Before he achieved fame as a member of The Yardbirds and formed Led Zeppelin that would become one of the biggest bands of all time, Jimmy Page was also one of the most respected session guitarists in London. He had the opportunity to work with countless incredible artists in the early 60s and had the chance to see up-close the evolution of British music in the studios.
Over the decades he talked a lot about musicians who appeared in the United Kingdom at that time and even mentioned one less-known single from that decade saying it was one of the best.
One of the best singles from the 60s according to Jimmy Page
If Rock and Roll started in the United States in the 1950s, the music genre really evolved across the sea in the United Kingdom in the following decade. It was mainly because of The Beatles and all the other incredible groups that were influenced by what they were doing. There were countless incredible groups there at that time that didn’t get all the attention they should have. One of them was The Pretty Things, formed in London in 1963. The band released their self-titled debut album in 1965, which had the track “Rosalyn”, also released as a single. That was the song which caught Page’s attention.
In an interview with Uncut magazine in 2017, the musician was talking about bands who were part of Led Zeppelin’s record label Swan Song. The Pretty Things were one of the groups and he praised the track “Rosalyn”. Page said it was one of the best from that era. “The Pretty Things were a band that were really changing their music. (They) had done because they probably did one of the best singles way back in the day with ‘Rosalyn’. That’s wild! That’s serious!”
“And then they had gone through SF Sorrow. The music that they were doing on Swan Song was incredible. It was the sort of band that when someone said, ‘Oh, some tapes have come in.’ I was really keen to hear what they’d done. Because it was always so good! Good writing, good performance from everybody. A fine band,” Jimmy Page said.
At the time, the single reached the position number 41 in the United Kingdom charts. The track was written by the songwriter Jimmy Duncan, who was the co-manager of the group. He had the help of Bill Farley, who was the studio owner where the band was recording. At the time the band was formed by Phil May (Vocals), Dick Taylor (Guitar), Brian Pendleton (Guitar), John Stax (Bass) and Viv Prince (Drums).
The track was covered by David Bowie years later and released on his album “Pin Ups” (1973).
Page said they were making very good records
The Swan Song record label was formed in 1973 and came to an end in 1983. It was over three years after Led Zeppelin broke-up following the tragic death of the drummer John Bonham at the age of 32. A few years before, in 1977, in an interview with Trouser Press, Jimmy Page explained that the label was focused on good bands and artists. They were not trying to develop new ones. That’s why they went after bands like The Pretty Things, that he also praised at the time.
“Consequently the people we were looking for for the label would be people who knew where they were going themselves. We didn’t really want to get bogged down in having to develop artists. We wanted people who were together enough to handle that type of thing themselves, like the Pretty Things. Even though they didn’t happen, the records they made were very, very good,” Jimmy Page said.
The group was active from 1963 to 1976. But they reformed in 1978 and were active until 2018, reuniting again in 2020. They have released 14 studio albums over the decades. But as part of Swan Song, The Pretty Things released two albums. They were: “Silk Torped” (1974) and “Savage Eye” (1976), both produced by Norman Smith.
The only two original members who were part of their reunion in 2020 were Phil May (Vocals, harmonica) and Dick Taylor (Guitar). May passed away in the same year at the age of 75. The cause was complications following a hip surgery after a cycling accident.