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Small Faces / Faces


Small Faces in 1966

Small Faces (l-r) Lane, Jones, Marriott, McLagan in 1966

Photo by Caroline Gillies/BIPs/Getty Images

Faces start small:

Chance meetings in the mid '60s brought together a group made up of singer-songwriter-guitarist Steve Marriott, singer-bassist Ronnie Lane, keyboardist Jimmy Winston, and drummer Kenney Jones. In 1965, as Small Faces (so named because they were all rather short) the band began playing a mixture of R&B covers and original songs.

They soon found a manager who soon found them a record deal and in 1966 they began recording their first studio album. Small Faces was still being recorded when Winston left the band. His replacement, Ian McLagan remained as keyboardist throughout the rest of the band's life.

Evolution - Small Faces to Faces:

Small Faces quickly became a high charting pop band in the U.K. and a moderate success in the US. Marriott tried to move the band into the burgeoning psychedelic rock sub-genre. At the end of 1968, he quit in frustration over not being able to lose the pop identity, and formed (with Peter Frampton) the hard rock band Humble Pie.

In early 1969, Lane, Jones and McLagan played a few gigs and recorded four tracks with two members of Jeff Beck Group, vocalist Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood. A few months later, the two left Beck and joined the renamed (because Wood and Stewart weren't so short) Faces.

Faces not always smiling:

Faces' greatest success was as a live band. From 1970 to 1975 they logged thousands of miles and hundreds of gigs throughout the world. Their four studio albums and one live album were, like Small Faces' recordings, moderately successful in America and very popular in Britain.

In 1973, Lane left the band, because he was frustrated at having too few chances to perform as lead vocalist. He was replaced by Free bassist Tetsu Yamauchi. Lane formed his own band, Slim Chance. He died of multiple sclerosis in 1997.

In 1975, personality conflicts and lack of interest led Faces to dissolve. Wood, who had been working with The Rolling Stones joined them full time. Stewart launched a successful solo career. Jones joined The Who after drummer Keith Moon died. McLagan was also offered a job with The Who, but had already committed to tour with the Stones as a sideman. He later formed The Bump Band.

Rebirth and reunion

Humble Pie also disbanded in 1975, so Marriott (along with Humble Pie bassist Rick Wells) got together with McLagan and Jones to re-form Small Faces. By 1978, their two albums fizzled, and they broke up for good.

Faces (without Stewart) got together for a reunion concert in 2009. Wood, Jones and McLagan were joined by ex-Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and vocalist Rick Hucknall. That lineup (with ex-Sex Pistols bassist Glen Matlock replacing Wyman) continued to tour throughout 2010 and 2011.

Impact and influence

Although they never had the commercial success of bands like The Who and The Rolling Stones, a number of bands (Pearl Jam, Oasis, Black Crowes, Guns N' Roses, Quireboys, The Replacements) cite them as major influences. Similarly, former members Wood, Stewart, Marriott and Jones were influential as members of the bands they later formed or joined.

Small Faces discography:

Small Faces (1967) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
From the Beginning (1967) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
There are But Four Small Faces (1967) (CD, vinyl)
Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (1968) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
The Autumn Stone (1969) (CD, vinyl)
Playmates (1977) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
78 in the Shade (1978) (CD, vinyl, MP3)

Faces Discography:

First Step (1970) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
Long Player (1971) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
A Nod is as Good as a Wink... to a Blind Horse (1971) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
Ooh La La (1973) (CD, vinyl, MP3)
Coast to Coast: Overture and Beginners (1974) (CD, vinyl)

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