Ronnie Lane

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Ronnie Lane
Ronnie Lane.jpg
Lane performing with his band
Slim Chance in 1975
Background information
Birth nameRonald Frederick Lane
Also known as
  • Plonk
  • Three-Piece
Born(1946-04-01)1 April 1946
Plaistow, Essex, England
Died4 June 1997(1997-06-04) (aged 51)
Trinidad, Colorado, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • bass guitar
  • guitar
Years active1964–1992
Associated acts

Ronald Frederick Lane (1 April 1946 – 4 June 1997) [1] was an English musician, songwriter, and producer who is best known as the bass guitarist and founding member of two prominent English rock and roll bands: Small Faces (1965–69) and subsequently Faces (1969–73). With Small Faces he was nicknamed "Plonk". After their breakup and re-formation as Faces, he acquired the nickname "Three-Piece".


In 1973, Lane quit Faces. Subsequently, he collaborated with other musicians, leading his own bands and pursuing a solo career, while remaining close to his former bandmates. In 1977, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He was supported by charity projects and financial contributions from friends, former bandmates and fans. After living with the disease for 21 years, he died in June 1997, aged 51. [1]

For his work in both Small Faces and Faces, Lane was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Early life

Lane was born in Plaistow Maternity Hospital, Plaistow, back then a working class area in Essex, to Elsie Lane and Stanley Lane, a truck driver. Lane later described his father as a "saint" who would work a long work day and then return home to nurse his wife and two sons, all of whom were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at different points in their lives. Doctors assured Lane as a child that the destructive disease was not necessarily inherited, although he found out later in his life that he had indeed inherited it. [2]

After leaving school at the age of 16, Lane met Kenney Jones at a local pub, and they formed a group they named The Outcasts. Initially playing lead guitar, Lane quickly switched to bass. When shopping for a Harmony bass guitar, Lane visited the J60 Music Bar in Manor Park, London, where he met Steve Marriott, who was working there. Lane bought his bass, and went to Marriott's house after work, where Marriott introduced him to his Motown and Stax collection. Lane and Marriott set out to form a band, recruiting friends Jimmy Winston, who switched from guitar to organ, and Jones. Marriott was chosen to be the frontman and singer.

Small Faces

The Small Faces consisted of Lane on bass guitar, Marriott as guitarist and lead vocalist, Jones as drummer, and Winston on keyboards. (The name "Small" was chosen as they were all under 5'5" in height.) They made their debut in 1965, with Ian McLagan replacing Winston in November 1965. They had a successful chart career; Lane and Marriott wrote hit singles consistently, including "Itchycoo Park" and "All or Nothing". At least a dozen successful songs credit Lane, [3] and he co-wrote all but one of the tracks on their 1968 concept album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake . The album stayed at number one on the UK Albums Chart for six weeks. [4] When Marriott left the group in 1969, they disbanded; they reformed in the late 1970s, but without Lane.


Lane formed the Faces with McLagan, Jones, Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart in 1969. He shared primary songwriting duties with Stewart and Wood, composing or co-composing many of their best-loved pieces. By 1972, with the band's frontman Stewart focusing on his own solo career, Lane took a central role during the recording of their fourth and final album, Ooh La La . Unhappy due to poor reviews of the album and Stewart's lack of commitment, Lane quit [5] in 1973, making his last appearance on 4 June at the Sundown Theatre in Edmonton, London. He was replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi but tellingly the group made no further studio albums following Lane's departure, and split in 1975. According to McLagan, Lane would later regret leaving the Faces. [6]

Move to Wales

In 1973, Lane moved to Fishpool Farm in the village of Hyssington, Montgomeryshire, Wales, just over the border from England. In the late 1970s, already beginning to feel the effects of MS, he moved back to London. [7]

Slim Chance and later career

After leaving the Faces, Lane formed his own band, Slim Chance, who recorded the singles "How Come" (UK No. 11) and "The Poacher" (UK No. 36) and the album Anymore for Anymore , showcasing a blend of British rock, folk and country music. The original line-up of this band included Scottish singer-songwriters Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, who provided harmony vocals and played a variety of instruments including keyboards, accordion, acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo and harmonica. They left in May 1974 to continue their career as a duo, though they would appear on 1977's Rough Mix as guests.

