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S.F. Sorrow

The Pretty Things

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

While Sgt. Pepper's is often regarded as the benchmark for British psychedelic guitar pop, there are those who believe The Pretty Things’ SF Sorrow is more worthy of such praise. Recorded at Abbey Road and released in 1968, SF Sorrow is one of rock's first concept albums. Frontman Phil May's idea was to create a song cycle that mirrored the tragic lifespan of protagonist Sebastian F. Sorrow. From the bright and brazen baroque-pop opener (“SF Sorrow Is Born”) to the heartbroken closing ballad (“Loneliest Person”), The Pretty Things utilized every inkling of studio magic available in 1967 to chronicle Sorrow’s timeline from his birth in a shabby apartment to love, loss, war, insanity, and the stark reality of dying alone. “Bracelets of Fingers” is more psychedelic than Pink Floyd and headier than The Kinks as it wittingly lampoons Sorrow’s awkward teenage libido with lysergic effects, otherworldly harmonies, and fluttering sonic strobes. “I See You” brilliantly portrays Sorrow’s madness with a collage of orchestrations and proto acid-rock. The bonus track “Defecting Grey” might be the best example of freakbeat yet.

Customer Reviews

One of the Best unheard of bands from the best era for grear music

I own all but two Pretty Things on LP good to see Itunes getting some of them in here. This brings back such good memories.

Forgotten gem indeed!

Most Americans have never heard of the British group, The Pretty Things. Bad timing and management kept this psychedelic masterpiece from gaining it's well-deserved ground in 1968. It is said that S.F. Sorrow was the inspiration for Pete Townsend's Tommy. I have listened to this album hundreds of times and it is simply timeless. Each song has a completely different feel to it. No two songs sound remotely similar at all. The album was recorded at Abbey Road studios under the guidance of producer Norman Smith in 1967. Dick Taylor (former Rolling Stones bassist) used George Harrison's Sitar on several of the songs. Outstanding work!

S.F. Sorrow.

This album is so ahead of time, it's concepts is that like "Sgt. Pepper." yet, it's lyrics are heavy in the life of "S.F. Sorrow." once you here it you'd would put this on your list.


Formed: 1963 in Kent, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Pretty Things were the also-rans of the British Invasion, a band that never got its due. Despite this lack of recognition, they were never quite ignored, cultivating a passionate cult that stuck with them through the decades — a cult that was drawn to either their vicious early records, where they sometimes seemed like a meaner version of the Rolling Stones, or to their 1968 psychedelic masterwork S.F. Sorrow. Some of their fans advocate for the entirety of their catalog, noting how the...
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