Tag Archives: Steve Marriott

1968 ➤ Why Ogdens was little Stevie Marriott’s ejector seat out of the Small Faces

Small Faces, pop music, Swinging 60s

Small Faces 1968: Ian McLagan, Steve Marriott, Kenney Jones, Ronnie Lane, plus producer Glyn Johns

➢ As the Small Faces’ Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
turns 50 today, Ron Hart at Billboard invites stars
to pay tribute – 24 May 2018:

There was one album from 1968 that distilled all the bombast and buffoonery of the singularly themed song cycle in pop music, housed in a round LP jacket miming the vintage tobacco tin it was named after. Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake was the fourth LP by East London’s Small Faces, a mod quartet who set themselves apart not only by their uniformly demure stature among its members — guitarist/vocalist Steve Marriott, bassist/vocalist Ronnie Lane, keyboardist Ian McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones — but their heavy influence on the grittier end of the R&B/soul spectrum that was propelling many of the British Invasion bands.

Small Faces, plaques, pop music, Swinging 60s

Green commemorative plaque to the Small Faces erected in 2007 by Westminster council in Carnaby Street

Under the recording guidance of the great Glyn Johns – who had also spent ’68 already working on a ton of other albums including Beggars Banquet by the Rolling Stones, the second Traffic LP and the debut from The Pentangle – the group pushed their art beyond the pop charts and toward a more adventurous strain of their signature sound. The sense of raggedness exhibited by the band upon their return from an Australian tour opening for The Who is quite palpable in the mix as well. . . / Continued at Billboard online

❏ Stevie went on to join Peter Frampton in Humble Pie – he writes in Billboard: “Ogdens’ was the best Small Faces album for me. It was just after its release that I first met Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, and there was talk of me joining the band as the fifth member as well. They were always one of my most favourite bands from Whatcha Gonna Do About It onwards. This album’s great material and concept are what made it their finest work. Its eye-catching round cover made it unique before you even heard the music. Love this record.”

➢ Previously at Shapers of the 80s:
Peter Frampton on how Bowie changed my life at Bromley Tech

THE DAY WE MET OUR ICON LITTLE STEVIE

California ,pop music, Steve Marriott , Martin Kemp, John Keeble, Steve Dagger, Sam Brown

Backstage after his San Fernando gig 1983: Steve Marriott at centre of his admiring fans, clockwise, Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp, John Keeble, record-company dude, Steve Dagger, Sam Brown – plus Yours Truly holding the camera

IT WAS MARTIN KEMP WHO’D HAD ENOUGH of the schmoozy dinner laid on by his record label while Spandau Ballet were touring the USA on the back of their chart-topping True in November 1983. They had a package of TV shows and other promos scheduled in Los Angeles which made a trip to join them on the West Coast more fun, but this dinner was yawning a bit. “You won’t guess who’s playing a gig tonight at a country club just up the Valley,” said Martin: “Steve Marriott!” Well you couldn’t have offered any better temptation to those of us with Mod sensibilities than our hero from the Small Faces, who back then had settled in the States and never stopped working the club circuit with his own dedicated band, however humble the venue. Since impresario Don Arden had defaulted on the Small Faces’ unpaid royalties, Stevie had moved to California to escape monstrous tax liabilities in the UK.

Within minutes Martin had inquired how far the venue was and had laid on a limo for all who were keen to zoom off to Stevie’s late-night show. These amounted to the ultimate Mod, Spandau manager Steve Dagger, drummer Johnny Keeble, Sam Brown (providing backing vocals on the tour), plus yours truly and the local record company hand-holder. The rest of the Spands had made other arrangements so our party of six squeezed into the limo and roared off up the Valley for a truly exceptional bonus to a long day.

The sad truth was that the big-name Reseda Country Club was a yawning cavern containing 1,000 seats, and the Marriott band’s audience numbered literally about 20 people including ourselves. Nevertheless, the minute his quartet hit the stage they made a sound so tight it could have thrilled a stadium, while Stevie the consummate pro delivered that oh-so-fabulous voice, albeit slightly rasping at the ripe age of 36, and brought full value to a good few piquant hits from the Small Faces and Humble Pie, including All Or Nothing.

Martin Kemp ,John Keeble, Steve Marriott, band, pop music, live, Spandau Ballet

Utterly chuffed: Martin Kemp and John Keeble stumbled by chance across this Steve Marriott gig in 1983 – that’s him live onstage here in the San Fernando Valley

I wasn’t going to pass up the chance of going down to the stage to shoot off a sentimental roll of film but the biggest surprise came at the end of easily one of the 10 best sets I’ve heard in my life. Sam Brown said since we were here we really ought to go backstage and say Hi to Stevie – whereupon the Spands all revealed the genuine humility of real fans and mumbled stuff about not dreaming of barging in on him. Whereupon Sam announced she knew Stevie very well through her dad, the 60s legend Joe Brown, who of course knew Marriott of old.

