A birthday tribute to one of the most underrated and largely forgotten great classic rock British musicians.
“At thew time, we were a bit too intoxicated to realize what was going on. Only in retrospect could you see that it was a whole British explosion or movement. At the time, you were too busy trying to think of what you could record next.” – Steve Marriott on the Swinging London and Mod scene in the mid-1960’s.
Steve Marriott, a former child actor who ended up being a central and seminal figure in two different important and highly influential British music scenes, would have celebrated his 71st birthday on January 30th of this year. Fondly remembered by fellow artists, unfortunately his legacy has dimmed since his passing in 1994 due to a fire in his home. Even classic rock and oldies stations typically may only have one or two records in their libraries of his recorded output.
The first band he fronted, Small Faces in 1965, challenged The Who as the premier Mod group of Swinging London. Hugely success at home in the U.K., the band only managed one top 40 single in the States, a psychedelic tinged number called “Itchycoo Park”. Marriott, fed up with the bad business deals the band kept getting saddled with, left to form Humble Pie in 1969, with a brand new type of high energy, blues-based music often called boogie rock and became the cornerstone of the next wave of classic British bands.
Steve Marriott with Humble Pie reaching out to touch a fan in New York City playing Madison Square Garden, 1971. Photo by Fin Costello, courtesy of Redferns/Getty.
Humble Pie saw major success with their first live album in 1971 and it’s 1972 studio follow-up, Smokin’. Co-founder Peter Frampton left the band as they broke, eventually forging a massive mid-1970’s album with Frampton Comes Alive. Marriott could not sustain Humble Pie for long on the charts, and the band broke up in 1975. Both Humble Pie and Small Faces would reunite from time to time, often with ever diminishing results.
Today we take an hour-long look at one of the best kept secrets in all of classic rock history, a man who has been cited by Steve Perry of Journey, Paul Stanley of KISS, Clem Burke of Blondie, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones among many others as one of the greatest rock singers, British musicians and live performers in history.
Our tracks this week: Title, Source, Group
1. Stone Cold Fever, Rock On, Humble Pie
2. Itchycoo Park, There are But Four Small Faces (U.S. album release, U.K, single release only), Small Faces
3, All or Nothing, From the Beginning, Small Faces
4. Natural Born Woman, single only A-side, Humble Pie
5. Wham Bam Thank You Mam, single B-Side to (Afterglow of Your Love), Small Faces
6. One Eyed Trouser Snake Rumba, Humble Pie, Humble Pie
7. Sha-La-La-La-Lee, Small Faces, Small Faces
8. Black Coffee, Eat It!, Humble Pie
9. 30 Days In the Hole, Smokin’, Humble Pie
10. Afterglow (of Your Love), Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, Small Faces
11. Tin Soldier, There are But Four Small Faces (U.S. album release, U.K, single release only), Small Faces
12. Lazy Sunday, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, Small Faces
13. The Sad Bag of Shakey Jake, Town and Country, Humble Pie
14. Here Come the Nice, There are But Four Small Faces (U.S. album release, U.K, single release only), Small Faces
15. I Don’t Need No Doctor (live). Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore, Humble Pie
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Ace of Spades PDX