Founded in London in 1965, the Small Faces were two great bands in one: visionary mods who were creative peers and commercial equals of the Beatles, the Who and the Rolling Stones, then reborn in the early Seventies with a shortened name and a thrilling inventive hard-rock sound. Together, the Small Faces and Faces have been a lasting inspiration on artists like the Black Crowes, the Jam's Paul Weller, the Replacements and Oasis. Named for their diminutive stature and mod slang for a snappy dresser, bassist Ronnie Lane, organist Ian McLagan, drummer Kenney Jones and singer Steve Marriott recorded an explosive series of U.K. hit singles and classic albums, mostly written by Marriott and Lane, that set the standard for Sixties soul-inflected pop and English psychedelic romanticism. Marriott's Cockney-Otis Redding wail was a profound influence on heavy-rock singers like Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant. When Marriott quit in early 1969, Lane, Jones and McLagan recruited singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ron Wood, both from the Jeff Beck Group. Fusing R&B, country roots and Fifties rock, the Faces made joyful roots music with arena muscle, cutting their own immortal body of work (1972's "Stay With Me," Lane's elegiac gem "Ooh La La") while conquering America with boozy-brother showmanship. The Faces broke up in 1975 when Stewart went solo full-time and Wood joined the Stones. (Lane died in 1997.) But in their exuberance and pioneering spirit, the Small Faces and the Faces have always been one band: brilliant, unprecedented and as influential as ever.
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