IN SPRING
State Villains have an honesty that harkens back to an era of integrity and a distinct lack of gimmicks...

chris slade BREAKING NEWS: CHRIS SLADE IS BACK IN AC/DC
Chris will rejoin the legendary hard rockers for their appearance at the 57th annual Grammy Awards as well as the band's upcoming tour...

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