Years: 1965 - 1978
Styles: Classic Rock, Mod Rock, Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Rhythm and Blues
Jimmy Winston - Backing vocals, Keyboards, Rhythm guitar (in band: 1965)
Kenney Jones - Drums, Percussion, Vocals (in band: 1965 – 1969; 1975 – 1978)
Steve Marriott - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Hammond organ, Harmonica, Harp, Lead guitar, Lead vocals, Piano, Vocals (in band: 1965 – 1969; 1975 – 1978)
Ronnie Lane - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Lead vocals (in band: 1965–1969, 1975)
Ian McLagan - Backing vocals, Bass Guitar, Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals (in band: 1965 – 1969; 1975 – 1978)
Rick Wills - Bass Guitar, Vocals (in band: 1976 - 1978)
Jimmy McCulloch - Guitar (in band: 1977)
After a successful residency at Leicester Squire’s Cavern Club, the band were snapped up by Decca Records as potential usurpers to The Who’s mod crown. Their debut single, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” (1965) graced the Top 20 with its roughshod R&B and amid the ensuing attention the band received , Winston was kicked out after shamelessly trying to promote himself as the lynchpin of group. With Ian McLagan drafted in as a replacement, the band hit Top 3 with the “Sha La La La” (1966) single. Despite the clichéd boy-meets-girl lyric, the record was a wildly exhilarating rush of amphetamine pop and suddenly The Small Faces were big news.
After another top 10 single and critically acclaimed eponymous debut album, the band were being mentioned in the same breath as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Indeed, in August ’66 they deposed The Fab Four’s “Eleanor Rigby” at the top of the charts with “All Or Nothing”. Come 1967, the band left Decca and signed with Andrew Loog-Oldham’s Immediate label, releasing “Here Comes The Nice”. The single marked a change in direction and keeping wing the times, was vaguely psychedelic.
After a adventurous second album that bore a decidedly unadventurous title (”Small Faces” yet again), the band released their most well-known track, the slightly twee, deeply dippy ”Itchycoo Park” (later reduced to dross by M-People). Next came the abrasive “Tin Soldier” (1967) single after which the band began working on their psychedelic masterpiece, “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” (1968). An engaging blend of trippy R&B and cockney charm, the album’s influence was far reaching and it gets re-issued with bthe same tireless regularity as “Ocean Weller Scene” namedrop the band. Timeless as it was, the record proved to be the group’s swansong and after a few singles, including the gorgeous “Afterglow (Of Your Love)" (1969), the band split with Marriott flouncing off to form Humble Pie.
Meanwhile Jones, Lane and McLagan ditched the psychedelic overtones, recruited Ron Wood and Rod Stewart, renaming the band The Faces; lad-rock was born! As Stewart’s solo career skyrocketed, the band began to splinter, unbalanced by Rod’s high profile. After the slightly disappointing “Ohh La La” (1973) album, Lane left to go solo, The Faces basically becoming Stewart’s backing band and after a final below par live album, Ron Wood left for Rolling Stones.
There was a brief Small Faces reunion (minus Lane) in the late 70’s and although the band had a deal with Atlantic, no commercial success was forthcoming. Jones went to join The Who, while Marriott re-formed Humble Pie but any chances of a further reunion were dealt a fatal blow in 1991 when Marriott tragically died in a fire at his Essex home.
In 1996, the Small Faces were awarded the Ivor Novello Outstanding Contribution to British Music "Lifetime Achievement" award.
On 4 September 2007, a Small Faces and Don Arden commemorative plaque, issued by the London Borough of Westminster, was unveiled in their memory in Carnaby Street. An emotional Kenney Jones attended the ceremony and said in a BBC television interview, "To honour the Small Faces after all these years is a terrific achievement. I only wish that Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane and the late Don Arden were here to enjoy this moment with me".
On 7 December 2011, Small Faces (Kenney Jones (drums; born September 16, 1948), Ronnie Lane (bass, vocals; born April 1, 1946, died June 4, 1997), Ian McLagan (keyboards; born May 12, 1945), Steve Marriott (vocals, guitar; born January 30, 1947, died April 20, 1991), Rod Stewart (vocals; born January 10, 1945), Ron Wood (guitar, vocals; born June 1,1947) were announced as 2012 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony was held on 14 April 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.
1. The Great Rock Discography - Martin C.Strong, Four Edition, by Canongate Publishing, Ltd. Edinburgh, p. 760
2. This biography is from Wikipedia, the free collaborative encyclopedia. Used under licence and subject to disclaimers.
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