The Small Faces: Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones tell the story of their singles

The tales behind every one of the band’s historic 45s, including "All Or Nothing", "Itchycoo Park" and "Lazy Sunday"

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I Can’t Make It
Decca, march 1967. UK: 26; US: N/A
Despite leaving Arden and Decca for Tony Calder and Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label, this funky soul-rocker is released on Decca as part of the severance package. The band refuse to promote it, while the BBC ban it.

McLagan: “This was another one with that familiar kind of bridge. A good song. And at Olympic Studios recording became much more fun. We were experimenting with different sounds. Nobody told me what to play. Sometimes I would ask, and invariably that would be Ronnie Lane, because he had good arranging ideas and melodies.”
Jones: “There was a little tiny room in the basement of Olympic. We put a speaker in there with a mic and fed that back through the mixing desk, and that’s what gave us our reverb and echo. That’s where my great snare drum sound came from. I’d get Glyn Johns to put those effects through my cans while I was recording so I could pick up the feel from there. The strange thing was that the BBC banned ‘I Can’t Make It’ because they reckoned it had some sexual reference, but happily played ‘Here Come The Nice’, which was blatantly about our drug pusher.”

Here Come The Nice
Immediate, June 1967. UK: 12; US: N/A
The Small Faces join the Summer Of Love party with their own catchy psych single laced with drug references.

Jones: “By this time we were writing songs that meant a lot to us, not commercial crap. Stories about our everyday lives. Calling our pusher ‘The Nice’ was inspired by Lord Buckley’s skit, ‘The Nazz’. I always bracket this song with ‘Tin Soldier’ because they’re very similar in their arrangement.”
McLagan: “I bought a different Hammond organ for this; an M102. It was what Booker T played on ‘Green Onions’… it was a sturdier version of the B3. That changed the sound a little bit. They had a nice Steinway at Olympic and I had my Wurlitzer. The weird things to me about this song are, a) that it was never banned, and b) that it was about Methadrine, which was a horrible drug. I mean, we loved smoking dope.”
Jones: “The ending was our attempt to imitate a speed comedown.”
McLagan: “It sounds like crap now.”

Itchycoo Park
Immediate, August 1967. UK: 3; US: 16
It’s all too beautiful! Another Summer Of Love anthem. Kaftans are involved. Also: the band’s only US hit single.

Jones: “We were definitely influenced here by the circumstance of flower power. We were experimenting with Mellotrons, and me and Glyn were always doing experiments with drums, which is how phasing came about [see panel].”
McLagan: “We tried to replicate the phasing effect when we played it live. It was fucking hopeless. I never liked ‘Itchycoo Park’ because me and Ronnie had to sing, ‘It’s all too beautiful’, and you sing that a few times, and you think… it’s not. But years after that I finally, properly, checked out the words, and realised it was about education and privilege. The ‘bridge of sighs’ is the one in Cambridge. The ‘dreaming spires’ are a reference to Oxford. Then ‘to Itchycoo Park… that’s where I’ve been’. Ronnie was saying, ‘I didn’t need privilege or education. I found beauty in a nettle patch in the East End of London.’”
Jones: “Its success did vindicate being left to our own devices, but we were still entering dodgy waters. It offered something different, but it was still commercial. There was one photo session for ‘Itchycoo Park’ where I wore a kaftan. I’m still very embarrassed about it.”


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