Small Faces: Wikis

  
  
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Small Faces
Origin London, England
Genres Rock, R&B, psychedelic pop, beat, soul, pop
Years active 1965-1969, 1975-1978
Labels Decca, Immediate, Atlantic
Associated acts Humble Pie, Faces
Website TheSmallFaces.com
Former members
Steve Marriott
Ronnie Lane (1965-1969, 1975)
Kenney Jones
Ian McLagan (1966-1969, 1975-1978)
Jimmy Winston (1965)
Rick Wills (1977-1978)
Jimmy McCulloch (1977)

Also:
Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood were members of the separate (but related) band Faces, whose 1970 album was issued in the US credited to Small Faces.

Small Faces were an English rock and roll band from East London, heavily influenced by American rhythm and blues.[1] The group was founded in 1965 by members Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, although by 1966 Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan as the band's keyboardist.

The band is remembered as one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s,[2] With memorable hit songs such as "Itchycoo Park", "Lazy Sunday", "All or Nothing", "Tin Soldier", and their concept album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, they later evolved into one of the UK's most successful psychedelic acts before disbanding in 1969.[3] After the Small Faces disbanded, three of the members were joined by Ronnie Wood as guitarist, and Rod Stewart as their lead vocalist, both from The Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed the Faces.

They are also acknowledged as being one of the biggest original influences on the Britpop movement of the 1990s.[4]

Despite the fact they were together just four years in their original incarnation, the Small Faces' music output from the mid to late sixties remains among the most acclaimed British mod and psychedelic music of that era. (A revived version of the band also existed from 1975 to 1978.)

In 1996, Small Faces were belatedly awarded the Ivor Novello Outstanding Contribution to British Music "Lifetime Achievement" award.[5][6]

Contents

History

Original line-up: 1965-1969

Origins (1965)

Lane and Marriott met in 1965 while Marriott was working at the J60 Music Bar in Manor Park, London. Lane came in with his father Stan to buy a bass guitar, struck up a conversation with Marriott, bought the bass and went back to Marriott's house after work to listen to records. They recruited friends Kenny Jones and Jimmy Winston (born James Edward Winston Langwith, 20 April 1945, in Stratford, East London), who switched from guitar to the organ. They rapidly progressed from rehearsals at The Ruskin Arms public house (which was owned by Winston's parents) in Manor Park, London, to ramshackle pub gigs, to semi-professional club dates. Marriott's unique and powerful voice attracted rising attention. Singer Elkie Brooks was struck by Marriott's vocal prowess and stage presence, and recommended them to a local club owner, Maurice King. Impressed, King began finding them work in London and beyond. The group chose the name, Small Faces, because of the members' shared small stature.

The band's early song set included R&B/soul classics such as "Jump Back", James Brown's "Please Please Please", Smokey Robinson's "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" and Ben E. King's "Stand by Me". The band also performed two Marriott/Lane original compositions, a fast and loud "Come on Children" and the "speed enhanced" song "E too D", in which Marriott would display his considerable vocal abilities in the style of his heroes and role models, Otis Redding and Bobby Bland. "E too D", which appears on their first album, Small Faces, is named after the guitar chord structure. On US compilation albums the track is titled "Running Wild".[7]

They were kicked out of their first out-of-town gig, a tough working men's club in Sheffield, after only three songs. The crowd at that concert was mainly made up of Teddy boys and hard-drinking workers. Despondent, they literally walked into the mod-oriented King Mojo Club nearby (then owned by a young Peter Stringfellow) and offered to perform for free. They played a set that left the local mods wanting more and started a strong buzz. During a crucial residency at Leicester Square's Cavern Club, they were strongly supported by Sonny & Cher, who were living in London at the time and had first seen them perform in Sheffield.

The Decca years (1966-67)

They signed a management contract with management impresario Don Arden, and they were in turn signed to Decca Records for recording. They released a string of high-energy mod/soul singles on the label. Their debut single was in 1965 with "Whatcha Gonna Do About It", a Top 15 UK singles chart hit. Marriott and Lane are credited with creating the instrumental to the song, "borrowing" the guitar riff from the Solomon Burke record "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love". The lyrics were written by The Shadows band member Ian Samwell (who arguably wrote the first British rock and roll record, "Move It").[8]

The group failed to capitalise on the success of their first single with the follow-up which was written by Marriott/Lane, the hard-edged mod number "I've Got Mine". The band appeared as themselves in a 1965 crime film titled Dateline Diamonds starring Kenneth Cope as the band's manager. It featured them playing their second single release, "I've Got Mine". Arden thought the band's song would receive publicity by the film; however, the film's UK release was delayed, and "I've Got Mine" subsequently failed to chart.[9]

Shortly thereafter, Jimmy Winston was released from the band. The most common explanations for his dismissal are a clash of personalities with Marriott or a lack of musical talent, though rumours persist he was released at least in part because he compromised the band's integrity of image by being too tall, since the others all stood around 5' 4". (Indeed, the group took their name from a remark by a female friend of Marriott's, who noted that the band members all had "small faces". The name stuck in part because of the mod slang usage of the word "face" to mean a popular, trendsetting individual.) In a 2000 interview, Kenney Jones stated the reason Winston was fired from the band was because "He (Winston) got above his station and tried to compete with Steve Marriott."[10] Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan, whose keyboard talents and diminutive stature fit with the groove of the band perfectly.

