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’).