S.F. Sorrow

S.F. Sorrow

Infobox Album |
Name = S.F. Sorrow
Type = studio
Artist = The Pretty Things

Released =
Recorded = Abbey Road Studios
Genre = Psychedelic rock
Length = 40:59
Label = Columbia SX-6306 (mono), SCX-6306 (stereo)
USA: Rare Earth RS-506
Producer = Norman Smith, engineer: Peter Mew
Reviews =
* Allmusic Rating|4|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:pr5g8q9nbtn4 link]
Last album = "Emotions"
This album = "S.F. Sorrow"
Next album = "Parachute"

"S.F. Sorrow" is the title of a 1968 LP by the British rock group The Pretty Things.

One of the first rock concept albums, "S.F. Sorrow" was based on a short story by singer-guitarist Phil May. The album is structured as a song cycle, telling the story of the main character, Sebastian F. Sorrow, from birth through love, war, tragedy, madness, and the disillusionment of old age.

Although the album is also a Rock Opera, it has been stated by The Who that it had no major influence on Pete Townshend and his writing of their album "Tommy" (1969). [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F05E0D6133FF930A3575AC0A96E958260 THE POP LIFE; The First Rock Opera (No, Not 'Tommy')] ]

The songs were recorded over several months during 1967 at EMI's famous Abbey Road Studios in London, during the same period when The Beatles and Pink Floyd were recording "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" respectively.

Working with noted EMI staff producer Norman "Hurricane" Smith (who had engineered the earlier Beatles recordings) and house engineer Peter Mew, the group experimented with the latest sound technology, including the Mellotron and early electronic tone generators, often employing gadgets and techniques devised on the spot by Abbey Road's technicians.

Phil May has emphatically stated that Smith was the only person at EMI who was fully supportive of the project, and that his technical expertise was invaluable to the effects and sounds on the album; May once even referred to Smith as a "sixth member" of the band. This attitude was in marked contrast to Pink Floyd's unhappiness with Smith.

Group lineup

* Phil May (vocals)
* Dick Taylor (lead guitar, vocals)
* John Povey (organ, sitar, percussion, vocals)
* Wally Allen (aka Waller) (bass, guitar, vocals, wind instruments, piano)
* Skip Alan (drums)
* Twink (drums)

Track listing

Side 1
# "S.F. Sorrow Is Born" – 3:12
# "Bracelets of Fingers" – 3:41
# "She Says Good Morning" – 3:23
# "Private Sorrow" – 3:51
# "Balloon Burning" – 3:51
# "Death" – 3:05Side 2
# "Baron Saturday" – 4:01
# "The Journey" – 2:46
# "I See You" – 3:56
# "Well of Destiny" – 1:46
# "Trust" – 2:49
# "Old Man Going" – 3:09
# "Loneliest Person" – 1:29


"S.F. Sorrow"'s narrative is different than others in the Rock Opera/Concept Album genre: while "Tommy" and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" relay their concept through the lyrics of their songs, The Pretty Things tell the bulk of the story through small paragraph-like chapters which were printed between each song's lyrics in the liner notes of the LP and the CD. These explanatory notes were also read aloud between song performances by Arthur Brown during The Pretty Things' only live performance of the opera.

Like "Tommy", "S.F. Sorrow" opens with the birth of the story's protagonist. Sebastian F. Sorrow is born in a small nameless town to ordinary parents in a house called "Number Three." The town is supported by a factory of some sort, referred to as the "Misery Factory." ("S.F. Sorrow is Born") Sorrow, an imaginative boy, has a relatively normal childhood until it ends abruptly when he needs to get a job. He goes to work with his father at the Misery Factory, from which many men have been laid off. This might make S.F. the object of hate in a sense that he might be a scab in the story, or perhaps the young boy who is taking some older man's job. ("Bracelets of Fingers")

Sorrow's life is not yet over, though. Joy still exists for him in the form of a pretty girl across the street. She says "good morning" to him every day, and he thinks about her constantly. This is the factor that keeps him going despite his childhood's abrupt ending. The two fall in love and become engaged, but their marriage plans are cut short when Sorrow is drafted. ("She Says Good Morning")

Sorrow joins a light infantry and goes off to fight in a war, possibly World War I. Sorrow sinks into a daze, living out the entire war in a funk. Soon the sounds of gunfire and artillery become the rhythm to his life in a daydream. He survives the war and settles down in a land called "Amerik" (obviously referring to the country America, because the first words of the song Balloon Burning are "New York"). Sorrow's fiancee travels by a balloon, The "Windenberg" (Hindenberg) to join him, but it bursts into flame at arrival ("Balloon Burning"), killing all aboard. Sorrow is left alone, his beloved fiancee dead ("Death").

