Famous Plumbers

Ronnie Laine

Ronnie LaineRonnie Laine, bassist and founder member of The Small Faces, was born in Plaistow, East London, on April 1, 1946, son of a lorry driver.  At 16 he left school and began working as a plumber’s mate then, aged 17, he bought his first guitar and began playing in a band called The Outcasts with drummer Kenney Jones.  Laine invited Steve Marriott, the shop assistant who sold him his guitar, to an early Outcasts gig.  Marriott turned up at the pub, promptly wrecked the piano and got the band barred.  He joined as singer and guitarist soon after.  Rechristened The Small Faces by Marriott”s girlfriend – all four members struggled to hit 5ft 5ins – they had a series of Top Ten singles including their only Number One single, All Or Nothing in 1966. Following Marriott’s departure in 1969 the others welcomed singer Rod Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood to their fold and struck out as The Faces, the purveyors of rhythm ‘n’ booze who became revered for their shambolic concerts and geezer-down the local pub image.  In fact, so raucous were the band that they were banned from the entire Holiday Inn hotel chain.  The Faces called it a day in 1975 due to Stewart’s burgeoning solo career and Wood’s absorption into The Rolling Stones; Laine went solo and charted with a couple of singles and the LP Anymore for Anymore.  Ronnie died at the age of 51 of multiple sclerosis at his home in Trinidad, Colorado.  He had been debilitated by the nerve destroying disease since the late-1970s.