Top 10 Ronnie Lane Songs
Ronnie Lane was so much more than just the bass player in the Small Faces and Faces. He was, in many ways, the heart and soul of both bands. Just ask the band members themselves! Not only was he an ace on bass, but his songwriting skills were top form, and his warm inviting voice shone bright. That’s what we are focusing on here with our list of Top 10 Ronnie Lane songs. His style was pure and natural, never forced or trend-leaning, and he left us far too soon. Here then, we tip our collective hats to Ronnie Lane.
After leaving the Faces, Ronnie Lane reached out to Pete Townshend to produce a solo record for him. Instead, what he got was a collaboration in the form of ‘Rough Mix.’ Released in 1977, the LP featured a who’s who of guests, including members of the Who, King Crimson, the Rolling Stones and Bad Company. One of the highlights is definitely ‘April Fool,’ which is another subdued folk based number. Eric Clapton adds a beautiful dobro, while Lane’s vocals are as pure as ever.
Appearing on the Faces’ second LP, ‘Long Player,’ ‘Richmond’ captures the band in folk-blues mode. Throw in some lovely slide guitar work from the man, and you’ve got a blues-based treat. At times, Lane’s vocal style shares a similar warmth and delivery to that of George Harrison. Nowhere is that more present than on the beautiful ‘Richmond.’
‘Show Me The Way’
‘Show Me The Way’ is yet another highlight from the Small Faces’ 1967 LP. Harpsichord colors this melodic masterpiece of psych pop. There are elements of the Kinks as well as the Left Banke at work here, but it never sounds like anyone but the Small Faces. Ronnie Lane’s plaintive vocal seals the deal on this sweetly simple song.
‘One For The Road’
The title song from Ronnie Lane’s third solo offering is a straight-ahead rocker in the style of much of his Faces material, in fact, you can almost hear the Faces plowing through this catchy number. Billed as Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance, the album was released in 1975 to very little fanfare, despite great material and prime production from Ronnie himself. ‘One For The Road’ has a similar vibe and sentiment to the Faces classic ‘Had Me A Real Good Time,’ and all these years later rings just as true.
‘Flags And Banners’
‘Ooh La La’ is a classic, yet somewhat underrated, Faces album, and Lane wrote the bulk of the songs there. Co-written with Rod Stewart, ‘Flags And Banners’ is yet another brilliant tune that shows off the folkier, acoustic-based side of the band. The song carries a very traditional folk melody and pattern to great results, and although their forte was undoubtedly raucous rock and roll, when they toned things down in this manner, no one did it better.
‘You’re So Rude’
A rollicking, barroom stomper from the great ‘A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse’ LP, ‘You’re So Rude’ is classic Faces rock and roll. Lane’s delivery, though obviously different from that of Rod Stewart, fits the song to a T. Ian McLagen lays down some funky organ work as Ronnie’s bass work glides the song along. A real groover that stands out among all the prime competition on the band’s classic third LP.
By 1967, the Small Faces had fled Decca Records to a new home at Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label, Their first offering was one of that year’s great LP’s, issued as simply ‘Small Faces’ in the U.K., and in slightly altered form, ‘There Are But Four Small Faces’ in the U.S. Either way you slice it, it’s a great album and ‘Green Circles’ is pure pop gold. While Lane’s vocal style quite obviously differed from the powerhouse delivery of Steve Marriott, had his own distinct flavor that suited some of the bands best material. Case in point, ‘Green Circles.’
Arguably one of Lane’s greatest songs, ‘Debris’ is a beautiful ballad found nestled amid the raucous setting of the Faces third LP, ‘A Nod Is As Good As A Wink… To A Blind Horse.’ Ronnie delivers one of his most heartfelt vocals on some truly wonderful lyrics here. Though not a hit by any terms, the song has remained a fan favorite for over 40 years.
‘Ooh La La’
Though the song features a rare Ronnie Wood vocal, it’s become so associated with Lane over the years. Co-written by Wood and Lane, it is simply a perfect song. Everything about it rings true, from the playing to the production to the ever-poignant lyrics that connect with people from generation to generation. Absolutely one of the Faces finest moments and a testament to the great writing of one Ronnie Lane.
‘Song Of A Baker’
The 1968 Small Faces album ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake,’ is something of a masterpiece of U.K. pop. The styles veer from heavy to light to dreamy to whimsical and back again. One of that LP’s pinnacle moments comes in the form of this Lane/Marriott composition, sung beautifully by Lane. ‘Song Of A Baker’ has everything and more and shows off the dynamics of the band in pure form. The band are firing on all cylinders, and when Steve Marriott joins in on the backup vocals, it sends shivers.