The Small Faces - BBC Sessions 1965-1968

Steve Marriott was born and raised in the east end of London (Bow) 30 January 1947. He is best remembered for his musical work in the groups Small Faces (1965-1969) and Humble Pie (1969-1975). he became a noted child actor and appeared as The Artful Dodger in an early London stage production of Oliver! and appeared in two films in his early teens, one with Peter Sellers. Despite his small stature and slight build, Marriott possessed a thrilling and powerful voice; he was (and remains) widely admired as one of the best British rock and soul singers of his generation.

Lane and Marriott met in 1965 while Marriott was working at the J60 Music Bar in Manor Park; Lane came in with his father Stan to buy a bass guitar, struck up a conversation with Marriott, bought the bass and went back to Marriott's house after work to listen to records. The core of the band was born that afternoon and evening.
Recruiting friends Kenny Jones and Jimmy Winston (born Jimmy Langwith, April 20, 1945 in Stratford, London), who had to switch from guitar and learn to play the organ, they rapidly progressed from rehearsals to ramshackle pub gigs to semi-pro club dates, and while not yet the crack live outfit they became -- Marriott was still learning guitar -- his explosive, sandpapery soul-belter voice attracted rising attention. They were spotted by singer Elkie Brooks who was struck by Stevie's vocal prowess and recommended them to a local club owner, Maurice King. Impressed, he began finding them work in London and beyond.

They were kicked out of their first out-of-town gig -- a workingmen's club in Sheffield -- after only three songs. Despondent, they literally walked into the mod-oriented Mojo Club nearby, offered to perform for free and played a blistering set that had the locals screaming for more and started a strong buzz. During a crucial residency at Leicester Square Cavern, they were strongly supported by Sonny & Cher, who were living in London at the time and had first spotted them in Sheffield.
The band appeared in a 1965 adventure movie crime musical, called Dateline Diamonds, about their manager (Kenneth Cope) smuggling diamonds out of the country with the help of a former Army man (William Lucas).

Marriott abruptly quit the band at the beginning of 1969, frustrated at their failure to break out of their pop image and their inability to reproduce the more sophisticated material properly on stage, and already looking ahead to a new band, Humble Pie, with Peter Frampton. The last song released during the band's career was the folksy "The Universal" in the summer of 1968, recorded by adding studio overdubs to a basic track Marriott cut live in his back garden with acoustic guitar, taped on a home cassette recorder, complete with barking dog.

Marriott died in a house fire in his home on 20 April 1991. The accident was caused by his falling asleep while intoxicated and leaving a cigarette burning, after arriving home jet-lagged from an overseas trip. Just prior to his death, Marriott and Peter Frampton had begun writing songs together again, but the project was never completed.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. Steve Marriott has to have had the greatest rock voice ever.