Mod bands

The Small Faces’ debut single, ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’, was released on this day in 1965.

One of the best-loved Mod groups, it was made up of Steve Marriott, on lead guitar and vocals (one of the finest voices in music, later of Humble Pie); Ronnie Lane on bass; Ian McLagan (Jimmy Winston originally) on keyboards; and Kenney Jones on drums (who would became The Who’s replacement for Keith Moon).

Following Marriott’s departure, Lane, McLagan and Jones recruited Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood – from the Jeff Beck Group – and became, first, the Faces, then Rod Stewart and The Faces.

(Speaking of Rod Stewart, if you haven’t yet heard his 1992 re-make of the Python Lee Jackson hit, ‘In a Broken Dream’, featuring David on guitar, it can be heard at Rod’s MySpace page.)

Anyway, when the Faces were still Small and their music best described as a quirky blend of psychedelic-tinged Pop, they had hits with ‘Itchycoo Park’, ‘Lazy Sunday’ and ‘Sha-La-La-La-Lee’, and, just as the Sixties began morphing into the Seventies, they released their psychedelic opus, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Mod’, in Britain in the late-Fifties and early-Sixties, you had the emergence of two youth counter-culture movements: the Mods (picture the fishtail parkas, turned up Levi’s, Fred Perry polo shirts and cropped hair) and the far less coiffured, leather-wearing Rockers, who still listened to – what else? – Rock and Roll.

The violence between the two groups one weekend in Brighton was dramatised in the cult film Quadrophenia; the Mods on their heavily-customised scooters, the Rockers on their motorbikes.

True Mods listened to Ska, Bluebeat and Motown, as well as American R&B, but British R&B-based ‘beat’ bands quickly became a key part of Mod culture: the Small Faces, Kinks, Zombies, Animals, Spencer Davis Group, Yardbirds, Creation and, of course, the most famous of the lot, The Who.

If you enjoy this music, I’d like to know which are your favourite Mod bands and tracks (from the Sixties, not the late-Seventies/Eighties revival, please).

Special mention to Mod royalty, Georgie Fame, whose Hammond organ can be heard on the On an Island album (on ‘This Heaven’).

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour’s official blog, The Blog (‘Features’ previously being its rather naff title), affectionately – or lazily – shortened to ‘FEd’.

73 thoughts on “Mod bands”

  1. I remember the Small Faces, their music was great and I still have their albums. It was a sad day when Steve Marriot left the group to play for Humble Pie.

    The Small Faces had some great songs like Whatcha Gonna Do About it, I’ve Got Mine, Sha La La La Lee, All Or Nothing, Here Comes The Nice and Itchycoo Park.

    Take Care,

    1. Since you guys are talking about 60s music – you gotta see this very cool series on Small Faces and some other top groups of the 60s.

  2. Fed,

    Do you remember a group called Freddie and the Dreamers. I think I never laughed so hard when I saw them play on the Smother Brothers Show.

    I would have to say I really enjoyed the Dave Clark Five, Peter and Gordon, Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Who, The Spencer Davis Group, The Small Faces, The Faces, The Animals and The BEATLES.


    1. I do, Thomas. How could I forget the late Freddie’s camp leg kicks?

      I love all that Sixties nonsense. ‘You Were Made For Me’ was a great tune, as was ‘If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody’.

  3. I particularly liked “Lazy Sunday” by Small Faces.

    I did not know that history of the term ‘mod’. In America, I remember that term coming with the Beatles and their far-out looking suits and anything British at that time.

    My favorite of the mod bands you listed was The Yardbirds and here was my favorite song, although it seems sort of simple now looking at it. But I remember playing it over and over and really loving it. Here is the song with the bongos and everything.

    I remember being so caught up in The Beatles that the other groups took a back seat. Whenever I found a picture of George Harrison I would cut it out and put it on my bulletin board in my room.

    A couple of years later I went to a Beatles concert and was very disappointed. There was only girls screaming and fainting in the audience. The Beatles didn’t even try to sing. They just stood about on the stage then someone motioned it was OK to leave. What a disappointment and the tickets were really expensive.

    We had a TV show called The Mod Squad because of the use of Mod in every day life.


    1. Curiously, as far as I know, the Beatles weren’t much liked by real Mods. Too soft and ‘poppy’, I expect.

  4. Here is some early Motown, very popular with mods.

    I loved this.

    Here is something I found whilst looking for the first one. :))

    I loved all of the songs you linked above Fed, never heard of the Creation though.

    ash X

    1. That takes me back.

      Creation were really good and never got the credit they were due. They were using a violin bow on their guitars before Jimmy Page was.

