Steve Marriott, The Greatest Mod Rocker You Never Knew

A birthday tribute to one of the most underrated and largely forgotten great classic rock British musicians. #smallfaces #humblepie #stevemarriott

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 73rd 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 Small Faces, 1965. (l-r) Ian McLagan, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane and Kenny Jones. Photo by Caroline Gillies/Hulton Archive, Getty Images

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.

“At the time, we were a bit too intoxicated to realize what was going on.”

Steve Marriott on the Swinging London scene in the mid-1960’s

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, with ever diminishing results.

Steve Marriott with Humble Pie in New York City at Madison Square Garden, 1971. Photo by Fin Costello, courtesy of Redferns/Getty. 

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.

First Part: Small Faces

  • Hey Girl, All Or Nothing, Watcha Gonna Do About It (live), Beat Beat Beat (German TV Program) (mono)
  • Here Comes The Nice, There are But Four Small Faces (U.S. album release, U.K, single release only)
  • Sha La La La Lee, Small Faces
  • Itchycoo Park, There are But Four Small Faces (U.S. album release, U.K, single release only)
  • Wham Bam Thank You Mam, single B-Side to “Afterglow (Of Your Love)”
  • Afterglow (Of Your Love), Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, (mono)
  • Tin Soldier, There are But Four Small Faces (U.S. album release, U.K, single release only)

Second Part: Humble Pie

  • 30 Days In The Hole, Smokin’
  • Black Coffee, Eat It
  • Stone Cold Fever, Rock On
  • The Sad Bag of Shakey Jake, Town and Country
  • Hot ‘N’ Nasty, Smokin’
  • One Eyed Trouser Snake RumbaHumble Pie

Finale: Humble Pie

  • I Don’t Need No Doctor (live), Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. 
Host, Producer, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Webmaster and Writer

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