The new Small Faces line-up hit the charts with their third single, "Sha-La-La-La-Lee", released on 28 January 1966. It was written for the group by Mort Shuman (who wrote many of Elvis Presley's biggest singles, including "Viva Las Vegas") and popular English entertainer and singer Kenny Lynch. The song was a big hit in Britain, peaking at number three in the UK singles chart. Their first album, Small Faces, released on 11 May 1966, was also a considerable success. They rapidly rose in popularity with each chart success, becoming regulars on British pop TV shows such as Ready Steady Go! and Top of the Pops, and toured incessantly in the UK and Europe. Their popularity peaked in August 1966, when "All or Nothing", their fifth single, hit the top of the UK charts. According to Marriott's mother Kay, he is said to have written the song about his breakup with his ex-fiancee Susan Oliver. On the success of "All or Nothing" they were set to tour America with The Lovin' Spoonful and The Mamas & the Papas; however, these plans had to be shelved by Don Arden after details of Ian McLagan's recent drug conviction were leaked.[11]

By 1966, despite being one of the highest-grossing live acts in the country and scoring many successful singles, including four UK Top 10 chart hits, financially the band had nothing to show for their efforts. After a messy confrontation with the notorious Arden (who tried to face down the boys' parents by claiming that the whole band were addicted to heroin), they broke with both Arden and Decca.

The Intermediate years (1967-68)

They were almost straight away offered a deal with the newly established Immediate label, formed by ex-Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Given a virtual open account at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, the band progressed rapidly, working closely with engineer Glyn Johns. Their first Immediate single was the daring "Here Come the Nice", which was clearly influenced by their drug use, and managed to escape censorship despite the fact that it openly referred to speed (amphetamines). A second self-titled Immediate album, Small Faces, followed, which, if not a major seller, was very highly regarded by other musicians and would exert a strong influence on a number of bands both at home and abroad.

At the same time, their old label Decca released a spoiler album called From The Beginning, combining old hits with a number of previously unreleased recordings. It included earlier versions of songs they re-recorded for Immediate, including "My Way Of Giving", which they had demoed for Chris Farlowe, and "(Tell Me) Have You Ever Seen Me", which they had given to Apostolic Intervention. The album also featured their stage favourite "Baby, Don't You Do It", featuring Jimmy Winston on lead vocals and guitar.

Their late-1967 single "Itchycoo Park" (single released Nov. 11, 1967) is Small Faces' best-remembered songs and was also the first of the band's only two charting singles in the United States, reaching No. 16 (Jan. 27, 1968 for 3 weeks). "Itchycoo Park" was the first British record to use flanging, the technique of playing two identical master tapes simultaneously but altering the speed of one of them very slightly by touching the "flange" of one tape reel, which yielded a distinctive comb-filtering effect; it was an effect developed by Olympic Studios engineer George Chkiantz in 1966. "Itchycoo Park" was followed by "Tin Soldier" (originally written by Marriott for American singer P.P. Arnold, who can be heard clearly on backing vocals; single released Mar. 16, 1968); it remains one of their least-known singles. However, when the song only reached No. 73 on the US Hot 100 chart, Immediate Records was said to have abandoned its short-lived effort to establish the act in America.

"Lazy Sunday", released in 1968, was a Cockney music-hall style song released by Immediate against the band's wishes. It was written by Steve Marriott as a joke because he was always getting thrown out of his rented accommodation by neighbors complaining about the noise he made. The single reached number 2 in the British charts, but the band continued to resent the fact that their sound was being represented by what they saw as a novelty single. It never charted on the U.S. charts, but it is still their second-best remembered songs. Many years later, "Lazy Sunday" was to inspire Blur's hit song "Parklife" in 1994.

The final official song release during the band's career was folksy sounding "The Universal" in the summer of 1968. The song was recorded by adding studio over-dubs to a basic track that Marriott cut live in his back garden in Essex with an acoustic guitar, taped on a home cassette recorder, complete with his dogs heard barking in the background.[12] The single's subsequent lack of success in the charts (it reached number 16 in the UK Top 40 singles chart), and critical panning in the UK music press, devastated Marriott, who then refused to write music for the next few months.

Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake (1968)

At home in England, their career reached an all-time high after the release of their classic psychedelic influenced album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake on 24 May 1968. It is widely regarded as a classic album, and featured an innovative round cover, the first of its kind, designed to resemble an antique tobacco tin. It stayed #1 in the UK Albums Chart for six weeks (it reached #159 in the US).

The two-act concept album consisted of six original songs on side one and a whimsical psychedelic fairy tale on side two relating the adventures of "Happiness Stan" and his need to find out where the moon went when it waned. It was narrated by Stanley Unwin, after original plans to have Spike Milligan narrate the album were dashed when he turned them down.

Critics raved, and the album sold well, but the band were confronted by the practical problem that they had created a studio masterpiece which was virtually impossible to recreate on the road. Ogdens' was performed as a whole just once, and memorably, live in the studio on the BBC television programme Colour Me Pop.

Breakup and release of The Autumn Stone (1969)

After several months of breakup rumours in the British press, Marriott officially quit the band at the beginning of 1969, walking off stage during a live New Year's Eve gig. Citing frustration at their failure to break out of their pop image and their inability to reproduce the more sophisticated material properly on stage, Steve was already looking ahead to a new band, Humble Pie, with Peter Frampton. On the subject of the group's breakup, Kenney Jones, in an interview with John Hellier (2001), said:

I wish we had been a little bit more grown up at the time, if we had played Ogdens’ live it would have boosted our confidence so much, we were labelled as a pop band, which definitely got up Steve’s nose more than we realised. I wish we had been more like The Who in the fact that when they have problems they stick together until they’ve overcome them, Steve just thought well how do we top Ogdens’ and he was off. Ogdens’ was a masterpiece if we had played it live we would have gone on to even greater things, I reckon we were on the verge of crossing the great divide and becoming a heavier band.

[13]

A posthumous album, The Autumn Stone, was released later in the year, and included the major Immediate recordings, a rare live concert performance, and a number of previously unreleased tracks, including the classic Swinging Sixties instrumental "Wide Eyed Girl on the Wall" and "Donkey Rides, A Penny, A Glass", co-written by Ian McLagan. The final single, "Afterglow (Of Your Love)", was released in 1969 after the band had ceased to exist. Since there was no one to promote it, it only reached the UK Singles Chart Top 40.

New Small Faces line-up -- "Small Faces" vs. "Faces": 1970

After Small Faces split, Lane, Jones and McLagan floundered briefly before joining forces with former members of the Jeff Beck Group, singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood. This line-up dropped the "Small" tag and became simply Faces -- at least in the UK.

However, hoping to capitalize on the Small Faces' earlier success, record company executives wanted the band to keep their old name. The band objected, arguing the personnel changes resulted in a group very different from Small Faces.

As a compromise, this line-up's first album in the UK was credited as First Step by Faces, while in the US the same album was released as FIrst Step by Small Faces.[14] The album was only a mild commercial success, and the record companies perceived no further need to market this new line-up as "Small Faces". Accordingly, all subsequent albums by this incarnation of the band appeared under the new name Faces, on both sides of the Atlantic. However, North American CD reissues of First Step still credit the band as Small Faces.

See entry on Faces (band) for further information about this line-up.

The hiatus: 1970-1975

Small Faces ceased to exist from 1970 to 1975.

  • Jones and McLagan stayed with the 'sequel' group Faces until their break up in 1975.
  • Lane, also a member of Faces, exited this group slightly earlier, in 1973. With his backing band "Slim Chance", Lane then released several singles and albums from 1973-1976, including the 1974 UK hit "How Come".
  • Marriott's first post-Small Faces venture was with the rock group Humble Pie, formed with ex-Herd member Peter Frampton. The group was a huge hit in the U.S., though not in the UK. Humble Pie split in 1975 due to financial problems and 'musical differences', and Marriott went solo.

Reunion: 1975-1978

Following the breakup of Faces in 1975, the original Small Faces line-up reformed briefly to film videos miming to the reissued "Itchycoo Park" (a Top 10 hit for the second time) and "Lazy Sunday" (which went Top 40). The group tried recording together again but Lane left after only two rehearsals due to an argument. Unknown to the others, he was just beginning to show the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and his behaviour was misinterpreted by Marriott and the others as a drunken tantrum.

