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Tin Soldier – Small Faces : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Small Faces

TIN SOLDIER

2nd December 1967

Tin Soldier – Small Faces : Iconic Songs & the story behind them

Tin Soldier” is a song released by the English rock band Small Faces on 2 December 1967, written by Steve Marriott (credited to Marriott/Lane). The song peaked at number nine in the UK singles chart and number 38 in Canada. It has since been covered by many other notable rock artists

Tin Soldier – Small Faces

My Thoughts ?

Me in my Mod days

Song profile

Tin Soldier was originally written by Steve Marriott for singer P.P. Arnold, but Marriott liked it so much he kept it himself. It was a song that he wrote to his first wife, Jenny Rylance. P.P. Arnold can be heard singing backing vocals on the song and also performed as guest singer at television recordings of the song.

The song signalled a return to the band’s R&B roots whilst continuing their forays into psychedelic rock and other musical experiments. When Tin Soldier was released the BBC informed the band that the last line of the song had to be removed from all TV and radio broadcasts, mistakenly believing that Marriott sang “sleep with you”, when in fact the lyric is “sit with you”. Marriott explained that the song was about getting into someone’s mind—not their body.

 Tin Soldier reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart and remains one of Small Faces’ best known songs.

Talking about the song, and the influence of his wife Jenny, Marriott stated:

The meaning of the song is about getting into somebody’s mind—not their body. It refers to a girl I used to talk to all the time and she really gave me a buzz. The single was to give her a buzz in return and maybe other people as well. I dig it. There’s no great message really and no physical scenes.

The song seems to have been influenced by Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier, the story of an imperfect tin soldier’s desire for a paper ballerina. The opening lyric is:

“I am a little tin soldier that wants to jump into your fire”.

Upon reaching No. 73 in the USA with this single, their label Immediate Records abandoned its attempts to penetrate the American market. “Tin Soldier” would ultimately be the last song performed live by the Small Faces during their original incarnation; It was performed on 8 March 1969 at the Theatre of Jersey in Jersey.

” So now I’ve lost my way
I need help to show me things to say
Give me your love before mine fades away “

Lyrics

“Tin Soldier”

I am a little tin soldier
That wants to jump into your fire
You are a look in your eye
A dream passing by in the sky

I don’t understand
All I need is treat me like a man
‘Cause I ain’t no child
Take me like I am

I got to know that I belong to you
Do anything that you want to do
Sing any song that you want me to sing to you

I don’t need no aggravation
I just got to make you
I just got to make you my occupation

I got to know that I belong to you
Do anything that you want to do
Sing any song that you want me to sing to you

All I need is your whispered hello
Smiles melting the snow nothing heard
Your eyes are deeper than time
Say a love that won’t rhyme without words

So now I’ve lost my way
I need help to show me things to say
Give me your love before mine fades away

I got to know that I belong to you
Do anything that you want to do
Sing any song that you want me to sing to you

Oh no no
I just want some reaction
Someone to give me satisfaction
All I want to do is stick with you
‘Cause I love you

Mojo readers’ poll

In 1997, some 30 years after the song’s original release, Mojo voted “Tin Soldier” the tenth best single of all time, in a readers’ poll. The poll placed it ahead of anything by The Who or The Rolling Stones. The song has also been much mentioned over the years by Paul Weller and featured in Noel Gallagher‘s personal all-time top ten song list.

Personnel

Steve Marriott – lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars

Ronnie Lane – bass guitar, backing vocals

Ronnie Lane

Ian McLagan – acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond organ, backing vocals

Ian McLagan

Kenney Jones – drums

Image result for kenney jones small faces
Kenney Jones

Additional personnel

P.P. Arnold – backing vocals

Image result for P.P. Arnold small faces
P.P. Arnold

Covers

The song has been covered by Quiet RiotLou GrammUriah HeepStreetheartTodd RundgrenThe Guess WhoPaul WellerTransatlantic, and Humble Pie (which also featured Marriott.) Scorpions made a cover of the song for their 2011 album Comeblack. Progressive rock band Transatlantic covered this song on their 2014 album Kaleidoscope, on disc 2 of the special edition. In October 2007 Tim Rogers, of You Am I, and Talei Wolfgramm performed the track on Australian music quiz show RocKwiz. In 1998 the Argentine musician Charly Garcia recorded a version, in Spanish, for his album El aguante

See also

See: Steve Marriott Jan 1947 – April 1991 All or Nothing

Small Faces Documentary

See: below for other Iconic songs and the story behind them .