PHIL MAY9th November 194415th May 2020

Lead singer with legendary, cult, first-wave, British, R&B band The Pretty Things dies following a tragic accident.


It is with very deep sadness that the management of The Pretty Things has to announce the death of the band’s lead singer, Phil May.


Phil May passed away at 7.05 am on Friday 15 May at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn, Norfolk. He was 75. He had been locked down in Norfolk with his family and, during the week, Phil had suffered a fall from his bike and had undergone emergency hip surgery, after which complications set in.

The Pretty Things first came to prominence in the 1960s when they caused great controversy because of the length of their hair and outrageous behaviour. Fights at shows were commonplace and questions were even asked in parliament. But over the years the band retained their uncanny relevance across generations of rock music.

The Pretty Things were fundamental in the development of British music. They enjoyed much critical success and were a huge influence on artists as diverse as David BowieAerosmithThe RamonesBob DylanThe Sex PistolsThe White StripesKasabian, The Lightning Seeds and countless more.

The band created a rich music catalogue including top-level albums such as The Pretty ThingsS.F. Sorrow & Parachute, and remained a significant artistic and creative force throughout their entire 55+ year career. They have continued to release iconic and influential recordings, right up to the present day, with a new album due for release this year.

Phil had been in poor health for some time when The Pretty Things played their last live concert, ‘The Final Bow’, on 13th December 2018 at the Indigo, O2 where they were joined onstage by old friends David Gilmour and Van Morrison.

Phil May leaves behind his son, Paris May, his daughter, Sorrel May and his partner, Colin Graham.

Cover image by Jennifer Noble at London’s Eel Pie Club.