S.F. Sorrow is considered the first rock concept album which uses rock opera. It has been suggested by critics and the band The Pretty Things that the rock band The Who used it as an influence to write their hit album Tommy. The Who deny it even though there are witnesses who state otherwise.
The music industry is made up of people who do things first, then people who stand on their backs and take all the credit. Songwriter and led singer Phil May is the former. He wrote the history and life of Sebastian F. Sorrow from beginning to old age. He wrote every depressing word. Unfortunately fate was not on their side. The record company delayed the release in USA long enough that The Who released Tommy and The Pretty Things were thought of as the copycats.
The real problem with the album is that there is not a “hit” song or one that was promoted. The closest they come is with “Baron Saturday“. It is one of the catchiest song on the whole album. If you wonder what or who is Baron Saturday click here.
My other favourite track is “Trust”. All the songs on this album are pretty depressing, but this one has a catchy sadness,
“Excuse me please as i wipe a tear
Away from an eye that sees there’s nothing left to trust
Finding that their minds are grey
And there’s no sorrow in the world that’s left to trust”.
“Old Man Going” sounds different because of the vocals. I thought I was listening to Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe for a minute. Yes, I know who they are because I listened to them when their first two albums Too Fast for Love and Shout at the Devil came out and a little of the third one, but I was over them by their fourth album.
The Pretty Things are not so pretty by the end of the album. It continues to spiral downward. The last song is “Loneliest Person” and the lyrics are a bit narcissistic in my opinion,
“You might be the loneliest person in the world
You’ll never be as lonely as me”.
He thinks he is the loneliest person on the world. I think I am the loneliest person in the world. Who is right? In my mind, I am definitely right. Maybe we are equals.
The album is amazing, even without a hitmaker. I really enjoyed it, especially the side two. There are some bonus tracks on Spotify that were not released in the 60s, which are good too. I have not listened to The Who’s Tommy, but I already know this is overall a better album. 9/10.