In the heart of swinging 1960s London, a little-known band emerged from the vibrant music scene, destined to make a profound impact. Small Faces, an English rock band, may have been small in stature, but they left behind a colossal legacy. In this article, we’ll delve into the captivating journey of the Small Faces, from their humble beginnings to their influence on the British music landscape.

The Birth of Small Faces

Small Faces came to life in 1965 when Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenny Jones, and Jimmy Winston joined forces. The band’s name was a playful nod to their relatively diminutive physical stature, but in Mod culture, a “Face” signified something more. It represented a leader, someone who stood out, someone special. Small Faces were more than just snappy dressers; they were musicians on a mission.

Early Triumphs

The band’s early performances were a mix of R&B and soul classics, including songs like “Jump Back,” “Please Please Please,” and “Stand by Me.” These gigs showcased their incredible talent and set the stage for their meteoric rise. Small Faces’ unique sound, characterised by Marriott’s powerful voice, began to attract attention.

One crucial moment in their journey was a residency at the Cavern Club in Leicester Square, where they had a chance encounter with the legendary Sonny & Cher, who were living in London at the time. This encounter, in the epicentre of the British music scene, marked a turning point for Small Faces.

The Decca Years

Small Faces signed with Decca Records and released their debut single, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It,” in 1965. The track became a Top 20 hit in the UK, propelling them into the spotlight. The band’s unique sound and Marriott’s distinctive vocals made waves. Their debut album, aptly named “Small Faces,” was released in May 1966, further cementing their status in the music world.

One of their biggest hits, “All or Nothing,” soared to the top of the UK charts in August 1966, marking the pinnacle of their early success. Plans to tour the United States with the Lovin’ Spoonful and the Mamas & the Papas were in motion, but an unfortunate leak of Ian McLagan’s drug conviction brought these plans to an abrupt halt.

Despite their chart-topping success, the band struggled financially, and a confrontation with their manager, Don Arden led to a parting of ways with Decca. Small Faces then found a new home with Immediate Records, formed by ex-Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham.

Immediate Success and Musical Innovation

At Immediate Records, Small Faces unleashed their creativity and unique style. Their single “Itchycoo Park” broke new ground in the UK, and it became their first charting hit in the United States. This song was the first British single to incorporate flanging, a pioneering audio technique that created a distinctive comb-filtering effect.

Following “Itchycoo Park,” they released “Tin Soldier,” featuring the soulful voice of P. P. Arnold on backing vocals. This track solidified their position in the music world, reaching No. 9 in the UK and No. 73 on the U.S. Hot 100 chart. Small Faces’ musical journey continued with “Lazy Sunday,” a catchy East End music-hall style song that reached No. 2 in the UK charts. Their final single, “The Universal,” had a folksy sound and was recorded with a touch of humour, as it featured Marriott’s dogs barking in the background.

The Legacy of Small Faces

Small Faces were not just a band; they were a phenomenon. Their influence on the British music scene was immense, and their legacy endures to this day. They laid the foundation for the Mod movement and paved the way for subsequent generations of British rock and pop artists. In 2012, they received the ultimate recognition when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In conclusion, the story of Small Faces is a testament to the power of passion and creativity in the world of music. Their journey from small London pubs to international acclaim is a true rock ‘n’ roll odyssey. Small Faces may have been small in name, but they were giants in the music world, leaving an indelible mark on the history of British rock.

So, the next time you listen to “Itchycoo Park” or “Tin Soldier,” remember the incredible journey of Small Faces, a band that started small but rocked the world with their music.