Faces keyboard player Ian McLagan dies at 69

The Faces at London Airport, later Heathrow, in 1974 ' from left, Tetsu Yamauchi, Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagen. Picture: Getty
The Faces at London Airport, later Heathrow, in 1974 ' from left, Tetsu Yamauchi, Ronnie Wood, Rod Stewart, Kenny Jones and Ian McLagen. Picture: Getty
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Rod Stewart said he was ­“devastated” yesterday after learning of the death of his former Faces bandmate Ian McLagan, who also performed and recorded with the Rolling Stones.

Keyboard player McLagan died on Wednesday after ­suffering a stroke in Austin, Texas, as he was preparing to begin a US tour, opening for his labelmate Nick Lowe.

The 69-year-old musician, who was born in Isleworth, Hounslow, ­Middlesex, had been a member of the influential mod band Small Faces during the 1960s. When singer Steve Marriott left, the band evolved into the Faces with singer Stewart and guitarist Ronnie Wood joining in 1969.

Stewart said yesterday: “I’m absolutely devastated. Ian ­McLagan embodied the true spirit of the Faces.

“Last night I was at a charity do, Mick Hucknall was singing I’d Rather Go Blind, and Ron Wood texted to say Ian had passed. It was as if his spirit was in the room. I’ll miss you, mate.”

Confirming his death, ­McLagan’s manager Ken ­Kishnick said: “He was a beloved friend to so many people and a true rock ’n’ roll spirit. His ­persona and gift of song impacted the music across oceans and generations.”


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His bandmate in Small Faces and the Faces, drummer Kenney Jones, also said that he was ­“completely devastated” by the news.

As a member of Small Faces, McLagan’s Hammond organ and Wurlitzer electric piano was a hallmark of the band’s sound on such hits as Itchycoo Park, All or Nothing and What’Cha Gonna Do About It.

With the Faces, he had hits in both the UK and US during the 1970s, with songs such as Stay With Me, Maggie May and Cindy Incidentally.

When Stewart left the Faces to go solo and Wood left to join the Rolling Stones, the Faces ­reverted to their Small Faces name, before disbanding in 1978.

McLagan worked with Wood again when he teamed up with the Rolling Stones, playing on the band’s 1978 album Some Girls, providing the organ solo on the hit Miss You.

McLagan also released several solo albums, and was an in-demand performer, playing with Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. He also filled the role of bandleader with his own Bump Band from 1977 onwards.

The Faces reformed at the end of the 2000s, with Mick Hucknall filling in for Stewart, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. According to an announcement on his website, McLagan had fallen ill on Tuesday and died on Wednesday “surrounded by family and friends”. Singer Billy Bragg, who performed with McLagan in the 1990s as a member of the band The Blokes, tweeted: “I have lost a dear friend and ­British rock has lost one of its greatest players.”

Hucknall paid his own tribute on the Simply Red Twitter feed, writing: “Ian McLagan will not be resting in peace. He’ll be rocking whichever house he chose to be in. Bless his soul.”

The musician was married to Kim Kerrigan, the estranged wife of Who drummer Keith Moon. She was killed in a traffic accident in 2006.

McLagan’s death leaves Jones the last remaining member of the Small Faces.

Founding member and bass player Ronnie Lane – replaced by Tetsu Yamauchi – died in 1997 from pneumonia while Marriott died in a house fire in 1991.


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