      Do you think Liam Gallagher is a fan of theirs? I see a lot of Kenny Pickett in his performances…

    2. Well, you learn something every day, the violin bow. 🙂

      You lost me about Gallagher Fed, I’m not very familiar with his work.

      ash X

  5. I loved a lot of the Mod bands, who were the British invasion, as they called it. I especially loved the Animals (House of the Rising Sun, of course, and Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood). I also loved the Kinks’ Sunny Afternoon and Lola and, later, Wish I Could Fly Like Superman; Spencer Davis Group’s Gimme Some Lovin’ and I’m a Man; the Yardbirds’ For Your Love and Heart Full of Soul. The Zombies were almost a one-hit wonder with She’s Not There, but I liked their sound and bought their stuff. Were the Dave Clark 5 Mod or Mersey? Either way, I liked them, too.

    It was a great time for music and I still listen to those bands regularly.

    1. I’d label the Dave Clark Five ‘Mod’, I think… Like most things, the lines of distinction have become blurred down the years.

      Glad All Over‘ is one of my favourite songs from any era or genre. What a cheery, feel-good tune that is.

    2. Do you remember the little dance we did with our friends to Dave Clark Five songs? That group was my first concert.

    3. I can’t remember a DC5 dance, Patricia. But I lived in a small town, so it may have skipped over us. 🙂

      Do you remember if they put on a good show?

  6. Interesting topic here, FEd.

    My ex boyfriend used to be a rocker of Oxford during the 60s and he, along with his other old rockers, always maintained that the Brighton riots were staged by the press. I have also heard this statement being made on a video I have entitled “The British Motor Cycle”. However, my ex never did go to Brighton.

    As for Quadraphenia, what an excellent film. I ask you, did Jimmy really kill himself by going over the cliff with his Lambretta? I don’t think he did because on second viewing to the classic film, Jimmy walks towards the screen in his parka from the seaside cliffs. Am I right in this assumption?

    I love the history of the mods and rockers and now that I am a scooter rider, (in order to keep my work uniform tidy) I see prejudice from all sides i.e. chavvy cars (especially), motorcyclists (to my horror as I am a classic British motorcylist) and white van mans (misspelling deliberate).

    Perhaps I should say as Ringo Starr did, I’m a “Mocker” now. 😀

    I loved the mod hairstyle and look of the Sixties. It was so art student to me and like most music of the Sixties, it is so fab.

    1. Thanks for the interesting article.

      I think the trouble at Brighton was blown out of all proportion by a conservative media fearing youthful exuberance and change. The newspapers had been full of horror stories in the build-up to the weekend, apparently. But then, don’t they always try their hardest to provoke a scene then stand back, half-horrified, half-delighted? Sells papers, I suppose.

  7. I was listening to Quadrophenia just yesterday, and here is the new Blog post. 😀

    The Who are absolutely my favourite band among the ones above and, to be sincere, the one I know better. I almost like everything they did.

    Apart from them, I have the first Creation’s album, “We Are Painterman”, and I like it very much. My favourite tracks are “Through my Eyes” “Ostrich Man” and “Making Time”, if I’m not inventing the titles, because I’m not at home, so I can’t read them.

    I also know one album by Eric Burdon & The Animals, “Winds of Change”. It was released in 1967 and I’m not sure if it can be still considered mod. Maybe it sounds more like psychedelic, but I love “San Franciscan Nights”.

    I don’t know very well The Kinks, just the most famous songs such as “All Day and All the Night”, “Tired of Waiting”, “Waterloo Sunset”, “Death of A Clown”, but I like what I know.

  8. “Quadrophenia” is such a great record. You can really get lost in the “characters”‘ troubled isolation caused from the inescapable phases of teen-aging.

    “I Am The Sea”, “The Real Me” and “Quadrophenia” is one of the greatest openings to any rock record…

    1. Amen! Songs like I’m One and Is It In My Head? were songs that I felt described my predicament as I grew from troubled adolescent into young adult.

      How can you NOT dig through the gloss of guitar smashing and silly songs like Magic Bus to dig to the heart of Townshend’s brilliant song writing skills?


    2. He’s one of the very best, I say.

      Although it’s one for the previous discussion, is ‘The Sea Refuses No River’ not one of his finest? Such a beautiful song.

      “The sea refuses no river
      No pecking code respected for the damned
      The sea refuses no river
      Whether starving and ill
      Or strung out on some pill
      Just ’cause you own the land
      There’s no unique hand plugs the dam
      The sea refuses no river
      And the river is where I am”

  9. As a mad and passionate Who fanatic, I was swayed into listening to the Small Faces. Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake was the first LP I ever heard. I’ve loved this ragtag band of midgets ever since!

