Listen: Cry To Me / The Pretty Things PrettyThingsCry.mp3
I don’t need much prompting to give The Pretty Things a shout out. Phil May is one of music’s greatest vocalists. When I was running The Medicine Label at Warner Brothers in the 90′s, I asked then chairman Mo Ostin, during casual hallway conversation, if he’d let me reissue their 1973 FREEWAY MADNESS album, which was ripe for CD format. No problem.
Mo was the ultimate executive, they literally don’t make them that way any more. Prior to getting the green light to set up Medicine, I had a memorable meeting/job interview with him. I wanted details of when he signed both The Kinks and Family, which he ever so graciously recounted. And that was only the beginning of the many fascinating stories.
FREEWAY MADNESS, one of those Mo signings, holds some serious sentimental placemarks. Plus it afforded the band their first US tour. How insane is that? Despite their legendary status almost instantly, it wasn’t until spring ’73 that The Pretty Things played their initial US show, at LA’s Whisky A Go Go. I up and flew to California in April, like the senseless Anglophile that I was. Turned into a fantastic trip. Rich Fazekas, then part of United Artists hip college radio department, put me up for the week and introduced me to old Hollywood. UA had Family, Hawkwind, Ian Whitcomb, Man, The Move, Wizzard, endless Blue Note acts. It was the place to be. We raided, with Greg Shaw, UA’s publishing office, then anxious to dispose of their 7″ library. Talk about timing. We saw Tim Buckley at The Troubadour and of course The Pretty Things at The Whisky several nights straight. One month later, I booked them back at my college. May 19, 1973 to be exact.
Fast forward to last night. At a friend’s for dinner, I became engrossed in THE ROLLING STONES ALBUM FILE & COMPLETE DISCOGRAPHY, by Alan Clayson, that was meant to be casual coffee table glancing. I intended taking a quick look, then couldn’t put it down. Learn something every day – and with this book you’ll learn many somethings. For instance, March 7, 1965. Manchester. Following a stopped Rolling Stones show at The Palace Theater, Keith and Mick taxied across town to leap onstage with The Pretty Things (Brian Jones was a room mate of The Pretty Things at the time) at The Manchester Cavern that evening. Among the songs that Mick duetted with Phil May: ‘Cry To Me’.