Remembering Faces' Ronnie Lane

(Gibson) On this day in 1997, ex-Small Faces, Faces and leader of Slim Chance, Ronnie Lane died aged 51 after a 20-year battle with multiple sclerosis. Gibson takes a look back:

Ronnie Lane, one of the good guys of rock, had risen from humble beginning to international pop star and everybody loved him. The friends he made on the way to the top, from Jimmy Page to Rod Stewart to Pete Townshend, would also figure prominently in the dark days as his body rebelled on him and disease took over his life.

Lane and his band The Small Faces were huge rock stars when Steve Marriott jumped ship to form Humble Pie. The rest of the Small Faces drowned their temporary sorrows with old pals Ron Wood and Rod Stewart, became the Faces and matched anything they'd done in the '60s and set the bar for no-frills rock and roll.

When Rod became a megastar and the Faces disbanded, Lane moved to a farm in Wales, enjoyed life in the country and played folk and roll with his new band Slim Chance. Their albums sold well but a caravan tour of England featuring an ambitious assortment of circus acts was a financial disaster. Undeterred, he kept making low-key albums. Critics loved the records he made with old pals, like Mahoney's Last Stand, with Ron Wood and Rough Mix with Pete Townshend.

But something wasn't quite right with Ronnie. As drummer Kenney Jones recalled later: "He seemed very forgetful, slurred his words and tripped up a lot. We accused of him of being drunk and of having a secret tipple, but he wasn't of course."

More than that, Lane was suffering coordination issues and numbness in his arms. A doctor diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis in 1977. more on this story

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