Top 10 Faces Songs
When it comes to pure, unadulterated, raunchy rock and roll, few delivered better than the Faces. Rising from the ashes of the Small Faces, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones swapped the amazing Steve Marriott for a pair of kings in Ron Wood and Rod Stewart. The rest, as they warhorse saying goes, is history. Four killer albums and a string of singles, not to mention Stewart’s solo career going full steam at the same time, adds up to a whole lotta rock and roll! So here we give you our Top 10 Faces tracks.
A highlight from the Faces’ 1973 LP ‘Ooh La La,’ and some of the finest rock and roll to ever ride down the road. With the sound of a nagging car horn bellowing out, the band kicks in and we’re off on a rollicking ride. This is perfect stagger and swagger rock and roll; a chunky groove propelled by Ron Wood’s surging riff and Kenney Jones’ pounding drums. Toss in some barrel house piano runs from Ian McLagan, and it’s hard to imagine things can get much better.
A moody and brooding number form the band’s debut LP, ‘First Step.’ This growling slice of soul showed what the band were capable of pulling off early on. Haunting organ work from McLagan and an almost gospel influenced vocal break paints this one a different shade than much of the band’s more raucous material. At the same time, it’s clear the fire is raging and the groove is on.
‘Pool Hall Richard’
A non-LP raver here from the boys! Released in 1973, this rocker hit the UK Top 10 and was, in many ways, the band’s last hurrah. Ronnie Lane left the Faces shortly thereafter, and Ron Wood was soon lured away by the Rolling Stones. With all that drama mixed with the unavoidable fact that Stewart’s solo career was commercially eclipsing the band, it was inevitable that this group was not meant to be a long term proposition. Still, this was certainly a high note to go out on!
In retrospect, it’s surprising that this great mid-tempo piano based rocker, which shot to No. 2 in the UK, wasn’t a bigger hit in the States, where it only grazed the top 50. Stylistically, it’s pretty interchangeable with much of Stewart’s solo material of the time, which was riding much higher on the charts. Regardless, it’s a pure pop classic and one of many wonderful moments on the band’s final studio LP.
Forget those ‘Great American Songbook’ discs, and the crooner Rod has become over the years, and give ‘Too Bad’ a listen. This is full tilt, raunchy rock and roll that will erase any memory of one of rock’s greatest voices reducing himself to selling collections of Christmas carols via the Home Slopping Network.
‘I Know I’m Losing You’
A Faces record in all but name. Due to contractual reasons, this amazing cover of the Temptations classic was released as a single under Rod Stewart’s name alone. The song, also included on his incredible breakthrough solo LP ‘Every Picture Tells A Story,’ features all of the Faces playing on it. They take the soul classic, wrestle it into submission, and completely make it their own. It’s important to put your own spin on any cover song, and the Faces did just that, delivering a stunning take here. The band is on fire and Stewart’s voice is a force unto itself.
‘Had Me A Real Good Time’
A night’s end, closing up the bar kind of song that no one did better than the Faces. It’s another full dose of their trademark stagger and swagger that pulls you along for the ride and raises a toast while smiling ear to ear. You’d be hard pressed to find a better example of what the Faces were all about than this song. Everyone is at their peak and the dead on groove they get locked into here is one for the ages.
‘Ooh La La’
Written by Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane, this country-fied ditty was actually sung by none other than Ronnie Wood. As the story goes, Stewart didn’t care much for the tune so Wood gave a try at the vocals, which ended up being just what the song needed. His more casual approach somehow fit the words and music perfectly. Being a slight stylistic departure from the Faces more raucous side actually helped this gem stand out. Thanks to use in the 1998 movie ‘Rushmore,’ the song was given a second life.
‘Miss Judy’s Farm’
From that opening Ron Wood guitar riff and Stewart’s howl, ‘Miss Judy’s Farm’ remains a thing of wonder.The lead off track to their 1971 classic ‘A Nod’s As God As A Wink To A Blind Horse,’ this song’s got it all! Wood’s pure raunch, Lane and Jones’ bump-n-grind rhythm section and McLagan’s pure soul organ all cook along while Stewart delivers one of his finest vocals. As the band pick up the pace toward the end, it feels like the wheels are about to come off the cart, but if anyone could handle ramshackle rock and roll, it was the Faces.
‘Stay With Me’
The definitive Faces track if ever there was one, and the obvious choice for our No. 1 slot. ‘Stay With Me’ was the Faces biggest hit in America (breaking into the top 20) and hitting top ten in the UK. The opening riff is like a shot of adrenaline, and as the band tumble ins, the ride is on. The rhythm shifts to a funkier proposition while retaining all that Faces charm. The great lyrics — “let’s go upstairs and read my tarot cards” — are delivered wonderfully by the one and only Mr. Stewart, while the band chug along behind him. Wood delivers some ace slide guitar work while the unsung rhythm section of Jones and Lane pulls this train long, before kicking back into high gear for the killer rave up. More than 40 years down the road, this song has lost none of it’s charm or power.