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Lost Songs: The Small Faces

jason stives at a lost treasure from The Small Faces in honor of the new Grand Theft Auto trailer …

Anyone who has been on IGN in the past few hours has seen the frenzy of the recently released Grand Theft Auto 5 trailer. No doubt I have been very excited by the prospect of the new installment, and now we all know more about it, but what struck me more than anything (because I’m that kind of person) was the music used during the trailer.

It was obviously striking enough for GTA V‘s introduction to the gaming world that it warranted an article on IGN (along with many other unnecessary articles), but suffice to say it was a song titled “Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake” by underrated ’60s British rockers The Small Faces. The Small Faces created greater fame on the American front after their demise. The four members went on to form rock stalwarts Humble Pie and The Faces, the latter featuring a young Rod Stewart and future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.

In England, The Small Faces were another excellent notch in the cavalcade of great and influential rock bands to come out of the swinging ’60s. Known for being mostly a singles band for the first three years of their success, The Small Faces looked to further their creative output and expand their apparent drug minds by creating the concept album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake in 1968. The album, which revolves around a man named Happiness Stan and his pursuit of the missing half of the moon, is strange in concept but is absolutely brilliant in execution, with the first side comprising six solid pop tracks and the second side seven songs linked by an absurd narrative spoken by British comedian Stanley Unwin, who speaks in the strange dialect of gobbledegook.

The standout track of this album is the album’s second single, released in March 1969: “Afterglow (Of Your Love),” a four minute organ opera of a rock track. The band has never sound as tight as they do here and were obviously in search of something with staying power instead of something that would reach Top Of The Pops upon release.

Steve Marriott wails his trademark vocals with a sense of satisfaction and self accomplishment, although in reality his worries of the band never being taken seriously would ultimately lead to his exit in January 1969. The rest of the group, bassist Ronnie Lane, organ player Ian McLagan and drummer Kenny Jones carry out a fire cracker of energy in their respected roles delivering a tune of almost operatic proportions.

The album spent an unprecedented six weeks at No. 1 on the British charts upon its release, but the album would prove to be the breaking point for the band. Today, it’s a pop culture gem that focuses on the evolution of rock and pop music in the late ’60s, as well as the defining moment for this band of likely lads. The Small Faces are eligible for this years Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, which would be a fitting end to a band that has since lost half its members (Marriott died in a fire in 1991, and bassist Lane of MS in 1997). Regardless, ‘Afterglow’ still stands as one of the best rock tracks of the ’60s and one that people should really invest some more time into observing.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI8WBy1WIVE&w=420&h=315]



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