Small Faces: An Underrated Gem

Small Faces: An Underrated Gem
Authored By John Nicholson

The Small Faces, a British rock band with a distinctive sound and a charismatic presence, emerged during the dynamic musical landscape of the 1960s. Formed in London in 1965, the band comprised Steve Marriott (vocals and guitar), Ronnie Lane (bass guitar), Kenney Jones (drums), and Jimmy Winston (keyboards) in its initial line-up. The Small Faces quickly gained popularity and left an indelible mark on the mod and psychedelic rock scenes of the era.

Steve Marriott, the band's dynamic frontman, possessed a soulful and powerful voice that set him apart in the music industry. His bluesy vocals, coupled with his energetic stage presence, contributed significantly to the Small Faces' appeal. Marriott's song writing skills and distinctive guitar playing also played a crucial role in shaping the band's sound.

Ronnie Lane, the bassist, brought a melodic and soulful touch to the Small Faces' music. His collaboration with Marriott in song writing was instrumental in crafting the band's unique blend of R&B, soul, and rock. Lane's contributions extended beyond his bass playing; he also sang lead vocals on some tracks and later went on to pursue a successful career with his own band, Slim Chance.

Kenney Jones, the drummer, provided the rhythmic backbone for the Small Faces. His precise and dynamic drumming style added a driving force to the band's music, helping them stand out in the crowded 1960s rock scene. Jones later became known for his tenure as the drummer for The Who, solidifying his reputation as one of the top drummers of his generation.

Jimmy Winston, the original keyboardist, played a pivotal role in the early days of the Small Faces. However, Winston was soon replaced by Ian McLagan, who became a permanent member of the band. McLagan's proficiency on the keyboards added a rich layer to the Small Faces' sound and contributed to their evolution into a more experimental and psychedelic direction.

The Small Faces achieved early success with hits like "Whatcha Gonna Do About It" and "Sha-La-La-La-Lee." Their energetic performances and distinctive mod fashion sense made them a favourite among the youth culture of the Swinging Sixties. As the decade progressed, the band delved into more complex and psychedelic musical territories with albums like "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake," a ground-breaking concept album that showcased their artistic depth.

Despite their undeniable talent and artistic achievements, the Small Faces faced internal tensions and line-up changes. In 1969, Steve Marriott departed to form Humble Pie, leaving the remaining members to regroup as Faces with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood joining the line-up.

The legacy of the Small Faces endures through their influential contributions to rock music. Their impact on the mod subculture and the broader psychedelic rock movement remains significant, and their music continues to be celebrated by fans and musicians alike. The Small Faces' journey may have been relatively short-lived, but their influence on the sound and style of the 1960s is a lasting testament to their artistic brilliance.


  • Small Faces (1966)
  • All or Nothing (1966)
  • From the Beginning (1967)
  • Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (1968)
  • The Autumn Stone (1969)
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