Small Faces – All Or Nothing

The Small Faces were very popular in the UK in the 1960s. Because of management they never toured in America. Their best-known songs are Itchycoo Park and Lazy Sunday in America but had many hits in the UK.

All or Nothing was written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane. The song peaked at #1 in the UK in 1966.

The Small Faces would splinter in 1969 and Steve Marriott would start Humble Pie with Peter Frampton. The Small Faces would welcome Ron Wood and Rod Stewart and become the Faces…Kenney Jones would later replace Keith Moon in the Who.

It was said to be written either about Marriott’s break up with his with ex-fiancée Sue Oliver, or for his first wife who once dated Rod Stewart. It is possible that both these explanations may be true…somehow.

Drummer Kenney Jones: “It was us getting to where we wanted to be musically. It wasn’t as poppy as our previous hits, but still commercial enough and better than anything we’d done before.”

Steve Marriott in 1984: “I think ‘All Or Nothing’ takes a lot of beating. To me, if there’s a song that typifies that era, then that might be it.”


From Songfacts

Not to be confused with a later song of the same title, “All Or Nothing” was recorded by the Small Faces in 1966. In his 2004 autobiography Mr Big, their manager at the time, Don Arden, said this was “top-drawer…[and] still gets played on the radio today”. Arden produced the record. Co-written by guitarist Steve Marriott and bass player Ronnie Lane, it was backed by “Understanding” and was written 

For Marriott it was very much all or nothing; he married three times and appears to have sired at least two children out of wedlock. He died in a fire in April 1991, apparently after lighting a cigarette in bed and falling asleep. Prior to his death, he had taken cocaine as well as Valium and alcohol. 

Here are two quotes about the song from 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh.

Kenney Jones recalled to Uncut magazine: “We were on tour and staying in the Station Hotel, Leeds, when Steve suddenly run down the corridor screaming, ‘I’ve got it! I’ve just written our next hit!”‘

Jones based his opening drum fill on the intro of Wilson Pickett’s “In The Midnight Hour.”



All Or Nothing

I thought you’d listen to my reason
But now I see, you don’t hear a thing
Try to make you see, how it’s got to be

Yes it’s all, all or nothing
Yeah yeah, all or nothing
All or nothing, for me

Things could work out
Just like I want them to, yeah
If I could have
The other half of you, yeah
You know I would,
If I only could

Yes it’s yeah, all or nothing
Oh yeah, all or nothing
You’ll hear my children say,
All or nothing, for me

I didn’t tell you no lies
So don’t you sit there and cry girl
Yeah, all or nothing
Oh yeah, all or nothing
Oh yeah, all or nothing

Do you know what I mean
You got to, got to, go to keep on trying, yeah
All or nothing, mm yeah
All or nothing, to keep on working on to me
All or nothing for me, for me, for me

Come on children, yeah
All or nothing, yeah,yeah, yeah, yeah
All or nothing, I kept on singing to myself
All or nothing, yeah for me, yeah

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

48 thoughts on “Small Faces – All Or Nothing”

  1. Nice tune. I don’t know their music in detail. It really comes down to this one, “Sha-La-La-La-Li”, “Itchycoo Park” and a few other songs, which I all dig.

    BTW, I’ve been listening to Big Star over the past couple of days and agree they pretty darn good!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always liked this group, but have only heard their few songs, including this one, that made the radio. They still get played on UK streaming radio, which is nice. I think they would have done well in the US. Wish they’d had the chance. I do want to read Kenney’s memoir.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to say…other than Graham Nash’s autobiography it covers that time and place rather well as any book I’ve read…bios that is.
      I’m happy they still play their songs. I wish Marriott would have stayed. They got a long great.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I will say this… Steve Marriott the singer, I would take over his replacement Rod Stewart any day of the week….he was great with Humble Pie.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Fair warning…it is a cesspool. I have an account but, haven’t posted in years. I keep the account so Messenger will work. Commenting there is not like commenting on WP. There are some nasty folks on there. I’d keep your profile tightly locked. Get used to your settings, too. You can actually block people on there unlike here. All you can do here is moderate comments and, if you get a follower you don’t want, you can disconnect them. You can’t stop someone from reading/visiting your site.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I make sure no politics are mentioned…I made a statement about that. So far it’s been fine but I don’t get on everyday. All I do is post my music lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Max, I had to create a facebook account again for the dVerse pub as I’m going to be one of the hosts and need to have an account for it. I agree with EVERYTHING Hinoeuma says about it. Beware. Another thing she didn’t mention is it is a sinkhole of time!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yea the only thing I do is watch Deke’s broadcasts and don’t accept friends requests. I have some family and that is it…. WP is my sinkhole of time! I get a lot of enjoyment out of it though.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I hear you! I’m already drawn back to fb and it is not good 😦 Not adding a bunch of people to the account and staying far far away from any political messes. WP already takes all my time!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I stay far away…I would shut anyone down if they said any thing political on my facebook. I go there around once every two days.

        Yea with WP…I think coming up I’m going to take a 2-3 day sabbatical …I’ll line a few posts up to publish or republish some of my first ones. I haven’t had time off since last July with my stone.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Just a personal preference but I would take him over Rod…and I really like Rod Stewart but what a voice Steve had… I’ve heard them live from around 66-67 and his voice was incredible.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Early Rod takes a lot of beating, perhaps the perhaps the perfect rock voice….but I kind of agree as well. Steve Marriott had an incredible voice as well. Hard to pick a winner for me!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. One of their managers Don Arden didn’t want to pay for a tour over here…that is one of the reasons they split…they never could build a following here…I’m re-reading the Kenney Jones autobiography.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t really know much about them, although certainly I do know “Itchicoo Park.” This one sounds ok first time through… funny , I didn’t particularly know McLagen’s name but I mentioned him in a post on the Rolling Stones today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ian Mclagan was in the Faces also…he has toured yes with the Stones and Dylan…he married Keith Moon’s wife…he was a lucky man.


      1. I think I remember you saying that…Jennifer was about to purchase something from her online business and that happened.


    1. They did have some good singles. If they would have stayed together it probably would have been a Faces/Humble Pie type of band. I’m a huge fan of Marriott’s voice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the Small Faces were more interesting…That round sleeve caused record shops all kinds of aggravation…they would roll off shelves.

        Liked by 1 person

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