Steve Marriott; Child Actor, Pop, Soul and Hard-Charging Rock n’ Roll

 

“People who got on their feet and freaked about were called idiot dancers. and nobody wants to be called an idiot dancer. But the whole idea of rock and roll is to get people off their arses – that’s what it’s about”. Steve Marriott

Stephen Peter “Steve” Marriott (30 January 1947 – 20 April 1991) was an English musician, songwriter and frontman of two notable rock and roll bands, spanning over two decades. Marriott is remembered for his powerful singing voice which belied his small stature, and for his aggressive approach as a guitarist in the mod rock bands- Small Faces (1965–1969) and Humble Pie (1969–1975 and 1980–1981).

Steve Marriott & The Moments

The Small Faces

The group was founded in 1965 by members Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, although by 1966 Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan as the band’s keyboardist

It was Marriott’s first taste of success, with four albums.

Gretsch 6120 (various models) – during the Small Faces, Marriott used the original brown Gretsch 6120 (various models). Most Small Faces tracks would have been recorded with this guitar. Marriott also used a brown model at the beginning of Humble Pie.

Fender Telecaster – used towards the end of the Small Faces (1968). Marriott fattened its sound by replacing the neck pick-up with a P90. Interestingly, Eddie Cochran replaced his neck pick-up on his Gretsch with a P90 too. Marriott’s Telecaster ended its days with the Small Faces at Alexandra Palace, breaking in two as it was thrown down in disgust during the gig on New Year’s Eve when Marriott announced his decision to leave the band.

Notably, Marriott’s departure from Small Faces prompted Lane and Jones to replace him with two musicians — singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood — and shorten the band’s name to the Faces. It would launch both Stewart’s and Wood’s careers.

“You grow apart for Christsakes. You’re talking about people living together from the ages of seventeen to twenty-two and that’s a growing up part of your life and we got to hate each other, no doubt about it. We didn’t speak to each other for fucking years. Maybe ten years.” – Marriott

With Humble Pie, Marriott hit his stride. The band’s songs — many penned by Marriott — began to hit the charts, while their live performances became legendary.

The original band lineup featured Steve Marriott from the Small Faces, vocalist and guitarist Peter Frampton from The Herd, former Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley and seventeen-year-old drummer Jerry Shirley.

“It was fantastic, I loved it, Muddy Waters recorded it but I couldn’t sing like Muddy Waters so it wasn’t that much of a nick. I was a high range and Muddy was a low range so I had to figure out how to sing it. So I did and that was our opening number for all the years we were together. Every time we were on stage that was our opening number, unless we had a short set. That’s where Jimmy Page and Robert Plant heard it. Robert Plant used to follow us around. He was like a fan.” – Marriott

“When we first went there we completely lacked confidence. Our manager told us our act was too long, and told us to drop certain numbers and concentrate on the exciting stuff. And he was right.” Steve Marriott

 

One of the best blues based rock singers of all time. When I think of how blues form should be sung, he’s top of the heap. For me, his efforts though not slavish blues form, were evolutionary and sublime. He could also dig in with pretty amazing authority on the guitar. A hair raising performer for sure. Gone too soon. Mark Robinson 07-26-2009

In 1975, Humble Pie came sputtering to a halt after a series of less than inspiring albums. Surprisingly, frontman Steve Marriott’s first solo album after the split, 1976’s Marriott, is a sprightly, rollicking affair that is light on the blues-rock of Humble Pie and heavy on soul, funk, and hard-charging rock & roll.

 

 He’s dirty as ever and on top of his game, and the album flat out rocks. Tim Sendra

Marriott as child actor (Film, TV and radio)

Marriott began his performing career, doing musical theater at a young age and even enrolling in acting school with his parents’ enthusiastic support.

‘Oliver!‘ opened at the New Theatre in London on 30 June 1960. Keith Hamshere (left) was the original Oliver, and Martin Horsey (right) was an exuberant Artful Dodger. Others in the original cast were Ron Moody (Fagin), Georgia Brown (Nancy), Barry Humphries (yes – him!) as Mr Sowerberry, and Paul Whitsun-Jones (Mr Bumble). Among the workhouse boys were Stephen Marriott (who was later to find fame in the Small Faces and Humble Pie), and Tony Robinson

Citizen James – (1961) A popular half-hour comedy starring Carry On Films actor Sid James.

Mr Pastry’s Progress – (1962) b/w BBC television children’s sitcom starring Richard Hearne and Barbara Hicks.

Night Cargoes – (1962) 125 mins (8 episodes)

In the 19th century a group of children is mixed up in local smuggling thinking it is just an exciting game. But they find out how serious it is and help to round up the villains. Produced by Cecil Musk in association with Film Producers Guild. Story Angela Ainely Jeans. Screenplay David Villiers. Director Ernest Morris. With: Waveney Lee, Hugh James, Stephen Marriott.

Heavens Above! – (released April 1963) Starring Peter Sellers as a prison chaplain and co-starring Eric Sykes. Marriott plays a street kid who shoots his mother. There were reports on set of Sellers and Marriott duetting on banjos between takes.

Live It Up! – (1963) Starring David Hemmings and Jennifer Moss. Marriott was typecast as the Cockney drummer called ‘Ricky’.

Dixon of Dock Green – (transmitted in 1963) – Marriott appears in an episode entitled The River People playing a character called ‘Clive Dawson’; the episode was written by Ted Willis.

William the Peacemaker –  TV acting role (March 1963). Marriott plays the character of ‘Bertie Franks’.

Be My Guest – (1964) released in 1965 (the follow-up to Live It Up!) again Marriott plays the character ‘Ricky’.

Dateline Diamonds – (1965) Marriott along with the other members of the Small Faces appear as themselves in the film performing their self-penned second single “I’ve Got Mine”.

Radio Luxembourg – Reading out listeners’ problem letters for well-known agony aunt Marjorie Proops.

Mrs Dale’s Diary – a popular radio show playing a popstar called ‘Art Joyful’.

“He (Marriott) was certainly the most talented person I ever worked with. He was like a brother to me and I was devastated when he died. He always lived on the edge and I was always waiting for a ‘phone call to say that he had died but I never dreamed it would be under those circumstances. He’s never got the credit he deserves. He should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame because he was the greatest white soul singer that England ever produced. I’m certain that if you caught the likes of Rod Stewart and Paul Rodgers in a private moment and asked them who was the main man, they would say, Steve Marriott.” – Jerry Shirley

I’ve got no mind to worry
I close my eyes and drift away

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