I think we’ve covered just about all the female artists from the British Invasion (let me know if you think of another).
One of my favorite lines in my favorite movie of all time, A Hard Day’s Night, is the scene where the lads are at a party for them and members of the press, and they can’t get anything to eat or drink because they’re swamped by reporters asking questions like, “What do you call that hairstyle?” (George’s answer: “Arthur.”) At one point, a reporter asks Ringo, “Are you a Mod or a Rocker?” His answer was “I’m a Mocker.”
Anyway, the Mods and the Rockers were two gangs of British rock fans. You can read about them here, but the point was, they couldn’t stand each other. The Mods considered the Rockers Neanderthal thugs, while the Rockers considered the Mods sissies.
The Small Faces were the band most associated with the Mods. Well-dressed in blazers and checkered shirts, they started out playing covers of Jimmy Reed and James Brown. Early on, they were booked into a club frequented by Rockers, and after two songs were booed off the stage and told to “sod off.” They crossed the street to a club frequented by Mods, where they offered to play for free, and the Mods couldn’t get enough, according to Steve Marriott, their guitarist and lead singer (the other members were Ronnie Lane, bass; Kenney Jones, drums; and Jimmy Winston, later replaced by Ian McLagan, keyboards). The band chose the name Small Faces due to the fact that none of them was taller than 5’6″.
The band had two hits in the US. The first of them was “Itchycoo Park,” which reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #3 in the UK in 1967.
The second US hit was “Tin Soldier.” Released at the end of 1967, it reached #73 on the Hot 100 and #9 in the UK.
Small Faces recorded a critically-acclaimed concept album, Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, which was released in 1968 and reached #1 on the UK album chart that year, where it remained for six weeks. The band broke up in 1969 when Marriott left to join Humble Pie. The remaining members recruited Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, and the band continued as Faces until the mid-1970’s.
Of the original members, only Kenney Jones, who has played with The Who since Keith Moon’s death, is still living. McLagan died of a massive stroke in 2014, Marriott died in a house fire in 1991, and Lane succumbed to MS in 1997.
The Small Faces, your Two for Tuesday, June 2, 2015.