Friday, April 13, 2012

"The Small Faces" Induction...FINALLY!

(From left to right:  Kenney Jones (drums); Ian McLagan (keyboards);
Steve Marriott (vocals and guitar); Ronnie Lane (bass)

On Saturday, April 14, 2012, an injustice will be corrected,  The date marks the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, of one of music's most notable bands to date, "The Small Faces".

Now don't get them confused with the Rod Stewart fronted "Faces", a conglomeration of remaining members of the fractured group "The Small Faces", and the "Jeff Beck Group".  They have been tacked onto the induction of "The Small Faces", which I think is not a justified move.  I am going to explain myself a bit...Rod Stewart voiced some great tunes with the "Faces". 'Maggie May, 'Stay With Me'...I have sung along, and even roller skated to both.  This long over-due honor is for a man (two men in fact) that can't be there to bask in the applause and the huge nod of acknowledgement for his talent, music, and place in rock and roll history.  The original group of "The Small Faces" have influenced so many on and off the stage.  They were and are one of the most notable groups associated with '60's Mods.  When I think of "The Small Faces", I think of the late great Steve Marriott.  The man had the best pipes around.  I would love to be in the audience during the induction, but will have to wait until the ceremony is aired on television.  Anyway, if I were able to attend it would be bitter sweet, due to the absence of Steve.

The East London band formed out of a first meeting between Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, in 1965.  Marriott was working in a music store, the 'J60 Music Bar' in Manor Park, London.  Lane came into the store in search of a bass.  The two struck up a conversation, and the they history. They would bring in a couple of mates, Kenney Jones (drums) and Jimmy Winston (he switched from the guitar to the organ).  By the time 1966 rolled around, Winston would be replaced by Ian McLagan on keyboards.  The bands name of "The Small Faces" was arrived at because the bands members were rather small in stature.  

Their rise to the mainstream was fairly meteoric.  They would go from rehearsal halls, to small pub gigs, to bigger club dates.  The main feature of the group that garnered so much interest was the voice of the band's front man, Steve Marriott.  As I said...the man had some pipes!  Otis Redding, and Bobby Bland, were among Steve's heroes.  It showed.  

(Steve Marriott)

Sadly, "The Small Faces" were only around four years.  During those short years, they saw the rise of the original Mod movement (I was only able to experience the Mod Revival...I was a year old when "The small Faces" began), and recorded music that still more than holds up today.  The band broke up in late 1968, the credit being given to Marriott.  The story is that during a live New Year's performance, Steve threw his hands in the air and stormed off the stage yelling "I quit" as he went.  Marriott had been having growing frustrations with the band being stuck in the 'pop band' category.  He was ready for the bands sound to mature a bit.  Feeling perpetually stuck, he dropped out of "The Small Faces", and would go on to another great band "Humble Pie" (which also boasted the talents of a very young Peter Frampton).  The last Small Faces album, 'The Autumn Stone', would be released posthumously in 1969.

Congratulations to Steve, Ronnie, Kenney, and Ian.  Especially to Steve.  I have been a huge fan for many years, and I am so happy that the Hall of Fame finally recognizes him for the imprint he has had on rock and roll music history. Here's to the best pipes around!  (He was so darn cute, too!)  And, of course, congrats to the other "Small Faces", Ronnie (RIP), Kenney, and Ian.

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