Steve Marriott:

In my humble opinion, Steve could easily have become another Rod Stewart with platinum singles (and Britt Ekland lurking not far behind). God knows he was gifted enough.

He was a founder member of the neat Small Faces, formed in 1965. Excellent mod/R&B band. Smash hit singles with quality. I still admire 'Tin Soldier' infinitely. Simply a dynamic masterpiece. And it seems as if Steve kept playing that song throughout his entire career.

Tired of the hit singles image, Steve left the Small Faces in 1969 to form Humble Pie with Peter Frampton (guitar, vocals. Ex-Herd), Greg Ridley (bass. Ex-Spooky Tooth) and Jerry Shirley (drums). (Photo above L-R: Jerry, Peter and Steve)

It soon became painfully obvious that the group was more successful commercially when they toned down their semiacoustic rock (think The Band) and instead went for a heavy bluesrock boogie. Steve had already changed out of his natty mod threads and become a rock'n'roll evangelist, brandishing a fiery Les Paul Jr. and sporting a bandido moustache. But looking back on promo pics, wasn't he beginning to look a wee bit tired?

This musical evolution did not suit Pete Frampton. He left in 1971 (to become a mega star) and was replaced by Dave 'Clem' Clempson (ex-Colosseum). And the sounds became heavier and heavier.
Rounding out the equation was Marriott's raspy vocals, searing with tales of pain, promise and promiscuity. Pie's renditions of blues classics I Don't Need No Doctor, Hallelujah and I Walk On Gilded Splinters should be considered mandatory listening for Guitar 101.
(Quote from the Robin Trower Home Page: Humble Pie)
Humble Pie finally did become a huge commercial success in the U.S., rockin' the Fillmore, shifting loads of albums, touring endlessly - but split up in 1975.

Steve then recorded solo album "Marriott" in New York in 1976, still with Greg Ridley on bass. He also toured with the Steve Marriott's All Stars:
Steve Marriott (guitar, vocals), Clem Clempson (guitar), Mickey Finn (guitar), Greg Ridley (bass), The Blackberries (backing vocals), Ian Wallace (drums) plus later addition Damon Butcher (keyboards) (thanks for info, Miguel Terol!)
and later participated in a Small Faces reunion.

In 1980 Humble Pie was reformed for two albums. Line up featured guitarist & vocalist Bob Tench, bassist Anthony Jones, stalwart drummer Jerry Shirley and Steve himself. But alas, this late edition found limited success at best.

After the inevitable split, Steve worked the U.K. r&b circuit with unpretentious outfits like Packet Of Three, led by himself. A few albums were issued on small labels (see links below).

Steve Marriott tragically died in 1991 in a fire accident. What a terrible waste.

"30 Seconds To Midnite", CASTLE CLACD 386, recorded in 1989, surfaced at a 'used-records-shop' near me. Issued under the name Steve Marriott only it features twelve tracks including the Small Faces staple 'All Or Nothing'.

The small print reveals familiar names like guitarist James Litherland, keyboardist Mick Weaver and Jim Leverton - usually on bass (Juicy Lucy, Savoy Brown and more) but this time on vocals!

Steve's voice is pure gold (of course), the guitar work's good, but a lot of the instrumental backing rubs me the wrong way. The rhythm section is too emphasised and sounds mechanical, even synthetic. The synthesizer sounds are too 'pop' to my vintage ears. And then those wet, echoing drum sounds I've learned to hate...

Still, Steve's own composition "Phone Call Away" could (given the chance) have become a hit in the Rod Stewart market: soulful voice, great wails and yelps from the guitar and even an irresistible laughter from Steve.

The Complete 'Room for Ravers' Index: chapters on Small Faces and Steve Marriott
Clem Clempson page: lots of Humble Pie and All Stars info!
Robin Trower Home Page: Humble Pie
More stuff on Humble Pie