Powerful vocalist, frontman and songwriter with the Pretty Things, the outlandish rock band that inspired Bowie and Nirvana
As the singer and chief songwriter of the Pretty Things, Phil May, who has died aged 75 from complications following hip surgery after a cycling accident, achieved a status in pop history out of all proportion to his group’s record sales. The Pretty Things were outlandish and endlessly inventive, and inspired any number of punk, indie and glam-rock bands.
Their admirers have included David Bowie, David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, the *** Pistols, Iggy Pop and Nirvana, while their 1966 single Midnight to Six Man supplied the opening line of the Clash’s (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais. Mick Jagger wanted to stop them from appearing on the TV pop show Ready Steady Go! because they were the one band who could challenge the delinquent-outlaw status of the Rolling Stones.