Sat Eye Candy: Ronnie Lane


She said there's dust and cobwebs on your north star
There's no more fussing the campfires in your hair
I'll see the wheels there rusted in the backyard
I know we're not going anywhere
We used to roam so freely. It's been so long
I took my dreams to bed now where they belong

There's nothing quite like a Ronnie Lane song. Endlessly able to slice down to real things with a poetry that never feels lofty, Lane made one feel understood while simultaneously imparting practical wisdom. He secured his place in rock history as the bassist in the Small Faces and the Faces, but is often given short shrift when it comes to the importance his pen and perfectly human voice played in those landmark groups. An artist of rugged, almost anti-capitalist instinct, Lane always seemed to put the music first, making decisions that served the songs far more than his pocketbook. His is a long and complex tale, including an early death at 51 due to complications from multiple sclerosis, which also greatly curtailed his musical output after the late '70s. Next Thursday, June 4, marks the 12th anniversary of Lane's passing and we at JamBase wanted to light a candle in his memory. A truly special person, his weary smile and tenderizing observations shine through in his work, influencing each new generation in the finest of ways.

We begin our salute to Ronnie with what's posthumously become his signature tune, popularized by Wes Anderson's Rushmore. You just see if this doesn't make you skip a bit. This 1974 BBC performance with his post-Faces band Slim Chance cuts off abruptly but gives a nice glimpse of the man in full flower.

This 1972 clip of the Faces' kicking around Paul McCartney's yearning classic is stunning – the vocal interplay between Lane and Rod Stewart, the arrangement and the sheer bloody force of it all. What a band, eh?

Does rock 'n' roll really get any better than this?

Here's an excerpt from a TV special about Lane to offer a bit more background and some nice vintage footage.

One of the saddest, loveliest compositions ever written. We need songs like this to help us keep going when it all feels too much.

The songwriting team of Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott was truly magic, as witnessed by this shuffling '60s classic.

Lane had an undisguised love for all things rock 'n' roll – the music, the lifestyle, all of it – and it's a treat to watch the pleasure on his face as he sings this Chuck Berry number.

The urge for going, to need to be onto the next place, the next thing, lies at the heart of many Lane tunes, including this one he wrote with Stewart and Ron Wood.

We couldn't think of a better way to end this remembrance than this tune. Wherever you may be, Mr. Lane, some of us miss your wandering spirit so very much.

Ah hell, who can resist an appropriate encore?

And don't forget, you can eyeball video sweetness 24/7 with JamBase TV.

[Published on: 5/30/09]

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