May 24 – Small Faces Get Heavy Before Checking Out

Small Faces – Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

Today marks the 5-0 anniversary of the Small Faces album Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.  It is the fourth and also the final album released with the original group intact.  Their next release came posthumously as its members were splintering into the groups Humble Pie and Faces.  The album peaked at #1 on the UK Album Charts.

Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Steve Marriott (L-R)

The album’s recording took approximately five months, with the majority of the work completed during the spring of 1968.  Side one of the album contains a collection of heavy rock songs which sound very 1968, i.e., still psychedelic but moving away from the dayglow flower power pop rock of the prior year – a common theme which runs throughout rock releases from ’68.  Side two is a concept recording based on a fairy tale with narration provided by South African comedian, actor and writer “Professor” Stanley Unwin.

The Small Faces performing in 1968.

The LP, with its replica of an old-time tobacco tin for a cover, was received very well from the time of its release, and is widely considered to be the band’s peak.  Unfortunately, the recording also precipitated the band’s demise.  As with other albums from the era, enhanced studio techniques and experiments rendered it difficult if not impossible to replicate Ogden’s on stage at the time.  The album never was performed live, and a frustrated Steve Marriott quit the band during a New Year’s Eve gig at the end of the year.  Drummer Kenney Jones said of the breakup in 2001:

I wish we had been a little bit more grown up at the time, if we had played Ogdens’ live it would have boosted our confidence so much, we were labelled as a pop band, which definitely got up Steve’s nose more than we realised. I wish we had been more like The Who in the fact that when they have problems they stick together until they’ve overcome them, Steve just thought well how do we top Ogdens’ and he was off. Ogdens’ was a masterpiece if we had played it live we would have gone on to even greater things, I reckon we were on the verge of crossing the great divide and becoming a heavier band.

Heavier – as in Humble Pie and Faces.


Side One:

  1. Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake
  2. Afterglow of Your Love
  3. Long Agos and Worlds Apart
  4. Rene
  5. Song of a Baker
  6. Lazy Sunday

Side Two:

  1. Happiness Stan
  2. Rollin’ Over
  3. The Hungry Intruder
  4. The Journey
  5. Mad John
  6. Happy Days Toy Town