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The International Writers Magazine
: Review

All Too Beautiful
(official Steve Marriott biography) by John Hellier and Paulo Hewitt
Rob Mallet

AN appraisal of Small Faces’ Steve Marriott’s life is well overdue. John Hellier has previously authored works on the Small Faces but is also the publisher of Darlings of Wapping Wharf Launderette – one of the UK’s best-selling fanzines, as well as promoter of the recent Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane memorial concerts.

Paolo Hewitt has written several notable biographies including the Small Faces, Oasis and The Jam. Consequently, this biography has been entrusted to two writers who know their subject and are passionate about it.
STEVE Marriott was one of the most important figures in British rock and pop music in the 1960s and 1970s but also one of the least celebrated. Like Steve Winwood, his amazing white soul voice belied his youth or size.
His writing partnership with Ronnie Lane in the Small Faces produced some of the best singles of the decade and one of the most idiosyncratic albums in Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. In aspects other than his height, Steve Marriott was huge.

Steve Marriott was highly talented and widely respected for this. However, underneath all this was a different character. The schizophrenia that was exaggerated by the cocktails of drinks and drugs meant that, from time to time, another character appeared, not Marriott but Melvin the bald-headed wrestler.
Ultimately, this other side was his downfall, the source of his marriage break-ups and, finally, his early death. Even those who worked with Marriott found his hyperactivity and playing of pranks very difficult and wearing. Not just his marriages broke down but also his relationships with former colleagues such as Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan, Peter Frampton.

Steve Marriott’s passion was music. He had a love of American R&B such as Ray Charles and Bobby Bland and this was clearly audible in his own work, not just in the Small Faces but also in latter incarnations of Humble Pie and later groups such as Packet of Three. Like his colleagues in the Small Faces and Humble Pie, Marriott did not receive the rewards due to him because of the way in which the music business operated.

"All Too Beautiful" is the biography of one of music’s greatest talents. There was no doubt that he was extremely gifted as a songwriter, a singer, a guitarist and as a performer. However, his problems with drinks and drugs, the Inland Revenue and money in general meant that he did not enjoy the rewards of his success.
© Rob Mellett April 2005

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