    I have to comment, however, that the Who were truly NOT a Mod band by nature but more a product of then publicist-cum-manager Pete Meaden’s Mod obsession. The band have claimed this as well.

    Other favorite Mod band that I simply adore are, naturally, the Jam. Modfather Paul Weller took heavily from his Mod music idols Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, and most seriously in all form of look and sound Steve Marriott.

    I missed out seeing Eddie Philips and the latest incarnation of The Creation as they played ill-publicised gig at a smallish club in Buffalo NY some years back. The spray paint and aisle were still on stage. The violin bow was in attendance as well (perfectly pointed out by FEd as that gimmick nicked by one Mr Jimmy Page!).

    I always loved the more Mod sounding Decca recordings by the Small Faces – in particular What Ya Gonna Do About It and All or Nothing. However, once the band made their way to Andrew Loog’s Immediate label I feel they really exploded. My favorite single from the band (quite possibly in the world!) is this one.

    Those astute fans will note that PP Arnold (singing along side Marriot) was deputized for Water’s Bleeding Heart band in the late 90s on record and onstage.

    RIP Plonk… RIP Marriott!


    1. ‘Tin Soldier’… Fantastic.

      I think this one would have to be my favourite Small Faces number. It’s one of those that you have to listen to a second time because it just feels, never mind sounds, so good.

  10. Hi FEd and bloggers,

    I loved (and love now) the Who (the survivors were at their magic wet – what rain! – gig in Verona two years ago and I was there for a real happening featured by the genius Pete Townshend), the first Yardbirds, the Kinks and the Small Faces and remember a lot of violence in the fights between rockers and mods, really I’m not able to remember why, as it happens so often for wars and battles.

    I hope to be ready for summer holidays to Dubrovnik.

    Have – you all – a nice time and a hug by the end of August.


  11. I didn’t know about this rivalry between Mods and Rockers, but aren’t Mods rockers too??? I mean all the beautiful guitar riffs blended with vocal lines have been invented by the Mods and their fuzzed guitars. All the bands you mention FEd are source of countless inspirations.

    Well, at that time in Italy the most mod-rock thing was Mal and The Primitives I guess… and there was this horrible habit, for lack of copyright rules, to translate in Italian popular rock songs and make these softened versions by singers like Rita Pavone or Adriano Celentano… no mercy… 😮

    1. In the latest documentary (Amazing Journey) Townshend describes the Rockers as “dirty, filthy greasers” if but to clarify this point in particular.


    2. Rockers as “dirty, filthy greasers”

      Probably due to the Brylcreem they had in their hair. I suppose they were the next stage up from the Teddy Boys.

      I wouldn’t necessarily say that they were dirty or filthy, it was all just the image.

  12. One of my favorite bands of that time were The Who (and they still are today, together with some others).

    Of course I remember many of the other bands. It was some weeks after the release of that Small Faces record in 1965, when I came in contact with more music for Mods and Rockers. In September ’65 the German TV-station Radio Bremen started Beat Club, where nearly all popular bands showed up. And it was a must to watch that show on Saturday afternoons on TV.

    Have a nice weekend

  13. Ok, just to tie this in to Mssr Gilmour’s website… for those of you who own Taylor’s incredible book about the Black Strat, you’ll know this answer.

    However, there is a connection from David Gilmour to a member of the Small Faces/Faces. Check out this video.

    Recognize the bass player?

    Nuff said,

    1. Seamus? Yes… I did.

      Since no one is replying, I can tell you all that Ian McClagan played on David’s live, in studio promo films for his first self titled LP. The bass player, Gary Wills, was in Jokers Wild with David. He also played bass with the Small Faces, MkIII.

    2. Maybe you mean Rick Wills? I think he also played bass on David’s first solo album.

  14. What an interesting topic, actually I learned a lot, as I didn’t know that kinda music is called Mod, although I really like the music of the Kinks and Small Faces a lot, and Lazy Sunday is one of my faves.

    Musikladen was a great music show in Germany for sure, for the Beat Club I was too young to watch. Now there aren’t any shows like that in Germany, are there in the UK or USA?

    Doubt that, all replaced by MTV.

  15. Gosh, I never realised that all those years ago when I was about 9 years old I was a Mod! Small Faces, Kinks, Dave Clarke, The Who… they were all great. Still think Waterloo Sunset is an absolute classic.

