Friday, December 5, 2014

RIP: Ian McLagan (Faces, Small Faces etc.) 1945-2014

Ian McLagan: May 12, 1945 - December 3, 2014 
It's been a very tough week for great rock'n'roll musicians as we lost both Bobby Keys and Ian McLagan.

I never met Ian McLagan, but I have friends who knew him and they all rave that he was the best guy in the world. And he certainly came off that way when I saw him perform solo at a very small Portland club earlier this year - wonderful storyteller, warm presence, highly appreciative of his audience, and oh so musical.

McLagan's piano and keyboard work, generally on a Wurlitzer electric or a Hammond, is some of the tastiest and most memorable in rock history. 1970's FM radio was nearly defined by the incredible energy of The Faces "Stay With Me" - check out this live version that doesn't have much footage of McLagan but just listen to those keys leading the song's rollicking sound!:

McLagan was born in England and joined the Small Faces in 1965.  One of my favorites moments in the Small Faces catalogue is "Afterglow (Of Your Love)" driven by McLagan's powerful Hammond playing:

Am I the only one who can hear some future Big Star in "Afterglow (Of Your Love)"?
One of my favorite Faces songs was written by McLagan and Rod Stewart, "Bad n Ruin" released on Long Player in 1971:

Another Faces classic done here live and so well is another McLagan-Stewart composition, "Three Button Hand Me Down":

We could just go on and link Faces songs until tomorrow without getting tired of hearing them. But McLagan did so much more. He played with too many artists to name, including many of the best in the business: Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Westerberg, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Bragg, Lucinda Williams and Jackson Browne.  McLagan fronted various of his own bands and made some great solo records, including one this year, United States that included this sweet and wonderful song "Love Letter":

He had been living for quite awhile in Austin TX USA and became a fixture on the rich local music scene there.

McLagan published an autobiography, All the Rage: A Riotous Romp Through Rock & Roll History, in 2000, and added to, appended and reprinted it in 2013.

He was one of rock's truly guys and we here at WYMA are truly sorry to see him go.

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