In Great Britain’s youth culture wars, perhaps no band was associated with the Mod movement more than the Small Faces, formed in 1965 by four East London teenagers. They played their first out-of-town gig in Sheffield to an audience of hard-drinking working men and Rockers, the leather-jacketed, motorcycle-riding sworn enemies of the Mods. The crowd didn’t like the way they dressed (blazers and checkered, button-down shirts) or the music they played (covers of American R&B artists Jimmy Reed and James Brown). After just a couple of songs, Small Faces were booted from the club.
Out on the street, they spotted the King Mojo Club, which catered to young Mods. The band went inside, offered to perform for free and took the stage. According to lead singer Steve Marriott, “The audience raved like mad and kept yelling for more.”
Small Faces became one of the hottest groups in the UK. The band was led by Marriott and included Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Jimmy Winston (soon to be replaced by Ian McLagen). Their name came from their small stature — nobody was taller than 5’6″.
Their UK hits included “Itchycoo Park”, “Lazy Sunday”, “All or Nothing”, “Tin Soldier” and their concept album Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, Small Faces later became one of Britain’s most successful psychedelic bands until breaking up in 1969.
Marriott joined Peter Frampton‘s band, Humble Pie. Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood of the Jeff Beck Group joined the remaining members and the group was renamed Faces.
In the US, only two Small Faces records reached the charts — “Itchycoo Park” (#16) and “Tin Soldier (#73).
Where Are They Now?
Only two original members of Small Faces survive. Ian McLagen, who later went on to work with the Rolling Stones, moved to Austin, Texas, where he started his own band. McLagan died from a massive stroke in December 2014.
Kenney Jones became the drummer of The Who after Keith Moon‘s death in 1978. He lives in Ewhurst, England and is the father of six children.
Steve Marriott died in a house fire in 1991, and Ronnie Lane lost a long battle with multiple sclerosis in 1997.
Small Faces Video
“Lazy Sunday,” live performance 1967
Small Faces Discography
1965 “Whatcha Gonna Do About It” 14-UK
1965 “I’ve Got Mine” –
1966 “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” 3-UK
1966 “Hey Girl” 10-UK
1966 “All Or Nothing” 1-UK
1966 “My Mind’s Eye” 4-UK
1967 “I Can’t Make It” 26-UK
1967 “Here Come the Nice” 12-UK
1967 “Itchycoo Park” 3-UK 16-US
1967 “Tin Soldier” 9-UK 73-US
1968 “Lazy Sunday” 2-UK 114-US
1968 “The Universal” 16-UK
1969 “Mad John” –
1969 “Afterglow (Of Your Love)” 36-UK
1975 “Itchycoo Park” (re-release) 9-UK
1976 “Lazy Sunday” (re-release) 36-UK