    Nice to know Fed that you like Glad All Over!!!! Don’t know why Crystal Palace adopted it. Bits and Pieces would have been more appropriate!

    Hope you are all enjoying Summer, the weather turns for the better now the football season starts again!

  16. FEd,

    What did the Mods and Rockers think of Jimi Hendrix, in particular this Woodstock song, one of my favorites?

    In America we just used the word “mod” about everything British to do with rock n roll. I don’t think Hell’s Angels were talked about, although they did provide security at Woodstock. Still trying to wrap my head around that. I heard it didn’t go very smoothly either.

    Hope you are having a lovely weekend.


    1. I’m afraid all I can say beyond any doubt is that that man could play guitar (that’s one of my favourites, too).

  17. Completely off topic.

    I was searching the web to find a plant I have in the garden, when I saw this.

    That’s not the plant I was looking for, but its name sounds very familiar…

    Isn’t it beautiful? 🙂

    1. I was sure there was a Pink Floyd flower – thanks for the link.

      And a Happy Birthday to you. I hope you’re enjoying your day.

    2. Thank you very much, everyone, I had a good time.

      And since these are the days of shooting stars, here is something from space.

      Let’s hope it won’t fall. :))

  18. Sorry it’s been so long since I last posted. I hope everyone is well and enjoying the summer (when it decides to make an appearance, that is).

    There were a lot of mod bands (and yes, I do include The Who in that. I know they weren’t technically mods but the mods liked them, so in my book it still counts). I also like the mopeds they rode, but I think the best aspect of being a mod was the clothes.

    Most phases of music have survived till now, but how many fashions still continue to this day? Not many, but even now you can still get great mod clothes. In a way, it’s a sign of just how good the music was.

  19. There is no doubt the music of the 60s and 70s was and still is the best music ever in my eyes, or should I say ears? The music of today is depressing to me and I just can’t get interested in most of it.

    I love the Beatles, Dave Clark 5, the Kinks and all the oldies. I have Sirius Radio in my car and I listen to all the old hits. They play some of the Pink Floyd also so this is great.

    I tried listening to the BBC’s Radio 1 FEd, but I just couldn’t take the music they play. I think they target playing music the youngsters like?? Anyway I just couldn’t take it.

    We took a trip this weekend in our car and it was nice listening to one classic hit after the other. There are so many and wow the memories can come flying back to you.

    I can only hope Mr. Gilmour will bless us all with some more new music soon if he it makes him happy to do so.

    Thanks for the post FEd.

    Barbara P

    1. I tried listening to the BBC’s Radio 1 FEd, but I just couldn’t take the music they play. I think they target playing music the youngsters like? Anyway I just couldn’t take it.

      You and me both, Barbara. Actually, I can’t bear the radio in general. So many breaks for adverts and it’s the same old thing over and over and over… And don’t you hate how the ads are always louder than the music and programmes?

  20. Mods reappeared and became popular again in 70s. All my friends became mods, even ones I regarded as rockers and some were big Led Zep fans.

    I of course remained a greasy rocker, loyal to my beloved Pink Floyd.

    I think mods later moved onto Ska and Two Tone i.e. the Specials and Madness.

    Kind regards


    Hi FEd!

    Absolutely off topic, but definitely worth remembering…

    On my way home this evening, my preferred radio, wdr2, had a little piece about a famous guitar-legend.

    I hope you can understand that topic, otherwise Babelfish or other will help you.

    Has David ever met Leo Fender? If that story is true, Leo never met the stars who played his guitars…

    Have a nice week

    1. Good morning FEd!

      One more off-topic, a sad one…

      Maybe you will hear it in the news or read a note in your newspaper: Les Paul (Gibson Guitars) passed away yesterday.

      I’m not a guitar-player, but I liked the the sound of the Gibson a little bit more than the Fender.

      Have a nice day

  22. I was born in America in 1966, so most of this stuff is before my time and an ocean away. I suspect that had I been there, I would have been a Mod. I love the music that we referred to as “British Invasion Bands” which I believe roughly corresponds with Mod (but not exactly; we blindly called The Beatles, The Stones AND The Who “British Invasion” because they were from Britain).

    I would have dressed and behaved more Mod, given the choice between that and the Rockers.

  23. I’m not that into mod music, but I really like The Who. Amazing band. 🙂

    But my favourite band ever is Pink Floyd… I love Pink Floyd.

    Seriously, that’s true love. 😀

  24. Off topic, but very worthy…

    A giant in the music world passed on today. RIP Gentleman Les Paul.

    His music and his innovation indeed changed the music forever.

