Small Faces and Don Arden plaque unveiled on Carnaby Street
On Tuesday September 4th at 2pm, crowds cheered on Carnaby Street as Kenney Jones unveiled a green plaque on the site of the Small Faces' and Don Arden's original offices.
The event was the culmination of over a year's of lobbying and negotiation with Westminster Council and English Heritage, who oversee the allocation of brown (for fictional characters), green (people who are still alive) and blue (deceased) plaques.
Over a year ago, Val Weedon who was a teenage volunteer worker on the Small Faces' fan club before being made their office junior, campaigned along with fellow Small Faces' fans, to get the plaque erected. "I hadn't realised" she told us, "just how passionate the fans still are until I checked out what was happening on the Internet." She wrote to English Heritage and "included absolutely everything I could think of that would persuade them to honour The Small Faces." Val and fellow fans donated money to cover the cost of the plaque which was erected today by the English Heritage crack plaque team. At 12noon there was absolutely no sign of any plaque action, then at around 12.30 a small team constructed and painted a small stage and a podium and, with maximum discretion, fixed the plaque hidden by a velvet curtain above what was once the entrance to the bands' office door.
At the unveiling, an emotional Kenney was joined on stage by fellow Small Faces founder Jimmy Winston. Remembering band members Steve Marriott, who died in 1991, Ronnie Lane who died in 1997 and manager Don Arden who died in July 2007, Kenney joked that they were probably "up in heaven creating their own version of Carnaby St."
This is the second plaque on Carnaby - the first blue plaque there was erected in 2004 to honour John Stephen, the revolutionary menswear retailer who is recognised as the 'founder' of Carnaby Street. Jones described how much Carnaby Street means to him and how when they had their office there the band had accounts in all the men's boutiques, adding "that's how we got paid!"
Although the Small Faces were together for just four years, their influence is still strong today and their seminal album, Nut Gone Flake, is still in the album charts. This Saturday, September 8 sees a celebration of The Small Faces in a free public party on the street. There will be another unveiling (and Kenney will be attending) plus music from tribute band The Small Fakers, and modernists Darron J Connett and Redtrack.
words: Marian Buckley
Small Faces Carnaby Day is 12noon-4pm this Saturday, for details visit www.carnaby.co.uk
The Jones Gang (Kenney's current band) official website is here www.jonesgang.co.uk
The Small Faces Convention is on Sunday September 9 at the Carling Academy Islington, 4pm-11pm tickets cost £20 available from John Hellier, firstname.lastname@example.org or from the venue, 0870 771 2000.