STARS OF rock and roll paid tribute last night to a musician who turned his back on the bright lights of London in favour of the quiet life in Mid Wales.
Ronnie Lane, who died in 1997, aged 51, was the creative heart of two of Britain's quintessential groups - the Small Faces and The Faces. One band led to him becoming one of the stars of the '60s British mod scene, the other led to international success as a prominent member of the 1970s rock era.
But he was forced to abandon his musical career after the onset of multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s made it too painful for him to continue playing the guitar.
In recognition of his achievements during his career a tribute concert called One for the Road, was held at the Royal Albert Hall last night.
The proceeds from the sell-out show go to his family who attended the event.
The show featured the likes of The Who's Pete Townshend, Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, Paul Weller, Ocean Colour Scene, the Jones Gang (featuring former Small Faces drummer Kenny Jones.)
Lane led a rock and roll lifestyle that began in the mid-1960s, but after years of success he became disillusioned with London. Shunning the city of his birth, he moved to Mid Wales for its quieter, slower pace, in the mid-1970s.
Setting up home at Fishpool Farm in the hamlet of Hyssington, near Churchstoke, in Powys, he brought up his family in the area with his second wife, Kate.
Lane died in June 1997 after a 20-year fight with multiple sclerosis. By that time he had married his third wife Sue, the granddaughter of an Apache chief, and lived in Colorado.
His stepdaughter, Alana, 32, who lives in Churchstoke, along with Lane's sons Luke, 30, and Ruben, 25, said Lane would have been uncomfortable with the idea of a tribute concert.
"Although Ronnie was a major star, he was more comfortable strumming a guitar in a field in Montgomery than playing in the Royal Albert Hall," said Ms Lane. "He never really felt comfortable with things like that.
"He was a down-to-earth person who was kind and generous to a fault to those who were down on their luck.
"He left The Faces because he thought the band had become focussed on just one person, Rod Stewart. He felt that music should be taken to the people - that's why he became a sort of troubadour touring the country with his band Slim Chance and meeting real people.
"I think he may have thought it totally bizarre that everybody was going to the Royal Albert Hall just for him."
The stories of Lane and his rock and roll friends are part of local folklore. Many remember impromptu performances round a piano in pubs with the likes of Lane, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman. There are also stories of Elton John and Lemmy from the group, Motorhead, travelling to Mid Wales to use Lane's mobile recording studio to lay down tracks because "it created a great sound."
Ms Lane, who has a three-year-old daughter, Jade, and is head of art at a school in Shropshire, said, "We didn't think it was strange or odd to see the likes of Eric Clapton and Elton John - they were just my step-dad's friends."
She said, "There are stories of Ronnie's rock star friends visiting pubs, especially one called the Drum and Monkey which straddles the Welsh border, and giving impromptu performances.
"I think they liked visiting because it was a break from their hectic lifestyles. I think that's why mum and Ronnie got together because they liked the countryside and wanted to getaway from it all.
"They stayed because they liked the people and they loved the area.
"We all went to school in nearby Welshpool and led ordinary lives and I'm glad of that. I'm glad we weren't brought up in London."
DURING THE 1960s as bass player and songwriter for the Small Faces, Lane co-wrote many mod anthems such as Itchycoo Park, Tin Soldier and All Or Nothing.
He quit his next band, The Faces, at the height of their success in 1973. By the end of his life, Lane, also known as Plonk, was almost continually confined to a wheelchair.
His medical bills were paid by Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, and from the proceeds of a tribute record by 12 bands released in 1996.
The Small Faces have enjoyed a renaissance in popularity. The group is regularly cited as an important musical influence by the current generation of British bands.
THE FACES became one of the foremost live acts of the 1970s, known as much for off-stage antics as for their musical abilities.
Band member Ronnie Wood recalled being barred from so many hotels - including the entire Holiday Inn chain - that they had to check in as the band Fleetwood Mac.
As for Lane, his reputation as one of the most influential rockers of his generation is reflected in his family today. The godmother of his stepdaughter, Alana, is Patti Boyd, while his son Rubin has Eric Clapton for a godfather.
Courtesy: The Western Press