  25. It was late 1966, at the Odeon Theatre in Ipswich. I went to two shows there in the span of one month. Bands I saw included The Hollies, Nashville Teens, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beakie, Mick and Titch, The Small Faces, Walker Brothers.

    I can’t remember who shared the bill the night I saw the Small Faces. I do remember that their big hit at the time was “All or Nothing”.

    As I recall, they were very good live. Ronnie Lane was saddled with the nickname “Plonk” at the time.

    My family was living at RAF Bentwaters, as my dad was a Colonel in the USAF.

  26. Les Paul, may you rest in peace!

    If there is ‘somewhere’ over the rainbow, I hope he’s there playing with all his friends right now. What an amazing man… Click here.

    Peace ‘n’ Love. 🙂


  27. Reading this thread and watching the videos has been quite profound.

    When I was a kid, on Friday nights when the other guys went to the dances to get drunk and pull girls, I went fishing all night. Loved having the whole river to myself in the dark. I guess I never really was part of the world.

    Kinda glad too, now that I know a little more about it.

  28. We had a couple of Yardbirds albums which rocked and I listened to the Animals quite a bit but my favorite is The Who. Roger Daltry is a bitchin’ singer and guitarist and I haven’t seen a better songwriter, artist, playwright and guitarist than Pete. If I were to ever sit down and write a song, I’d just have to see if Pete were available.

    Of course, I’d like to write a few with David as well.

    Long live Rock!

    1. I’ve always wondered why Pete didn’t tour his solo work to Shreveport in the early ’80s. I would have been there along with half the college I went to.

  29. I like that Rod Stewart In a Broken Dream song with David on guitar. And I understand that John Paul Jones and Nick Lowe were on there as well?

    Any insights on how this all came together back in 1992? At least an insight on how David got involved?



  30. Off topic here but Doris Troy did a good song called “What’cha Gonna Do About It”.

  31. The Who I guess, as all the others were before my time.

    Did anyone hear SOYCD being played at half time at Newcastle’s game with Reading yesterday?

    Or has anyone one heard Irish folk singer Christy Moore’s version of the same song?

    Brilliant stuff!!!!

  32. Dude, forget the mod bands I wish David would tour in America. That would be pure sweetness!!!!!!!!!!! 😀

  33. I saw The Who twice in the 70s, once at Glasgow Appolo, and then outdoor at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

    It was the raw energy, it was live music at its best.

    As to their best songs;

    My Generation
    Won’t Get Fooled Again

    …and my favourite was Baba O’Riley.

  34. Mod was all about Tamla/soul/R&B and ska. As it was hard to find in London circa 1962 they adopted the few UK bands playing that music (Blues Incorporated, Cyril Davies). From the lead of those guys a younger generation started to form bands, with the Stones leading the way. That growing scene bred The Who, Yardbirds, Kinks, Small Faces, Pretty Things, Action, Mark Four/Creation, Birds, Artwoods, Syndicats etc. Likeminded souls elsewhere in the country were Animals (Newcastle), Spencer Davis (Birmingham), Them (Belfast).

    (Dave Clarke, Hollies, Gerry and Pacemakers, and probably the Beatles would have been considered too pop).

    As Dobie Gray said in “The In crowd”, the original is still the greatest, so your true mod bands were (say) Miracles, Impressions and John Lee Hooker.

    1. Agree with most you say Ian but would add that the original Mods were a differed greatly in what they liked and followed – even week by week and by region. Some Mods staunchly followed the Stones (the audience would often be split between Mods and Rockers) whilst others hated them because they ripped off the original artists. The same could be said for the Small Faces and The Who who were loved and hated. AND many Mods also like Rock n Roll, especially Chuck Berry. However, two of the real favourites was Geno Washington and Jimmy James.

      Even clothing differed – Mods from different areas of London wore different clothing and used different transport – some drove scooters, others drove Minis or Imps. Also there was often more in fighting between rival ‘Mod’ gangs (if you can call them true Mod perhaps the start of what became Suede Head) than against Rockers.

      As for Dobie Gray, many Mods that later moved into the Northern Soul scene could not stand his music and viewed it as too mainstream.

    2. 🙂 small faces, the action, the creation, the timebox, john’s children, the birds, spencer davies group, the steampacket, the kinks, the yardbirds, the silence, the shape of things, the moments.



  36. I like 1973, the year I graduated high school, as the turning point. My wife and I argue when I say the 60s died in Golden Gate Park in 1967. Since she grew up in LA and I’m from small town Oregon, she claims cultural superiority.

    Every busker on the sidewalk is proof the sixties and the music is still here. And there. And everywhere.

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