After initial success he toured the UK with "The Passing Show", a circus-type carnival complete with tents and barkers. Viv Stanshall, from the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, served briefly as ringmaster (of sorts). Gallagher & Lyle were replaced with Scottish duo Lucas & McCulloch who provided accordion, mandolin, guitars and banjo. They also acted as support act along with fiddle player Kenny Slaven (who multi tracked all the string parts on "The Poacher." Lane moved to Island Records and issued Ronnie Lane's Slim Chance and One for the Road . In late 1976 he joined a short-lived reformation of Small Faces but quit after two rehearsals, to be replaced by Rick Wills (who later played alongside former Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones in the Jones Gang). However, Lane had signed a contract with Atlantic Records as part of the Small Faces, and was informed that he owed the company an album. His ensuing album with Pete Townshend, Rough Mix, produced by Glyn Johns, which was released in 1977, was lauded as contender for best album of the year by many critics, but the label did not promote it and sales were lacklustre.

During the recording of Rough Mix, Lane's multiple sclerosis was diagnosed. Nonetheless he toured, wrote and recorded (with Eric Clapton among others) and in 1979 released another album, See Me , which features several songs written by Lane and Clapton. Around this time Lane travelled the highways and byways of England and lived a 'passing show' modern nomadic life in full Gypsy traveller costume and accommodation.

In 1983 his girlfriend Boo Oldfield contacted Glyn Johns with a view to organising a concert to help fund Action for Research into Multiple Sclerosis. Johns was already arranging Clapton's Command Performance[ clarification needed ] for Prince Charles so they decided to book the Royal Albert Hall for a further two nights and host a benefit concert. [1] The resulting ARMS Charity Concerts. featured Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones, Andy Fairweather Low, Steve Winwood, Ray Cooper, James Hooker, Fernando Saunders, Chris Stainton, Tony Hymas, Simon Phillips and others. With the addition of Joe Cocker and Paul Rodgers they toured the US.

Move to Texas and death

Lane emigrated to Texas, USA, in 1984 (first to Houston, then Austin), where the climate was more beneficial to his health and he continued playing, writing, and recording. He formed an American version of Slim Chance, which was, as always, a loose-knit conglomeration of available musicians. For much of the time, membership included Alejandro Escovedo. For close to a decade Lane enjoyed "rock royalty" status in the Austin area. He toured Japan but his health continued to decline. His last performance was in 1992 at a Ronnie Wood gig alongside Ian McLagan.

In 1994 Ronnie and his wife Susan moved to the small town of Trinidad, Colorado. Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood funded his medical care as no royalties from the Small Faces work were forthcoming - until Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan were eventually able to secure payments, by which time Steve Marriott had died in a house fire and Lane had also died.

Lane succumbed to pneumonia, in the final stages of his progressive multiple sclerosis, on 4 June 1997 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Trinidad, Colorado. [8] An album of live BBC recordings was about to be released to raise money for his care when Lane died.


"Ronnie Lane", the street in Manor Park, Newham named after him Ronnie Lane, Manor Park, London E12 (1).jpg
"Ronnie Lane", the street in Manor Park, Newham named after him

Ride recorded 'A Trip Down Ronnie Lane' as a b-side to their final single 'Black Nite Crash' in 1996. The Ocean Colour Scene song "Travellers Tune" on their 1997 studio album Marchin' Already was inspired by and written in the memory of Ronnie Lane, a strong influence on the group, which appeared at the tribute concert for Ronnie Lane. Likewise Lane had been such a source of inspiration to the members of Poi Dog Pondering that they created a tribute page for him and in 1995 band member Susan Voelz covered Lane's song, "Glad and Sorry" on her 1995 album, Summer Crashing, "out of her respect and affection for Ronnie Lane". [9]

In 2000, Paul Weller recorded "He's the Keeper", a song dedicated to Lane's memory. [10] An album of live and in-studio recordings from Lane's Austin days was later culled, and released as Live in Austin.

A street was named after him, "Ronnie Lane", in Manor Park in 2001. In January 2006 BBC Four broadcast an extensive documentary about Lane, The Passing Show that had been in preparation since 2000 and included footage of vintage concerts by the Faces and Slim Chance. In October 2006 the documentary was also shown on BBC Two. In 2012, former Small Faces bandmate Ian MacLagan interpreted some of Lane's best-known songs in a record entitled Spiritual Boy: In Appreciation of Ronnie Lane. McLagan died in 2014.