Sorrow drifts into a state of depression that leads him on an epic journey to the center of his subconscious. When wandering the streets, he encounters the mysterious Baron Saturday (a figure from Haitian mythology). The black cloaked–Saturday invites Sorrow to take a journey, and then, without waiting for a response, "borrows his eyes" and initiates a trip through the Underworld. ("Baron Saturday")

The trippish quest begins by taking flight into the air, where Sorrow is driven by a whip-cracking Baron Saturday. Sorrow thinks he is flying toward the moon, which would have been lovely as he always had a fascination with it, but instead he sees that it is instead his own face. The Baron pushes him through the mouth of the face and then down the throat where they find a set of oak doors. Saturday throws them open and prompts S.F. Sorrow inside where he finds a room full of mirrors. ("The Journey") Each one of them shows a memory from his childhood, which Baron Saturday suggests that he studies well. After the hall of mirrors comes a long winding staircase which brings him to two opaque mirrors that show him the horrible truths and revelations from his life. ("I See You")

Sorrow is destroyed by his journey; it leads him to understand that no one can be trusted any longer, and that society will only do away with you when you become old and serve it no longer. ("Trust") He is driven into a dark mental seclusion where he suffers from eternal loneliness. Much like "The Wall", S.F. Sorrow is the tale of a man who has endured hardships which he uses to build into a mental wall that cuts him off from the rest of the waking world, and leaves them without light. ("Old Man Going") At the end of the album he identifies himself as "the loneliest person in the world." ("Loneliest Person")


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sorrow — n Sorrow, grief, heartache, heartbreak, anguish, woe, regret, though not close synonyms, share the idea of distress of mind. Sorrow is the most general term, implying a sense of loss or of guilt {when you depart from me, sorrow abides and… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Sorrow — is the name of: * Several songs: ** Sorrow (Pink Floyd song), a 1987 song by Pink Floyd from their album A Momentary Lapse of Reason ** Sorrow (Box Car Racer song) 9th track on Box Car Racer s self titled album (2002). Box Car Racer ** Sorrow… …   Wikipedia

  • Sorrow (canción de Flyleaf) — «Sorrow» Sencillo de Flyleaf del álbum Flyleaf Género(s) Hard rock, metal alternativo y rock cristiano Duración 2:45 Discográfica Octone Records …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sorrow — puede referirse a: Sorrow, sencillo de Bad Religion. Sorrow, canción de Flyleaf. Sorrow, canción de Pink Floyd. Esta página de desambiguación cataloga artículos relacionados con el mismo título. Si llegaste aquí a través de …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sorrow (canción de Bad Religion) — «Sorrow» Sencillo de Bad Religion Publicación 2001 Grabación 2001 Género(s) Punk Rock y Hardcore Melodico Duración 3: 21 Discográfica …   Wikipedia Español

  • Sorrow — Sor row, n. [OE. sorwe, sorewe, sor?e, AS. sorg, sorh; akin to D. zorg care, anxiety, OS. sorga, OHG. sorga, soraga, suorga, G. sorge, Icel., Sw., & Dan. sorg, Goth. sa[ u]rga; of unknown origin.] The uneasiness or pain of mind which is produced… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sorrow — Sor row, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Sorrowed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Sorrowing}.] [OE. sorowen, sorwen, sorhen, AS. sorgian; akin to Goth. sa[ u]rgan. See {Sorrow}, n.] To feel pain of mind in consequence of evil experienced, feared, or done; to grieve; to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds — Album par Amon Amarth Sortie Avril 1996 Enregistrement Novembre 1995 Abyss Studio Durée 24:42 Genre Death metal mélodique …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sorrow — ► NOUN 1) deep distress caused by loss or disappointment. 2) a cause of sorrow. ► VERB ▪ feel sorrow. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • sorrow — [sär′ō, sôr′ō] n. [ME sorwe < OE sorg, akin to Ger sorge < IE base * swergh , to worry, be ill > Sans sūrkṣati, he worries about, Lith sergù, to be sick] 1. mental suffering caused by loss, disappointment, etc.; sadness, grief, or regret …   English World dictionary

  • Sorrow — Chanson par Pink Floyd extrait de l’album A Momentary Lapse of Reason Pays  Royaume Uni …   Wikipédia en Français