Small Faces

50 years of ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’

Thursday 19th July 2018

The Small Faces, 1968, photo: Gered-Mankowitz, 1968

"They were the most complete pop group for me. They had everything - they were amazing players that all had the same influences. The image, the haircuts, blimey they were even all the same height. A kinda dream band that everyone would want to be in" - Paul Weller

‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’ was originally released in the May of 1968, quickly reaching number one chart position in the UK and staying there for six weeks. An ambitious LP of two distinct sides, packaged in its unmistakable replica tobacco tin, the album was the fourth to be released by Small Faces, following 'From The Beginning' and their two eponymous records, and is largely regarded as the highpoint in Small Faces' career both critically and commercially. 

Despite Paul Weller's statement above, citing Small Faces as the complete pop group, it was the pigeonholing of Small Faces in the pop bracket, as it was then, that had come to frustrate Steve Marriott, especially witnessing the freedom extended by labels to rock bands when recording new material. It was this frustration that drove the band into the studio with the aim of creating the band's career-defining album and cementing their credibility alongside their peers such as The Who and The Stones.

Recorded with the blessing of former Rolling Stones manager, Andrew Loog Oldham and his Immediate label, the resulting set of highly accomplished songs did not disappoint. The album's instrumental opening title track quickly demonstrated the step change the band had made, expanding on the psychedelic leanings of 'Itchycoo Park' and 'Tin Soldier' with its liberally applied and manually created flange and panoramic organs.

The album's second song 'Afterglow (of Your Love)' showed that Small Faces had everything they needed in terms of heaviness, soul, rhythm and blues. The song is possibly the best demonstration of how strong Marriott had become as a vocalist too. The song would become the band's last single before their split in 1969.

The influence of Ogden's songs is visible in bands in the rock and pop camps up to the present day. Bowie referenced the band's songs, Led Zep acknowledged their influence The Jam, of course, and the Cockney knees-up of 'Lazy Sunday' provided a starting point for much of Damon Albarn's persona within Britpop era Blur. Despite Marriot's willingness to ramp up his London accent for the song, he had envisaged it as a b-side for the more serious 'Song Of A Baker', but the label got the final say and released 'Lazy Sunday' as a single.

The album's flipside saw the band embark on a contemporary fairy tale following the story of Stan who rides a giant fly on his quest to find the hidden half of the moon. The Psychedelic tale was narrated by master of gobbledegook Stanley Unwin. 

The complexity of much of what was achieved on record with ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’ meant that it was difficult to recreate the songs in a live setting. By the end of December '68' Marriott had had enough of the frustrations that he felt still dogged them and quit the band.

Drummer, Kenny Jones stated in a 2001 interview "Ogdens’ was a masterpiece if we had played it live we would have gone on to even greater things, I reckon we were on the verge of crossing the great divide and becoming a heavier band."

The Small Faces, 1968, photo: Gered-Mankowitz, 1968

‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’ still remains a pinnacle in the Small Faces short catalogue. With its iconic cover, almost as recognisable as that of Sgt. Pepper's, the album is a stepping on point for many discovering British '60s music and an ideal gateway into the dizzying layers of psych-counterculture and its crossover with British pop and mod-culture.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the original release, the album will be re-released in various special formats, set to introduce a whole new set of listeners to the album and provide long-standing fans with a glimpse of previously unreleased material.

The releases range from the CD and Vinyl Art Of The Album editions which feature the original stereo mix complete with newly written sleeve notes by Jon Savage to the 3CD/DVD and 3 LP coloured vinyl editions which include the stereo mix, mono mix (with its distinctly more audible flange) and a disc of alternate versions of songs. The album's iconic cover design was recreated from original artworks by designer Rachel Gutek.

Find out more and pre-order the Small Faces' Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake, 50th Anniversary Editions at smallfaces.tmstor.es

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