Longtime collaborator, Charlie Hart, compiled a six CD set of Lane's composed, after his death, that included many unreleased songs. [11]


Small Faces

Studio albums


Studio albums

Solo discography

Studio albums

Live albums

  • You Never Can Tell (The BBC Sessions) (1997)
  • Live in Austin (2000)
  • Rocket 69 (Live on German TV) (2001)


  • Kuschty Rye (The Singles 1973–1980) (1997)
  • Tin and Tambourine (compilation) (1999)
  • April Fool (album) (1999)
  • How Come (2001)
  • Ain't No One Like (2003)
  • Just for a Moment (2006)
  • Ooh La La: An Island Harvest (2014)
  • Just For A Moment: Music 1973-1997 (6CD box set) (2019)

Collaborative albums

Related Research Articles

Faces were an English rock band formed in 1969 by members of Small Faces after lead singer/guitarist Steve Marriott left that group to form Humble Pie. The remaining Small Faces—Ian McLagan (keyboards), Ronnie Lane, and Kenney Jones —were joined by Ronnie Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart, both from the Jeff Beck Group, and the new line-up was renamed Faces. Faces and Small Faces were jointly inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Small Faces English band

Small Faces were an English rock band from London, founded in 1965. The group originally consisted of Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones, and Jimmy Winston, with Ian McLagan replacing Winston as the band's keyboardist in 1966. The band was one of the most acclaimed and influential mod groups of the 1960s, recording hit songs such as "Itchycoo Park", "Lazy Sunday", "All or Nothing", and "Tin Soldier", as well as their concept album Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. They later evolved into one of the UK's most successful psychedelic bands until 1969.

Ronnie Wood British rock musician, member of The Rolling Stones

Ronald David Wood is an English rock musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, artist, author and radio personality best known as a member of the Rolling Stones since 1975, as well as a member of Faces and the Jeff Beck Group.

Kenney Jones Drummer

Kenneth Thomas Jones is an English drummer best known for his work in the groups Small Faces, Faces, and the Who. Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of Small Faces/Faces.

Steve Marriott English musician and songwriter

Stephen Peter Marriott was an English musician, songwriter and frontman guitarist of rock bands Small Faces and Humble Pie, spanning over two decades. Marriott was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a member of Small Faces.

<i>Ooh La La</i> (Faces album) 1973 studio album by Faces

Ooh La La is the fourth and final studio album by the English rock band Faces, released in March 1973. It reached Number One in the UK album chart in the week of 28 April 1973. On 28 August 2015, the album was reissued in remastered form on vinyl, and remastered and expanded on CD as part of the box set 1970–1975: You can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything.

<i>Rough Mix</i> 1977 studio album by Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane

Rough Mix is an album by the Who's guitarist Pete Townshend and former Small Faces and Faces bassist Ronnie Lane. The album was released in September 1977 as Polydor 2442 in the UK and MCA 2295 in the US. It peaked at number 44 on the UK album chart, and at number 45 on the Billboard 200.

<i>Small Faces</i> (1966 album) 1966 studio album by Small Faces

Small Faces is the debut album of the Small Faces, released in May 1966 by Decca Records. It includes the hit singles "Whatcha Gonna Do About It" and "Sha-La-La-La-Lee". The album was well received by music critics and was popular with the public, rising to number 3 on the UK album chart remaining at the top for several weeks.

<i>Mahoneys Last Stand</i> 1976 soundtrack album by Ron Wood and Ronnie Lane

Mahoney's Last Stand is an album by Faces bandmates Ronnie Wood and Ronnie Lane, recorded in 1972. It is the music soundtrack album of the low-budget 1972 Canadian film Mahoney's Last Stand starring Alexis Kanner, Sam Waterston and Maud Adams. The film itself, little seen at the time of its release and even less so since, charts the progress of city-dweller Mahoney (Kanner) who abandons his urban existence to become a homesteader, and the drama that ensues. Pete Townshend, who guests on guitar on some tracks on the album, also receives a credit in the film for providing 'special electronic effects', alongside Wood and Lane's musical score.

The Universal (Small Faces song) single by the Small Faces

"The Universal" is a UK single released by English R&B influenced group Small Faces on 28 June 1968 and reached number 16, staying in the top 40 for a total of 10 weeks.

"I've Got Mine" was the second official song released by the English rock band Small Faces in 1965. The song failed to chart despite receiving favourable reviews in the British music press.

Hey Girl (Small Faces song) single by Small Faces

"Hey Girl" was the fourth song release by popular British R&B group Small Faces. The song reached number ten on the UK Singles Charts in 1966.

