Happy Birthday to Drummer Kenney Jones

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“From memory, this was taken on an old bombsite somewhere near Lugdate around 1966.” – Kenney Jones (2nd from R, via Small Faces Facebook page)

Kenney Jones has had a prominent seat in rock history. Along with Ronnie Lane, Steve Marriott and Jimmy Winston, Jones shot to fame at just 16 with Small Faces in 1965 with their first single, “Whatcha Gonna Do About It.” By 1968, the band – with Ian McLagan having replaced Winston on keyboards – had earned seven Top 10 singles in the U.K.

The drummer published his memoir in 2018, Let the Good Times Roll: My Life in Small Faces, Faces, and The Who. As the announcement noted: “Jones’ unique sense of rhythm was the heartbeat that powered three of the most influential rock bands of all time.”

From the publisher: “Beginning in London’s post-war East End, [Jones’] story takes us through the birth of the Mod revolution, the mind-bending days of the late-1960s and the raucous excesses of the ’70s and ’80s. In a career spanning six decades, Kenney was at the epicentre of many of the most exciting moments in music history. He jointly created some of the world’s most-loved records, hung out with the Stones, Beatles, David Bowie, Keith Moon and Rod Stewart.”

Jones was born Sept. 16, 1948, in the Whitechapel district of London.

Upon Marriott’s departure from Small Faces, the band transitioned to Faces in 1969, with Jones, Lane and McLagan joined by Stewart and Ronnie Wood. Stewart simultaneously established a solo career – his 1971 album, Every Picture Tells a Story, includes contributions from each member of Faces. Following four studio albums and a hit single, “Stay With Me,” Faces broke up in 1975.

Watch the as-good-as-it-gets live TV performance of “Stay With Me”

Two months after Keith Moon’s death in 1978, Jones was invited to join The Who’s as their new drummer. The band returned to the stage the following year with Jones behind the kit, and he recorded their next two studio albums, 1981’s Face Dances (with “You Better You Bet) and 1982’s It’s Hard (“Eminence Front”). The band broke up following their 1982 farewell tour (though they have since re-formed with Zak Starkey replacing Jones on drums).

Watch Jones rehearse with The Who on “Who Are You”

Among Jones’ other collaborations was a short-lived band with Paul Rodgers, The Law, which released one album in 1991.

Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 as a founding member of the Small Faces and Faces.

As he comments on the book jacket: “Which is the best band I’ve been in? The Small Faces were the most creative, the Faces were the most fun, The Who were the most exciting.”

Jones was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013 but has since recovered.

In Sept. 2015, Stewart, Wood and Jones performed at a Faces reunion with Stewart and Wood; Best Classic Bands reviewed the concert.

In a Sept. 5, 2021 interview, Jones says the trio are reuniting for an album and concerts. In the interview, Jones described the new recordings as “a mixture of stuff we never released which is worthy of releasing and there’s some new stuff which is really wonderful. Rod is writing the lyrics and he’s really keen on it.”

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