When Steve Marriott left the Small Faces to launch Humble Pie, Ronnie Lane (bass), Kenny Jones (drums) and Ian McLagan (organ) decided to carry on as the Faces. Brave move, since Marriott was the Small Faces' key member. The Faces recruited guitarist Ron Wood, whose most recent gig was bass in the Jeff Beck Group. A good start, but the band still needed a vocalist. As the wheels totally came off the Beck Group, vocalist Rod Stewart was available. But Stewart had also launched a solo career (with Wood playing guitar on the early albums), which he continued to pursue while in the group.
"First Step," released in '70, had the obligatory Dylan cover, "Wicked Messenger." The group hit the road and became known as a fun loving, hard partying band with a tendency to be sloppy in concert. But everyone seemed to be having a good time. "Long Player," followed a year later. Out in '71, "A Nod's As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse" with the repetitive hit "Stay With Me" made the band even more popular.
Despite the group's success, Stewart's solo career was bigger and put the Faces in a deep shade. "Ooh-La-La" came out in '73 and was a disappointment all the way around. Soon, the group disbanded. A couple stabs at re-forming yielded little.
Stewart continued his successful solo career while Jones briefly replaced Keith Moon in The Who and Wood joined the Rolling Stones. Sadly, Lane fell victim to multiple sclerosis in the late '70s, which ended his career. The disease claimed his life in '97.
The long-talked-about Faces reunion actually happened in '10. But there was no Stewart who bowed out due to other commitments. So the band signed on Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall. With their new vocalist, Wood, Jones and McLagan played their first reunion show at London's British Music Experience. The line-up also included the Sex Pistols' Glenn Matlock on bass, and Wood's son Jessie on rhythm guitar. On the opening night "Stay With Me" (the second song of their encore) closed out the twelve song set.
1970 First Step
1971 Long Player
1971 A Nod Is As Good as a Wink... To A Blind Horse
1973 Ooh La La
1974 Coast To Coast: Overture And Beginners
With their hit "Stay With Me" (written by Stewart and Wood) and an enthusiastic reading of Chuck Berry's "Memphis," "A Nod's As Good As A Wink" stands as the Faces premier effort. "Long Player" is a Rockin' set (with a couple live tracks including a cover of Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed") while "Ooh-La-La" and "First Step" lack punch.