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The "Pretty Things": Growing Old Disgracefully Hardcover – 1 Apr 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: SAF Publishing Ltd (1 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0946719454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0946719457
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

The story of the bad boys of the British blues boom. Their album 'Parachute' was Rolling Stone's Album of the Year in 1970. Here are the stories of the trashed hotel rooms, the sexual ambiguity and the infighting, plus a re-appraisal of some remarkable albums that proved crucial to the development of British rock music.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By valedied on 1 Oct 2002
Want to know about one of the craziest bands ever, who've now been going for 40 years?! Who cares about the Stones or The Who; these guys are STILL barmy, and their story is worth reading. Gets a bit bogged down at the end as the author clearly doesn't like new manager Mark St John, but still a fascinating insight into how a 60s/70s band lives on into the new Millennium. And find out which of these wild-men is now a bathroom salesman (and still plays with the band!). Can't wait till (lead-singer) Phil May's book is published!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 April 2005
Verified Purchase
Having been a Pretty Things fan since "Don't Bring Me Down" - a track which would certainly make my all-time top 10 - I bought this book to see what had happened to the band since their early R&B days. In many ways I was not disappointed, and while reading it I actually bought "SF Sorrow" and "The Psychedelic Years". The book has obviously been thoroughly researched - or at least as thoroughly as the labyrinthine story of the band allowed. The author is obviously a dedicated fan, although he sometimes does rather wear his heart on his sleeve, allowing personal feelings and prejudices to surface. The detail and inside information about the many personalities involved, including most of the (past and present) band members certainly make the book a worthwhile read. There is, however, a big BUT...the whole thing is seriously let down by the writing. Whether that is the fault of the author himself or the editor I couldn't say, but the punctuation and grammar is generally appalling. I did find it rather ironic that towards the end of the book Lakey refers (twice) to Phil May's [having] "yet to master the nuances of punctuation, spelling and grammar...". Overall then, good, but flawed.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter Summers on 14 Dec 2003
This is an entertaining read for anyone with an interest in Sixties British Invasion bands and an educative read for any budding wannabe rock stars.
The book details the story of a bunch of periodically talented blokes who almost crashed the big time on numerous occasions. They were thwarted by their business naivety, there addiction to the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, crooked management, inept recording companies and so on.
I've always wondered what attracted me to the Pretty Things and the book crystalised this for me - it's the raw, aggressive style of their early work (they did have a 'punk' attitude and I love the Sex Pistols et al.) But by contrast, as the band developed, there there is also the highly melodic and pychedelic 'Parachute' album followed almost a decade later by the 'new wave' fire of the 'Cross Talk' album.
The stories behind all the albums is in the book and they are all fascinating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Garcia on 11 May 2004
Imagine a band that created melodies as good as The Beatles. A band that rocked as heavily as Zepplin. A band that could have made it so big yet somehow failed due to record company inadequacy and their own psychological turmoil.
The Pretty Things travelled many musical paths and proved that they could excell at everything other than selling in any great quantity.
Like many 60s bands they were ripped off due to their naivete and the greed that is fundamental to record company self-interest. Unlike most of the other 60s bands The Pretty Things successfully sued EMI and Polygram and as well as receiving hundreds of thousands by way of settlement they also regained the copyrights to their music.
This book details their weird jounrey through the gutter of the music industry and how they have persevered to this day.
Excellent read and an indictment of the business.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By grimtraveller on 28 Dec 2012
The author, Alan Lakey, has done a remarkable job in the writing of this book. Considering Phil May, first drummer Viv Andrews, Skip Alan, Twink, Vic Unitt and Mark St John refused to be interviewed or couldn't be found, the story has a well rounded depth to it and is a great read, those that did get involved really balancing things out.
As with most biographical accounts involving different people, it's impossible to determine the actual truth as wildly differing accounts of the same events occur regularly. Certain myths are debunked however, such as the one on the liner notes of the "SF Sorrow" CD that said that the album was recorded at the same time at Abbey Road as the Beatles were doing "Sergeant Pepper" and the Pink Floyd were doing "The piper at the gates of dawn". This regularly appears on internet sites and has become more than urban legend, yet a cursory glance at facts like studio dates, record contracts and record releases show this to be an impossibility, not to mention the producer Norman Smith in the book saying it wasn't true.
Also surprisingly interesting is the chapter dedicated to the bands' legal dispute with EMI. Usually, these kind of detailed wranglings are the stuff of snorefests, but Lakey's approach is anything but boring and reads as a sinister piece of subterfuge with much fascinating thrust and counter thrust.
His general dislike of the band's manager, Mark St John, unfortunately comes through very strongly although he tries to be fair by including many balancing quotes from others.
Someone earlier mentioned the poor punctuation and that really is prevalent. Whoever proof read the book wasn't on the ball ! But it's not sufficient to spoil what is a fantastic read.

The prices I see quoted for this book are pretty ridiculous but if you can get a copy, do. As a rock biography lover, I have to say this is one of the best.
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