The Faces formed in June 1969 when three former
Small Faces (Lane, McLagan and Jones) joined forces with former
Jeff Beck Group members
Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. From their inception
Stewart also pursued a solo career signing a separate recording contract with Mercury. Indeed, aside from their highly-touted live performances, Stewart's fame when Maggie May became a massive hit in 1971, was a major factor in their success.
The musical offering was a brand of boozy, easy-going rock that sounded better live than on vinyl. They made their debut at Cambridge University in 1969 as part of
Quiet Melon with Kim Gardner and Art Wood and were promoted as The Small Faces for their debut album in the US. Their first three albums were frankly patchy but sold quite well and their recorded work was mostly overshadowed by Stewart's solo exploits. The group often backed him and found itself being billed as Rod Stewart and The Faces, which caused a degree of bitterness. The First Step album had a raunchy R&B flavour but was short on strong material. The strongest song was
Ronnie Lane's Stone. A Nod's As Good As A Wink was their best and most successful album, peaking at No 2 in the UK and No 6 in the US. In particular it featured a ball crunching rework of Chuck Berry's Memphis Tennessee, which was probably their finest moment. Their best remembered 45, though, has to be Stay With Me, which captured Stewart's vocals at their best and climbed to No 6 in the UK and No 17 in the US. This was the band in their heyday.
By contrast Ooh La La was a poor album and Stewart, whose commitment to the whole project was becoming increasingly questionable, even made his dislike of the album public. This didn't stop it selling, though: it topped the UK Album Charts and climbed to No 21 in the US. Shortly after its release
Ronnie Lane parted company with the band going on to form
Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance and his replacement was a Japanese bassist Tetsu Yamauchi (ex-Free).
This new line-up went on to achieve more Chart success in the UK, initially with the double 'A' side 45, Pool Hall Richard/I Wish It Would Rain, which peaked at No 8 in the UK in January 1974, and later in December of that year with You Can Make Me Dance Sing Or Anything, which made it to No 12. Between time they put out a live album, Coast To Coast Overture And Beginners, which sold well in the UK rising to No 3 but less well in the US where it could only manage No 63.
When Stewart was forced to leave Britain for tax reasons in April 1975 this inevitably threatened the group's future. A couple of months later Ron Wood guested for
The Rolling Stones on a US tour and when Stewart announced he was quitting the band in December 1975, Wood joined
The Rolling Stones on a permanent basis. Jones and McLagan made an abortive attempt to relaunch
The Small Faces the following year and Yamauchi headed back to Japan. In 1979
Kenny Jones became
The Who's drummer. The inevitable 'Best Of' albums followed the band's disintegration but they rarely ever captured the excitement and raucousness of their live act on vinyl. They can also be heard playing Around The Plynth on Warner Brothers' Going Home compilation and Maybe I'm Amazed on the same label's Fruity compilation. More recently Reading Festival 1973 has captured their version of Losing You from the festival of the same name.
01 - Bad 'N' Ruin 5:28
02 - Tell Everyone 4:22
03 - Sweet Lady Mary 5:51
04 - Richmond 3:05
05 - Maybe I'm Amazed 5:34
06 - Had Me A Real Good Time 5:54
07 - On The Beach 4:18
08 - I Feel So Good 8:54
09 - Jerusalem 1:53
Kenney Jones- drums
Ronnie Lane- bass, guitar, vocals
Ian McLagan- piano, organ
Ron Wood- lead, slide, and pedal steel guitar
Rod Stewart- vocals
Bobby Keys- sax
Harry Beckett- trumpet