THE SMALL FACES
Small Faces were an influential British mod/psychedelic band of the 1960s, led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane with Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan (who replaced original organist Jimmy Winston). The Small Faces were all genuine East End mods and they ranked second to The Who as Britain’s premier Mod band. They were signed to Decca records initially and enjoyed major success across Europe between 1965 and 1967 with classic singles like “All Or Nothing” and “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” before moving to a new label.
By late 1967, the band had felt constricted financially & creatively by manager Don Arden (father of Sharon Osbourne), and were lured by Rolling Stones’ publicist Andrew Loog Oldham into signing with his new Immediate label. They soon recorded more expansive psychedelic sounding material including hit pop tunes like “Lazy Sunday” which was included with their UK number one classic concept album Ogdens Nut Gone Flake and “Itchycoo Park” which was their only stateside charting single.
The demise of the Small Faces arrived on New Years Eve 1968, when Steve Marriott walked off stage at The Alexandra Palace in London. Marriott felt that despite the success of the group, he was still not being taken seriously as a musician. He went on to achieve major status in the U.S.A with Peter Frampton in Humble Pie. The others continued as the Faces, opting to drop the “Small” after one LP as new recruits Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood towered above their new band mates. Drummer Kenney Jones later joined The Who after the death of their drummer Keith Moon. As years went on, Marriott kept recording various lineups as Humble Pie but became somewhat of a caricature and casualty of rock excess. Tragically, Steve Marriott died in a house fire in 1991 and Ronnie Lane followed him in 1997 after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Keyboardist Ian McLagan has continued to tour and record with his own band as well as with artists like Billy Bragg, The New Barbarians ( a group composed of Ian, Ron Wood, Keith Richards, Stanley Clarke, and Billy Cobham), and The Rolling Stones. According to announcements at the shows on the New Barbarians tour, the proceeds of the live gigs were going to pay Ronnie Lane’s medical expenses associated with Ronnie’s struggle with Multiple Sclerosis.
The Small Faces remain one of British rock’s most important legacy acts, with their membership having links to so many other acts. Amongst the many bands they influenced were The Jam, Ramones, and Oasis.
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