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The Small Faces

The Small Faces were an East London band, formed in 1965, and so-named because of the short stature of its members (and a Face being, in Mod parlance, someone a bit special - a tasty geezer, so to speak). The original line-up was Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Jimmy Winston. Before 1965 was out the band had progressed to a management contract with the infamous Don Arden (a financial mistake they would come to regret fairly quickly), a recording contract with Decca, the release of two singles, the first of which, Whatcha Gonna To Do About It, was a Top 20 hit, and a film appearance as themselves.

Early in 1966 Jimmy Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan and the classic line-up was born. Their first album, Small Faces, was released in May and by August they had a Number 1 single with All or Nothing. However, despite all their success they had no financial reward, and had to use their parents to help get them out of their contracts with Don Arden and Decca (it took Kenney Jones the thick end of 30 years to get royalties for the band for the Decca recordings, by which time Marriott and Lane had both passed).

The band was signed to Immediate, Andrew Loog Oldham's new label. 1967 and 1968 saw the band's creativity peak, producing the hit singles Here Comes The Nice, Itchycoo Park (with that amazing flanging effect), Tin Soldier, and Lazy Sunday, and then their concept album masterpiece, the chart-topping Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake, released in May, 1968. 

In that triumph lay the seeds of the band's demise - unable to play Ogdens' live (it was performed live just once for TV, with much miming), the band was stuck with a pop image that Marriott, in particular, desperately wanted to shake off. He quit the band at the end of 1968, already on his way to Humble Pie and that was it for the classic line-up.

In 1969 a final single and a post-split album (Autumn Stone) were released, but had a minor impact on the charts.

Lane, Jones and McLagan joined forces with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood to form The Faces (and were occasionally, at first, referred to as the Small Faces, especially outside the UK). Stewart and Wood outgrew the band; Lane left in 1973 to start his own band Slim Chance, and The Faces were over by 1975.

 

As Humble Pie had folded about the same time, The Small Faces classic line-up attempted a reunion in 1975 (originally to make a video for the re-released Itchycoo Park), and then to record new material but the recording lasted less than one rehearsal, and Ronnie Lane left (it appears that he was exhibiting the first signs of his MS, which the others may have misinterpreted). The band then recruited Rick Wills as a replacement for Lane in 1976, and this line-up released one album, Playmates, in 1977. The band then added Jimmy McCulloch as a second guitarist briefly in 1977, and this line up recorded an album, 78 In The Shade, released in 1978. As neither reunion album was a success, the band called it a day in 1978.

The longevity data for the band is shown below.

Key statistics

Average DOB: 6 November 1946

Current average age: 58 years 5 months

 

The longevity data for the other members of the original and re-union line-ups is shown below.