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Rock band frontman who died at King's Lynn hospital was 'the most honourable human being'



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Colleagues of a singer who died in Lynn following surgery have described him as a "prodigious talent" and "honourable" individual.

Phil May, frontman of the Pretty Things died, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Friday, aged 75. His death is not related to the coronavirus.

He had been living in Norfolk with his family, and died at 7am following surgery to replace his hip joint.

Phil May of the Pretty Things has died in King's Lynn at the age of 75. Here he is shown performing with his band. Picture: Wikipedia
Phil May of the Pretty Things has died in King's Lynn at the age of 75. Here he is shown performing with his band. Picture: Wikipedia

A statement on the band's official website states the frontman was more than just a writer, lyricist and ground-breaker.

"To those of us who knew him intimately, and loved him, personally, he was a remarkable, mercurial, influential and irreplaceable human being and the finest, most honourable human being I have ever known," the tribute says.

"He was funny, creative, quick, decent, insightful, hugely talented in so many ways, infuriating, direct, and unswervingly loyal, in an industry of frauds, and honest, painfully so. This Idol did not have feet of clay."

Phil May of the Pretty Things has died in King's Lynn at the age of 75. Picture: Wikipedia
Phil May of the Pretty Things has died in King's Lynn at the age of 75. Picture: Wikipedia

As the lead singer of the band for more than 50 years, the Kent-born musician ensured his band were part of the London blues-rock scene having been formed in September 1963.

The last Pretty Things album, 'Bare As Bone, Bright As Blood', is due to be released later this year, with the band lamenting the fact Mr May will never see the release having been "a real labour for him to complete".

As part of his rockstar image, Mr May ensured his hair was as long as possible, and as a result, the band has said many will remember him as “the man with the longest hair in Britain”.

The band's tribute continues: "He was a unique, and consistently challenging and creative man, who was never ready to give up his freedom to be what he chose to be, for money or even fame. He, and his long-time partner on stage and record, Dick Taylor, always danced to a different drummer, and one with a mesmerising beat.

"So, he will hopefully be remembered by you as the great, unique and original, mould-breaking artist he always was, and not just some silly pop star with nothing to say and too much time to say it. Phil was different. We will all remember him with love, affection, and sadness, not a day will pass without him being in my, personal thoughts and in my heart.

"I never met anyone like him, and I won’t ever again. We loved Phil, as many of you did…… The King is dead. We won’t find another….. Goodbye, Phil. We will miss you every day, and remember you with fondness and a smile."

The Pretty Things were respected by the likes of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix and they were the first people to hear Sgt Pepper when the Beatles recorded next door to them at Abbey Road.

Arguably, their most enduring image comes from their 1968 album 'SF Sorrow', the band's fourth release described by rock critic Alexis Petridis as "one of the few consistently brilliant British psych albums".

Phil May had previously been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema. He had been in poor health when the band performed their last live concert in December 2018 at the London O2's Indigo venue.

He is survived by daughter Sorrel, son Paris, and partner Colin Graham.



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