Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
UK rock group formed from the Small Faces after Steve Marriott left to form Humble Pie. Bassist Ronnie Lane, drummer Kenny Jones and Ian McLagen on keyboards recruited Jeff Beck, group outcasts vocalist Rod Stewart and guitarist Ron Wood. Albums First Step '70 and Long Player '71 charted UK and USA, bolstered by covers Bob Dylan's ('Wicked Messenger'), but Stewart replaced Marriott as writer, his partnership with Wood proving fruitful: A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse '72 saw the band in all its good-time glory, made no. 2 UK, 6 USA; Stewart's solo career had already begun and his hit 'Maggie May' (no. 1 both UK/USA) didn't hurt; single 'Stay With Me' from Nod was no. 6 UK and their only USA single hit at no. 17: its barrelhouse piano and unforgettable guitar riff from Wood was their finest hour. The album also incl. Lane's sensitive 'Debris', a less well-known side of the band. Often shambolic on stage, they remained a big draw on US stadium circuit with the advantage of drawing from both Stewart's repertoire and their own. Patchy Ooh La La '73 failed to match success of Nod (no. 1 UK but peaked quickly; no. 21 USA); ex-Free bassist Tetsu Yamauchi (b 21 Oct. '47, Fukuoka, Japan) joined on live Coast To Coast: Overtures And Beginners '73. UK singles continued ('Cindy Incidentally' and 'Pool Hall Richard' each no. 2, 'You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything' no. 12 '73--4), but they now came a poor second to Stewart's solo career; Lane left to form folk-rock Slim Chance (LP '75); Wood made solo LPs I've Got My Own Album To Do '74 and Now Look '75, became a temporary Rolling Stone for tours '76, made solo Gimme Some Neck '79. With Stewart in tax exile, Jones and McLagen took part in brief Small Faces reunion, then Jones replaced Keith Moon in the Who. Wood and Lane also collaborated on soundtrack Mahoney's Last Chance '76, Lane and Pete Townshend on LP Rough Mix '77; Best Of Faces was no. 24 UK '77. McLagen made solo Troublemaker '80, Bump In The Night '81; There was a reunion at the finale of Stewart's Wembley gig in London '86. See also Small Faces.