Cet article non signé est paru dans le numéro 41 du mensuel britannique Beat Instrumental, daté de septembre 1966. Il documente la trajectoire inquiétante des Pretty Things dans les charts, où leurs derniers singles ont peiné à se distinguer. D’après Phil May, c’est la faute à pas de chance : comme ils donnent souvent des concerts à l’étranger, ils ne sont pas sur place quand les ventes décollent, et ils ont aussi du mal à décrocher des passages sur les plateaux de télévision. Mais ça ne l’inquiète pas outre mesure. Les Pretties pensent déjà à la suite, le prochain single et le prochain album, prévu pour Noël (en fin de compte, Emotions ne sortira pas avant le printemps 1967).
Several Pretty Things’ efforts have climbed high in the charts from time to time, but it’s a long time since they broke the surface with the huge splash that promises a really high-flier.
This doesn’t mean their venues only attract a few people—far from it. Wherever they play there are encouraging queues as the fans come in, and there’s never a shortage of bookings. What’s more, the fans are consistent in their appreciation—it doesn’t depend on the group’s chart position.
So why no hit?
Vocalist Phil May gave two reasons. “To plug a record you need to be in the country when it starts to move. Unfortunately, the last two were slow movers, and we were out of the country by the time they began to happen,” he said.
“It’s very annoying to have gone away knowing that everything is left to chance.”
The second reason was television. “You plan a record around television appearances,” he continued, “and we just haven’t been getting them. There was a chance of a recent ‘Ready, Steady, Go,’ but that didn’t come off in the end.”
But one gets the impression it’s the going away that hurts most. To fly off just as people are waking up to your sound is enough to make many people scream with rage. Yet the Pretty Things aren’t particularly unhappy. They’ve earned an enviable reputation on the continent as well.
“In fact, there’s principally only one reason why we’d like a hit,” admitted Phil, “and that’s America.”
That’s one of the few pop capitals they haven’t visited, and having a hit might make it easier to get a visa.
As far as records are concerned the Pretty Things are pretty active. They’re working on a follow-up to “House In The Country” as well as planning material for a forthcoming album.
“We’ve got a couple more Ray Davies numbers,” Phil told me, “but we’ll wait to see if they’re going to do them before we decide.
“We’re writing a lot of stuff, too, but we’ll only use an original for a single if it’s something special. It’s mainly for our next LP which is due around Christmas.”
Despite the full diary, with continental and British tours and recording sessions, the boys still find time to try other things.
“It’s difficult to be a pop singer forever,” he went on.
“If you hang everything on one thing, you end up sweating a lot and get nothing but heartache. If you have other things, you don’t have to worry.”
As we’ve said before, the Pretty Things don’t seem to be doing too much of that.