Small Faces: The Mod Icons of the 1960s and Beyond

Small faces collage

Small Faces: The Mod Icons of the 1960s and Beyond


The swinging sixties in London were a time of cultural revolution, and at the forefront of the music scene stood the Small Faces, an English rock band that captured the essence of the mod movement. Formed in 1965, the band quickly rose to fame, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry with their energetic performances and influential sound. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating journey of the Small Faces, from their humble beginnings to their enduring legacy in the world of rock and roll.

Origins and Early Success

The Small Faces came into existence when Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane met in 1965. Bonding over their shared passion for music, they recruited Kenny Jones and Jimmy Winston, who later made way for Ian McLagan. The band’s name, Small Faces, not only reflected the physical stature of its members but also symbolized a sense of uniqueness and leadership within the mod culture.

Their debut single, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It,” released in 1965, became an instant hit, paving the way for their rapid ascent in the music industry. The band’s dynamic performances and soulful renditions of classics like “Jump Back” and “Please Please Please” earned them a dedicated fan base, making them one of the most sought-after live acts of their time.

The Decca Years and International Recognition

Under the management of impresario Don Arden, the Small Faces signed with Decca Records, releasing a string of mod-soul singles that resonated with audiences. Hits like “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” and “All or Nothing” solidified their position as chart-toppers, while their energetic live shows captured the essence of the mod movement.

In 1967, the band achieved international acclaim with the release of “Itchycoo Park,” a pioneering single that incorporated the innovative technique of flanging. This marked a significant milestone in their career, leading to further hits like “Lazy Sunday” and “Tin Soldier.” The Small Faces’ experimental approach to music and their psychedelic soundscapes set them apart, influencing the generations that followed.

Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake and Psychedelic Mastery

The pinnacle of Small Faces’ creative expression came in the form of their groundbreaking album, Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, released in 1968. This psychedelic masterpiece, narrated by Stanley Unwin, took listeners on a whimsical journey, exploring innovative musical landscapes and intricate storytelling. The album’s unique round cover, resembling an antique tobacco tin, added to its allure, making it a collector’s item and a testament to the band’s artistic vision.

The Legacy Lives On

Despite facing challenges and lineup changes, the Small Faces’ impact on the music industry remained profound. Their influence on the Britpop movement and recognition from esteemed institutions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame highlighted their enduring legacy. The band’s ability to blend soulful melodies with experimental soundscapes continues to inspire musicians and fans alike, solidifying their status as icons of the 1960s and beyond.

In conclusion, the Small Faces’ journey from the mod clubs of London to international stardom is a testament to their talent, resilience, and innovative spirit. Through their music, they captured the essence of an era, leaving behind a timeless legacy that continues to shape the world of rock and roll. As we celebrate their achievements, let us remember the Small Faces for their contributions to music and their role in shaping the cultural landscape of the 1960s.

Small faces band 1960s



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