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Rod Stewart Calls Ian McLagan ‘The True Spirit of the Faces’

Keystone Features, Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Rod Stewart has offered a public tribute to his former Faces bandmate Ian McLagan, who passed away Dec. 3.

In an interesting twist of fate, when Stewart heard the news of McLagan’s death, he was watching a live set by Mick Hucknall — the founder of Simply Red and Stewart’s replacement on vocals when the Faces reunited without him in 2009. “I’m absolutely devastated,” he told NME. “Ian McLagan embodied the true spirit of the Faces. Last night I was at a charity do, Mick Hucknall was singing ‘I’d Rather Go Blind,’ and Ron Wood texted to say Ian had passed. It was as if his spirit was in the room. I’ll miss you mate.”

Hucknall added his own tribute on Twitter, sending out a photo of McLagan and assuring followers that if there’s an afterlife, it’s now being enlivened by the famously irreverent keyboardist’s signature style:

Wood, who suffered another loss with the passing of Rolling Stones sideman Bobby Keys on Dec. 2, tweeted his own eloquently brief farewell to both men.

McLagan and Stewart had a somewhat testy public relationship in recent years, chiefly owing to Stewart’s ongoing dithering over whether to make room in his schedule for an oft-discussed reunion with the rest of the Faces. There seemed to be progress on that front, with thoughts of putting something together for 2015; whatever happens next, as Stewart pointed out, it just won’t be the same without McLagan.

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