Phil May, the lead singer of the Pretty Things, a 1960s British rock band whose members played faster, louder and with more unbridled energy than their contemporaries, died on May 15 in Norfolk, England. He was 75.
An announcement on the band’s website said he died in a hospital from complications following hip surgery.
The Pretty Things took their name from a Bo Diddley song, but they were far less in thrall to their influences than most of the elders of the English rhythm and blues scene. They didn’t go for faithful re-creation; they roughed up the music, playing with a speed and rawness that foreshadowed punk rock. Joey Ramone called the Pretty Things “the biggest influence” on the Ramones and said they “invented garage bands.”