The Pretty Things

The Pretty Things • BBC2's The Beat Room • December 24, 1964


BBC Television Centre, Studio 3, Wood Lane, White City, West London

BBC2's The Beat Room — Broadcast unconfirmed

Left to right: Dick Taylor, Viv Prince, Phil May, Brian Pendleton, (bassist John Stax out of frame)


The Story

This Christmas-time performance by The Pretty Things on the short-lived BBC2 pop show, The Beat Room, is notable for the existence of live studio recordings logged in BBC archives as originating from Thursday, December 24, 1964. In any format, surviving tapes from this era are rare (only one complete episode of The Beat Room survives). What's unusual is the complete absence of The Pretty Things from any future published Beat Room television listing. Were The Pretties cut from the show? It's possible.

The BBC recording of 'Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut' from this episode (captured in our photograph) reveals Phil May playfully swapping the song's gender pronouns while singing, "I'm in love with your little girl, and your little boy's in love with me.", This small act of rebellion from a slurring frontman with shoulder-length hair could have been all the BBC needed to pull the plug on The Pretty Things' final appearance on The Beat Room.

Songs performed: 'Don't Bring Me Down,' 'Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut,' 'Johnny B. Goode'

Photograph by Tony Gale

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