A Face We’ll Never Forget: British Pop-Rock Figurehead Steve Marriott
The Small Faces and Humble Pie frontman, who died in 1991, is gone but never forgotten.
Steve Marriott’s achievements as a true figurehead of pop and rock music, especially in the 1960s and 70s, are now widely acknowledged. His talents have been celebrated in the highly impressive musical All Or Nothing — The Mod Musical. The show brought the Small Faces’ story vividly to life and played to massive response, helping to reiterate the legacy of one of the charismatic leader of that group and later of Humble Pie.
Marriott, from Manor Park in east London, was a born performer. He started his first band at the age of 12 and starred on the West End stage in Lionel Bart’s hit production of Oliver! at just 13. Further stage roles followed, but as All Or Nothing documents, his heart was always in music.
His dreams came true when the Small Faces, formed in 1965, made it big and enjoyed several years of hit singles and increasingly influential and experimental albums. Marriott’s wanderlust and disillusionment with the business of music led him to leave the band and form Humble Pie.
There, he developed a creative partnership with a new group of like-minded players, including Peter Frampton. “It was the best band you could ever be in as far as I was concerned,” said Frampton, “because you’ve got my idol there. Steve would open his mouth and gold came out.”
Marriott fronted Humble Pie from 1969 to 1975, and briefly in a reunited version in the early 1980s. He also made some notable albums in his own name, including the 1976 solo debut Marriott. 1990’s Marriott & Band included versions of his treasured Small Faces songs “All Or Nothing” and “What’cha Gonna Do About It.”
‘I’ve got what I wanted’
Marriott died in a house fire on April 20, 1991, at a cruelly young 44. Shortly before the end of his life, he was interviewed by this writer, and reflected with quiet satisfaction on his career. “I was seduced at 18,” he said, “and it was quite good but it paled very quickly. I realised it had nothing to do with music and everything to do with the shape of your bum…what’s been has gone, and I’m very proud of it.
“I’ve got what I wanted, which is just enough money to live on, in no great style but a nice way, and to have some respect from other musicians and play the pubs and clubs, where the music’s still real.”
Listen to uDiscover Music’s Small Faces Best Of playlist.
January 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm
Seen Humble Pie loads, have 2 Jerry’s drum sticks, Al.
January 31, 2017 at 1:31 am
The greatest Rick singer ever. One of the reasons I’m a musician
January 31, 2017 at 7:36 pm
heard 4 track tape of h.p., years ago. was real bluesy great stuff. did any of that music get taped on another tape.( pike’s peak was the nameof the tape)
April 20, 2017 at 4:59 pm
Ah such sweet memories, “Rock On” my favorite LP (RIP) Steve Marriott.
April 23, 2019 at 1:36 pm
I still play the shit out of Rock On. My all time favorite album.
April 30, 2017 at 7:00 pm
“Rockin the Fillmore”!
May 7, 2017 at 11:41 am
All or Nothing is a fantastic musical ,I saw it last year and am looking forward to seeing it again in York .
Carl Edward Broom
October 17, 2017 at 6:54 pm
steve was fabulous hooked after first time i heard him.with humble pie.then found a small faces album. and cinnected dots amazing stuff fabulous incredible music.the music and lyrics brought colorful art to life.
April 24, 2019 at 2:20 pm
One of the greatest voices of 20th century & love Small Faces, need to hear more of his Humble Pie work