The result you see above: a fab souvenir photo of our chirpy hero who was tickled pink to hear some authentic British vowels while on the road. The pow-wow was a blast all round. Eight years later, little Stevie Marriott, one of the greatest talents in British pop, died in a blaze at his Essex cottage.

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2011 ➤ Peter Frampton: how Bowie changed my life at Bromley Tech

Peter Frampton, Frampton Comes Alive,world tour 2011,1954 Les Paul Custom

Frampton then and now: the 1976 gatefold sleeve shot for Frampton Comes Alive! by Richard Aaron... and earlier this year playing live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, photographed by Wenn... Both pictures are united by Frampton’s signature guitar, the solidbody “Black Beauty” 1954 Les Paul Custom, which was re-finished with three pickups by the Gibson factory in 1970. In fact the original Black Beauty (left) was lost in a 1980 cargo plane crash, after which Gibson’s crafted another guitar in the image of the 1954 Les Paul Custom but with a slim-carved neck profile for optimum speed plus ebony black finish (above right)

❚ 35 YEARS AGO BRITISH-BORN GUITARIST Peter Frampton was a rock god, given two Rolling Stone covers within months of each other, the second declaring him Rock Star of the Year. His appeal has evidently been reignited by this year’s 35th anniversary world tour of his multi-platinum album Frampton Comes Alive!, drenched as it always was with West Coast sunshine. The “better than ever” tour has been extended from this Friday with extra dates in the UK and Europe, and yet more in the US from February. There is no support and the show runs for three hours. FCA! is the first set, including a 14-minute arrangement of Do You Feel Like We Do to re-create his epic stadium concerts of 1976. The second half features newer work, but also earlier numbers that resulted from forming the supergroup Humble Pie with “little” Stevie Marriott of the Small Faces in 1969.

Peter Frampton, Rolling Stone, magazines, Rock Star of the Year,

Cover star: in April 1976 Frampton Comes Alive! won him the cover of Rolling Stone. Afterwards, he feared the shirtless photo by Francesco Scavullo “turned me into a pop idol” and would reduce his career to 18 months... Fortunately by the following February he was photographed by Annie Liebovitz as Rock Star of the Year

It has taken this comeback to remind us, or for most of us to reveal, that Frampton learned to play the rock classics at the feet of another Beckenham boy, David Bowie, when they were students together in south London.

➢ The Bowiezone website supplies these (and other) childhood details:
[Frampton] first became interested in music when he was seven years old. Upon discovering his grandmother’s banjolele (a banjo-shaped ukulele) in the attic, he taught himself to play, and later taught himself to play guitar and piano as well. At the age of eight he started taking classical music lessons.

Both he and David Bowie were pupils at Bromley Technical High School where Frampton’s father, Owen Frampton, was head of the art department. The Little Ravens played on the same bill at school as Bowie’s band, George and the Dragons. Peter and David would spend time together at lunch breaks, playing Buddy Holly songs.

At the age of 11, Peter was playing with a band called The Trubeats followed by a band called The Preachers, produced and managed by Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones. He became a successful child singer, and in 1966, he became a member of The Herd, scoring a handful of British pop hits. Frampton was named The Face of 1968 by teen magazine Rave!.

➢ In an interview this summer with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Frampton himself added this first-hand account:

I got to know [Bowie] when I was 12 and he was 14, 15, maybe. I said, ‘What music do you like right now?’ He said, ‘Buddy Holly.’ I said, ‘Teach me that.’ I remember sitting on the stairs at lunchtime with two guitars and him and George Underwood — who became the artist who did the covers of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane — and the three of us would hang out and play Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly numbers.”

While in school, Frampton became lead singer and guitarist of the Herd. In 1969, he formed Humble Pie with Steve Marriott of the Small Faces and also did session work on albums, including George Harrison’s classic All Things Must Pass. After five LPs with Humble Pie, he went solo in 1971.

Bowie and Frampton in New York rehearsing for the Glass Spider Tour, 1987: Peter contributed to the album Never Let Me Down, Bowie’s follow-up to Let’s Dance, then played lead guitar on tour. Photograph by David McGough

The Bowie connection was rekindled in 1987 when Frampton was hired to play on the Never Let Me Down album and then as lead guitarist for that year’s Glass Spider Tour. Echoes of Bowie can often be heard in Frampton’s own vocals, especially his acoustic version of Baby I Love Your Way — shown below in impressive footage recently released from promoter Bill Graham’s archive.

➢ Bowiezone recently published an interview with Mick “Woody” Woodmansey, the drummer on Bowie’s early 70s albums

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