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

The Small Faces

The Small Faces were one of those British groups that just never could break America. Some say it was their manager Don Arden who would not budget for touring America but they could have been just a little too British for America…

They were indeed small… all of them were between 5’4 and 5’6″…

They had one of the best if not the best lead singer of that time in Steve Marriott. The guy had a huge voice. They had a talented lineup of Steve Marriott (Guitar and Lead Vocals), Ronnie Lane (Bass), Kenney Jones (drums) and Ian McLagan (Keyboards)… Ian replaced Jimmy Winston.

They were a mod group that was together from 1965 to the beginning of 1969 when Steve left to form Humble Pie.

The had some very good singles like All or Nothing, Itchycoo Park, Lazy Sunday, Tin Soldier, Sha-La-La-La-Lee and more.

The Small Faces also recorded a critically acclaimed concept psychedelic album in 1968 called Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake with their new record company Immediate Records. They never followed it up and only performed it once live in its entirety on a television show called Colour Me Pop. It spent 6 weeks at number one on the UK Album Charts.

Steve Marriott wanted to do heavier and more sophisticated music and quit at a 1968 New Years Eve gig to join Peter Frampton in Humble Pie.

When Mick Taylor quit the Rolling Stones in 1974 it left a big hole in their sound…  According to Ronnie Wood, Steve Marriott was Keith Richards first choice to replace Taylor…Mick Jagger vetoed the idea. Steve was a great guitar player and writer. It would have been interesting but he could not have sung lead. There is no singer that could take Mick’s place in the Rolling Stones.

The Small Faces were not finished. They replaced Marriott with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood and became the Faces. The Small Faces did reunite in the mid-70s with Ronnie Lane on bass again but he quit and was replaced.

Marriott and Lane did most of the writing. Their songs were clever and catchy. I was a very young in the sixties and don’t actually remember them but Itchycoo Park puts me there. This band should have been bigger than what they were… With the right record label, manager and push, they might have broken through.