<i>The Autumn Stone</i> 1969 compilation album by Small Faces

The Autumn Stone is a posthumous retrospective double album, and the second compilation album released in the UK by Small Faces in 1969 on the Immediate label.

<i>From the Beginning</i> (Small Faces album) compilation album

From the Beginning is the first compilation album by the English rock band Small Faces. It was released by Decca Records of group material after the band had left the record label; it consisted of the band's Decca hit singles combined with various unreleased recordings. The album rose to Number 17 in the UK Album Chart.

Spiritual Boy is the seventh album by former Small Faces and Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan. The album was intended as a tribute to his bandmate in both groups, singer-songwriter Ronnie Lane, released on what would have been Lane's sixtieth birthday, 1 April 2006, on McLagan's own Maniac Records. Featuring ten tracks either written or co-written by Lane throughout the span of his career as a musician and one written by McLagan for Lane, it was recorded in February and March 2006 at McLagan's Manor, Texas studio, The Doghouse, with his backing group, the Bump Band in tow alongside such guests as famed Austin, Texas disc jockey Jody Denberg.

Ooh La La (Faces song) Faces song

"Ooh La La" is a 1973 song by the band Faces, written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood. It is the title song of the band's last studio album, Ooh La La.

<i>Tommy</i> (soundtrack) 1975 soundtrack album by The Who

Tommy is a soundtrack album by The Who with contributions from numerous artists. The soundtrack was used in the 1975 Tommy film that was based on the original album that was released by The Who in 1969. Pete Townshend oversaw the production of this double-LP recording that returned the music to its rock roots, and on which the unrecorded orchestral arrangements he had envisaged for the original Tommy LP were realised by the extensive use of synthesiser.

Playmates is the fourth studio album, and the first during their reunion, by English rock band the Small Faces. The album was created by Steve Marriott, Ian McLagan, Kenney Jones and Rick Wills when they reformed in the late seventies and recorded it along with the album 78 in the Shade. Ronnie Lane left before the album was recorded.

Talk to You 1967 song by Small Faces

"Talk to You" is a song by English rock band Small Faces. It was recorded in 1967 and issued as the B-side of "Here Come the Nice" that peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.

<i>In Memoriam</i> (Small Faces album) 1969 compilation album by Small Faces

In Memoriam is the first album by East London rock band Small Faces after their break-up, released on 1 May 1969 through Immediate Records in West Germany only. Their second compilation album following From the Beginning, In Memoriam is a compilation of unreleased studio tracks recorded during the sessions for Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake and their fourth unfinished album 1862, along with five live tracks which proved to be the Small Faces final recordings; they broke up only two months later.


  1. 1 2 3 "Faces' Ronnie Lane Dead at 51". Rolling Stone magazine. Rolling Stone magazine; Jann Wenner 2010. 5 June 1997. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  2. Loder, Kurt (5 August 1982). "Ronnie Lane's lonely battle: Former Face fights multiple sclerosis". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  3. "Ronnie "Plonk" Lane: Original name: Ronald Frederick Lane". Find a 21 June 2002. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  4. "The Official UK Charts Company". The Official UK Charts Company 2007. 2007. Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  5. "Ronnie Lane | Rock's Backpages Writers' Blogs". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  6. McLagan, Ian (2000). All the Rage: A Riotous Romp Through Rock and Roll History. Crown Publishing Group. ISBN   9780823078424.
  7. "Rock star Ronnie's old home for sale". Shropshire Star. 1 September 2016. p. 10.Report by Lucy Todman.
  8. Denberg, Jody (1997). "A Short Movie – Ronnie Lane Remembered". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
  9. "Platetectonic Music: home of Poi dog pondering Ronnie Lane". Official Website. Poi Dog Ponderting. Archived from the original on 7 March 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  10. "Paul Weller – House of Blues :: Concerts :: Reviews :: Paste". 29 October 2003. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  11. Matt Mead (22 May 2019). "Ronnie Lane – Just For A Moment – Box Set Review". Louder than war . Retrieved 12 June 2020. Just For A Moment is a divinely compiled box set of Ronnie Lane’s solo work released on Universal Music Catalogue. Long time collaborator Charlie Hart has put his heart and soul into compiling for the first time all of Ronnie’s majestic solo work from 1973 – 1997 including unreleased tracks into one bulk release.