Nevertheless, McLagan, Jones and Marriott decided to stay together as Small Faces, recruiting ex-Humble Pie and Roxy Music bassist Rick Wills to take Lane's place. This iteration of Small Faces recorded two albums: Playmates (1977) and 78 In The Shade (1978), released on Atlantic Records. Guitarist Jimmy McCulloch also briefly joined this line-up after leaving Wings. Paul McCartney, who had found McCulloch increasingly difficult to work with, allegedly phoned Marriott and said, "You can have him." McCulloch's tenure with the band lasted only for a few months in late 1977.

Unfortunately for the band, mainstream music in Britain was rapidly changing direction, punk rock having been established around this time. The reunion albums, as a result, were both critical and commercial failures. Small Faces broke up again, this time for good, by late 1978.

Post-reunion activity: 1979-present

Kenney Jones became the drummer of The Who after Keith Moon's death in 1978,[15] and continued to work with The Who through the early 1980s. Most recent work includes a band he formed and named "The Jones Gang".

Ian McLagan went on to perform with artists such as Bonnie Raitt, the Rolling Stones, David Lindley and his band, El Rayo-X, and more recently Billy Bragg. In 1998 he published his autobiography, All the Rage. He now lives in the small town of Manor (pronounced 'Maynor') just outside Austin, Texas, and is bandleader to his own "Bump Band".

Steve Marriott recorded with a revived line-up of Humble Pie from 1979 to 1982. Along with Ronnie Lane, he formed a new band called The Majik Mijits in 1981, but this band's lone album was not issued until 2000. Later in the 1980s, Marriott went solo, playing nearly 200 concerts a year. On Saturday, 20 April 1991, Steve Marriott died in his sleep when a fire, caused by a cigarette, swept through his home in Essex, England.[16] His death came just a few days after he had begun work on a new album in America with his former Humble Pie bandmate, Peter Frampton.

Ronnie Lane's recording career was curtailed by the effects of multiple sclerosis, though he issued collaborative albums with Pete Townshend and Ronnie Wood in the late 1970's. He moved to the United States and continued to perform live into the early 1990s. Lane died at his home in Trinidad, Colorado on 4 June 1997, after battling MS for nearly 20 years.

Rick Wills (of the reunited Small Faces, 1977-78) played on David Gilmour's 1978 album, David Gilmour, then joined Foreigner later that year. He stayed with Foreigner for 14 years, until 1992. Subsequently, Wills was a member of Bad Company from 1993 to 1999 (and again, briefly in 2001). Currently, he lives in Cambridge, England, and works with Kenney Jones in "The Jones Gang".

Jimmy McCulloch's stint with Small Faces only lasted for a few months in late 1977. Shortly after leaving, he started a band called Wild Horses with Brian Robertson, Jimmy Bain and Kenney Jones. He and Jones both left the band before they issued any recordings. McCulloch then became a member of The Dukes, who issued one album in 1979. That same year, McCulloch died at the age of twenty-six from a heroin overdose in his flat in Maida Vale.

Commemorative plaque

Small Faces Plaque

On 4 September 2007, a Small Faces and Don Arden commemorative plaque, issued by the London Borough of Westminster,[17] 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".[18]

Discography

References

  1. ^ Small Faces formed in 1965 [1]
  2. ^ Small Faces, one of the most acclaimed and influential mod bands of the 1960s.Retrieved 04/09/07
  3. ^ disbanded in 1969 [2]
  4. ^ Small Faces are widely acknowledged as the 'ultimate Mod band' and pioneers of the 1990s Brit Pop movement http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20070904_smallfaces.shtml / Retrieved 06/09/07
  5. ^ All Too Beautiful Hewitt/Hellier p.297
  6. ^ The Ivor Novello Awards - About PRS
  7. ^ Small Faces Story Part 2 [3]
  8. ^ Steve Marriott All Too Beautiful p.93-94
  9. ^ Radio London Fab 40 Supplement - Dateline Diamonds
  10. ^ the Official Faces Homepage
  11. ^ [The Small Faces & Other Stores Twelker + Schmitt - pg 42]
  12. ^ IanMcLagan.com - The Story of the Small Faces in Their Own Words: The Songs
  13. ^ The darlings of wapping wharf launderette - the small faces fanzine
  14. ^ see the notes for Faces' The Definitive Rock Collection, Rhino Records, 2007
  15. ^ BBC - Music - 7 Ages of Rock - The Who
  16. ^ Steve Marriott - All Too Beautiful.... Helter Skelter. 2005. pp. 287–288. ISBN 1-900924-44-7.  
  17. ^ Westminster Council press release http://www.westminster.gov.uk/councilgovernmentanddemocracy/councils/pressoffice/news/pr-3881.cfm Retrieved 04/09/07
  18. ^ Small Faces honoured with commemorative plaque http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20070904_smallfaces.shtml - Retrieved 06/09/07

Bibliography

External links








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message