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Ronnie Lane 1946-1997

Record Collector, July 1997

RONNIE LANE, founder member of the Small Faces, the Faces and Slim Chance, died on 4th June, aged 51, rom complications arising from his lengthy battle against multiple sclerosis.

Affectionately nicknamed 'Plonk', a reference to his limited guitar-playing skills, Lane soon became an accomplished bassist with the East London Mods and wrote many Small Faces hits with frontman Steve Marriott. Songs like All Or Nothing, Here Comes The Nice, Lazy Sunday, My Mind's Eye, Tin Soldier, Itchycoo Park and Song Of A Baker tell their own story.

After Marriott's departure, the remnants of the band teamed up with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood and became the Faces. Lane's songwriting contributions were reduced, but his prankish nature fitted in well with the band's notorious bonhomie

By 1973, and with tensions rising due to Stewart's burgeoning solo career, Plonk quit the fast lane, forming his own band, Slim Chance. Even the self-deprecation of their name, not to mention the group's low key attitude to gigs failed to prevent the first single, How Come, from becoming a memorable mid-70s hit.

After three albums and a collaboration with Pete Townshend on Rough Mix, Lane's health began to deteriorate by the end of the 70s, and in 1983, an all-star cast turned out in force at the ARMS concerts to raise money for research into MS.

Lane then moved to the States, where he maintained a lone battle against the disease. He refused all offers to return to the U.K., where many felt he would have enjoyed a boner standard of life in his final yearn.

At our press time, it was looking extremely likely that a tribute concert, held in Ronnie's name, would take place later in the year.

In a cruel coincidence, Lane is also the subject of a forthcoming alternative retrospective featuring his work with Slim Chance. Titled You Never Can Tell (New Millennium), the two-disc collection is split between three studio sessions recorded for John Peel's Radio 1 show, and two BBC live shows, from December1974 and February 1976. 1

Among the songs featured, are How Come? (two versions), and reworkings of the Small Faces' All or Nothing and the Faces' Ooh La La.

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