The Passing Show – The Life And Music Of Ronnie Lane is to air on Friday 6 January at 9.00pm on BBC4.
The life and music of the ex-Face comes under the BBC Four spotlight.As a musician, Lane continues to be hugely influential with several of his timeless songs now firmly established as part of the country’s musical heritage.
A pop star at 17, Lane formed the Small Faces with Steve Marriott and went on to become the chief songwriter and co-lead vocalist of the Faces, one of the best live bands of the Seventies.
The programme features rare archive footage including moving
recordings of Ronnie’s last performances as well as numerous
contributors including Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Ian
McLagen, along with other friends and family.
At the height of his Faces fame, Lane left to tour the country with a “gypsy” troupe. Culturally successful, his "show" was a financial disaster, prompting Ronnie to move to the Welsh borders where he recorded critically acclaimed albums in his barn with a group of talented musicians.
Curious rock stars, such as Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend,
discovered their old friend living on his farm at the centre of a vibrant cultural scene. His songwriting often featured vignettes of country life. Clapton says Ronnie was a huge influence on his own songwriting: “Before working with Ronnie I’d only been able to write songs on abstract subject matter. He taught me how to get in touch with my own life experience.”
When Ronnie was forced to disband his group due to financial
problems, Pete Townshend suggested they make an album together, Rough Mix, and Ronnie put together a cast of musicians including Clapton, Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts.
Multiple Sclerosis effectively ended Ronnie’s career, although it was far from the end of the story. In the Eighties, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he spent his remaining years occasionally performing.
He finally passed away in 1997 in a small town on the New Mexico Colorado border.
(SPECIAL THANKS TO IAN ROBERTS)