Legend is an oft abused word. There are few stars in the British pop pantheon who could legitimately be described as such. Steve Marriott is one. With an army of dedicated devotees numbering Weller and Gallagher in their ranks, the Marriott legend continues to grow.
From his first role as the original Artful Dodger in Lionel Bart’s first run of Oliver, to the electrifying bundle of energy that fronted the Small Faces, through his Humble Pie ‘super-group’ with Peter Frampton, and his eventual return to his Essex blues roots. Marriott crammed a lot into a short time.
Following his tragic death at 44 in a house fire in 1991, the Small Faces catalogue has been reissued in a hundred different ways. Box sets, CDs in tins – virtually every track they recorded is available. For a band together for only three years, their impact still looms large as the genuine mod icons.
But what of Marriott’s time before the Small Faces?
A chance discovery in an east London attic cast new light on those less well documented days.
At 16, Steve Marriott formed The Moments, an east London r & b band with a loyal mod following through their residencies at the Flamingo Club. They gigged hard through 1964 but commercial success eluded them and in October of that year Marriott was dumped by the rest of the band after they decided that ‘he didn’t have it in him to be a singer…’
Then, according to David Bowie, he and Marriott were planning a blues band called David and Goliath when Marriott jumped ship and formed the Small Faces with Ronnie Lane.
In 2008, Barry Hewitt, the bass player in The Moments chanced upon an un-played acetate recorded back in 1964. A conversation with Whapping Wharf’s John Hellier led the unheard recordings to Acid Jazz, where they have been coupled with The Moments only release, the impossibly rare ‘You Really Got Me’/’Money’ (US World Artists 1964) for a limited edition 7 inch vinyl EP.
The Moments started the Rare Mod E.P series, followed by Les Fleur De Lys, The Mule Skinners and soon to be released The Richard Kent Style.