Decca, May 1966. UK: 10; US: N/A
Marriott/Lane’s first hit, released the week before their debut album. A commercially leaning single, but the cutesy “hold my hand/…understand” lyrics stand in sharp contrast to where The Beatles, The Who and The Kinks are in spring 1966.
Jones: “We insisted that, if we were gonna do these commercial songs, we weren’t going to let any more outside songwriters in. So we wrote a commercial one.”
McLagan: “It was almost as bad as ‘Sha-La-La-La- Lee’. Just a little pop song. Steve and Ronnie were being shrewd. After that, they were the writers. I was musically frustrated in the studio at this point, but live we were raw and raucous. We played ‘Sha-La-La-La-Lee’ until we had ‘Hey Girl’ and then never played it again. But in those early days, the bridge of ‘Hey Girl’, which goes to a minor key, became a pattern. Steve would ask me to play a solo on piano and organ for a new song and I’d be thinking, ‘Hang on – haven’t I played this bridge before?’ They were writing very fast.”
All Or Nothing
Decca, August 1966. UK: 1; US: N/A
The Small Faces’ only UK No 1. Steve Marriott’s white soul masterpiece finally revealed the full scope of the band’s powers.
Jones: “We were on tour and staying in the Station Hotel, Leeds, when Steve suddenly runs down the corridor screaming, ‘I’ve got it! I’ve just written our next hit!’ We did it in IBC and it didn’t take long to record. I mean, we did the first album in a morning! I based the opening drum fill on the intro of Wilson Pickett’s ‘In The Midnight Hour’. I was proud that we had a No 1. But we had to share it… we were joint No 1 with ‘Yellow Submarine’. That week the last photos on the chart rundown on Top Of The Pops were half-Beatle, half-Small Face; they spliced my face with Ringo’s.”
McLagan: “I remember we always used to go into the studio dressed for a gig. We’d get up, go to [publicist] Tony Brainsby’s office for photo sessions, then on to the studio for three hours to cut an A-side. Then… quick… B-side! Then in the car, and off to a gig. IBC was a four-track studio, and we didn’t get to use an eight-track until we went to Immediate. Soon after this, we took acid and that turned our music a little bit sideways for a while.”
My Mind’s Eye
Decca, November 1966. UK: 4; US: N/A
Experimental demo released by Arden and Decca while the band are on tour. The kids love the self-mocking psych-lite. The band don’t.
Jones: “This was so commercial it reminded me of Christmas. The ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’ steal was a piss take, but it had some good backing vocals on it. When we realised it had been released behind our backs it was just awful. Enter Andrew Oldham and Tony Calder. One thing I should say: no-one ever – ever – told me what to play in the Small Faces. Everyone just let me get on with it. My nickname was Shut Up Kenney. Because while they were trying to work out a song in the studio, I was playing away, trying to work out what drums would fit. But I was very proud of my bandmates for allowing me that. Because I did fucking annoy ’em.”
McLagan: “You could say Steve and Ronnie led the sessions, but really we were all equals in the studio. Just the four of us: no session men at all in the Decca days, contrary to some belief. There was no fucking about. It was quick and painless.”