Ronnie Lane, bassist and co-founder of The
Faces, the band that launched the careers of several British rock musicians,
including Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, died after a two-decade fight with
multiple sclerosis. He was 51.
Mr. Lane died Wednesday in Trinidad, Colo.,
about 200 miles south of Denver, where he and his wife, Sue, have lived for
at least three years. His wife announced the death yesterday and said
private services were planned.
Mr. Lane is survived by two sons and two
Mr. Lane, born in East London, co-founded the
Small Faces in 1965. The band identified with the "mod" scene also
personified by The Who - "face" was mod slang for a fashion
He co-wrote most of the band's hits with lead
singer and guitarist Steve Marriott, including "Itchycoo Park,"
its only song to make the charts in the United States.
Marriott, a child actor, quit the band in the
middle of a show on New Year's Day 1969 and formed Humble Pie with Peter
Frampton later that year. He died at age 44 in April 1991 in a fire at his
home in England.
After Marriott's departure, the band signed
Stewart as lead singer and Wood as lead guitarist, and changed its name to
The band gradually became little more than
Stewart's backup group, and Mr. Lane quit in 1973, forming a band called
Slim Chance that split up four albums and four years later.
The Faces disbanded in 1974. Wood went on to
join the Rolling Stones and drummer Kenney Jones later replaced the deceased
Keith Moon in The Who.
Mr. Lane's health began deteriorating in the
mid-1970s after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating
nerve ailment. He was quoted as saying the condition had turned him into
"a bloody useless cripple."
In the mid-1980s, Mr. Lane organized some of
British rock's biggest names in the A.R.M.S. concerts to benefit multiple
sclerosis research. In 1986, he played before 60,000 fans at London's
Wembley Stadium, appearing on stage in a wheelchair and backed by Stewart,
Wood and Stones bassist Bill Wyman.
He recently appeared in a television special
"Despite incredible pain, they just
couldn't stop him playing the bass guitar he loved," publicist Charlie
Comer told Britain's The Mirror after learning of Mr. Lane's death.
"While his body wasted away, he carried
on almost as if nothing had happened. Every time he struck a chord you could
see he was in torment."