The Untouchable and Ultimate Mod, Steve Marriott (Part Three)

Zin Bang ! The Small Faces. 1965 ; Terence Stamp and Kit Lambert (Well known Ace Faces themselves) have transformed the Who in Mod icons. It has to be said, Mods except Georgie Fame and Clapton Suits have not their own bands. All of them, Moody Blues and Manfred Mann are more or less Beatnik actually. The Small Faces are the first gang -gang means same clothes, like the Colors of the greasers and the Hell’s Angels. Marriott has one and only rival yet… Rod Stewart. His life’s nightmare. Rod will steal him his haircut and his life’s love, Sue Oliver. Rod Stewart will also nick his band. Rod Stewart Will kiss the Queen’s hand when Steve will be back very low, up there, in those unthinkable awful eighties…

But in 1965, The Live Aid’s nightmare is very very far, everything is innocence and Prince of Wales. And shirts Have more buttons than the French Singer Antoine could ever denounce.

First Small Faces LP is a pure phantasm. Everything is here. Rare covers like this “You Need Love” than Led Zeppelin will nick for “whole Lotta love” . Robert Plant was one of those who followed Steve and his Faces from show to show, nice puppy in love who’s gonna copy the original master as much as he could. What’s the matter baby de Timi Yuro or that incredible cover of Shake and their first own songs, Come on Children, E to D, Whatcha gonna do about it and that sleeve to make the girls scream! Stones and Pretty Thing have bad boys look, they look dangerous and don’t smile. The Faces look at the camera and every girl’s heart beats! Steve Marriott is just too beautiful! Too perfect. It will be hiw own drama and his loss but he doesn’t know it yet. Obsessed by Booker T and the MGS, Steve created a band with one guitar only and with a Hammond Organ. He fired the useless Jimmy Winston (hired because he had a truck and a place to rehearse) , he met Ian McLagan… Plonk brought Kenny Jones , they’re ready!

So they signed for Don Arden, the terrible Don Arden. At that time, you have two kinds of managers. Gays fascinated by those young gods in Sta Prest, like Epstein or Stigwood and Mafiosi. For his drama, Marriott has chosen the second kind of… Don arden signed them for lifetime or almost… For 20 £ a week and an unlimited access to Carnaby’s street. An open account in those clothes’ shops? Who could resist? Certainly not the Small Faces who were not even 18! Several world hits later and never ending tours, money didn’t ring for them. But the Faces don’t care at all… Two or three years. Only two or three tiny years but more important than all the sad centuries who’s gonna happen till 1980 to the end of the world. London, the world from 1965 to 1968 is pure eternity. On these elysian fields, The Small Faces slides easily, they’re just magicians. A few months… Time for Don Arden to make them record “Sha la la la lee” written by Mort Shuman. Their first N°1… they will hate for ever. It will even irritate the original mods. And they will take a revenge with Hey Girl ( English style, by Ronnie Bird in France) and the absolute All or nothing. Faces will be then on any cover, Rave’s and Hit-parader. They’re not like the others, a kind of Beatles playing Stones music? They even created with the Who and the Kinks the alphabet of the future heavy rock. A bit of all that things but the fame and greatness of the Small Faces is still to come…Mod is yet a memory. A kind of secret folklore than ready steady go told the world… a true ethic than the Brighton beach’s fighters popularized. Those fighters will become skinheads. The world who’s going to born is not important to them. They will keep the mod’s style of the early sixties, haircuts and collars and it will be a new classicism, Loafers, Shetlands, Clarks, Crombie, Harrington’s. It will be their alphabet with the Ska and vintage rhythm and blues… The other will become psychedelic mods. Danton collars, lace jabots, moustaches… (To be continued)

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