February can be a bit cold and sad. A short, dark month in between fun times, when nothing much seems to happen. But underneath the ground, shoots are stirring, the sap is rising and to celebrate this reawakening, slap bang in the middle of the month its St Valentines Day. Traditionally a time to treat your loved one - or if you don’t have a loved one - go on, treat yourself! You deserve it!
This month, with romance on our minds, we’re going to be taking a look at the story behind a few of the iconic images that inspired some of our best 'love' themed t-shirts, starting off with recent birthday boy, Steve Marriott.
Best known for his work with ground breaking psychedelic mods, the Small Faces, Steve went on to form Humble Pie in 1969 after quitting the band. Regarded as one of the first 60’s super groups, the original Humble line-up also included Pete Frampton from the Herd and Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth, along with seventeen-year-old newcomer Jerry Shirley on drums.
Steve found that playing with Humble Pie gave him the chance to explore new styles of music and shake off the pop star label that he had hated so much during his time with the Small Faces. He came up with the name Humble Pie after getting together with the other band members to brainstorm ideas, as Jerry Shirley explains:
“Humble Pie was one of Steve's suggestions. One of mine was ‘Evil Cardboard’ which was the end of a joint. Anyway ‘Evil Cardboard’ did not get the vote. We all thought Humble Pie was just perfect. It was a reaction against the whole super group thing. The idea of being called a super group without even playing was quite disturbing. We were just saying, ‘Now wait a minute we’re only a bunch of lads just starting and want time to develop’ ”.
Back to the gig – how do we know it was an epic performance? Because we’ve seen it! The whole show was filmed for ABC TV and we’ve found quite a bit of it online. If you want to listen to the soundtrack for this Steve Marriott t-shirt – and get some tips on how to accessorise - then check out this clip to see why twenty six years after his untimely death, Steve is still regarded as a total legend. There are also some pretty cool vintage tees in the audience too!
We don’t know what inspired Steve to wear the heart t-shirt that evening. His love life was turbulent and colourful, with three marriages and four known children. A perfectionist, he found that the pressures of fame and drugs took their toll. Like many rock n roll heroes, Steve died too young. He perished in a fire at his home - believed to have been started by a cigarette. Speaking about his death, Jerry said that Steve had lived on the edge and that he always expected a phone call to say that he had died but never dreamed that it would be under those circumstances.
Despite this sad ending, of course Steve lives on – through his influential contribution to music and in the hearts of his fans. A few days ago on the 30th of Jan it would have been Steve’s 70th birthday – and nine days earlier on 21st of January this year, Steve’s daughter Tonya gave birth to a son, Toby – a quirky Aquarian just like his granddad. Toby shares his first name with his uncle - a top bloke and friend of Worn Free - Toby Marriott of the Strays and Black Drummer. It is heartening to know that Steve’s children (and hopefully grandchildren) are creating music and have inherited his talents.
Rock this Steve Marriott t-shirt
Love keeps the rock and roll spirit alive in all of us, Steve didn’t know what lay ahead for him back in 1974 – but he certainly wore his heart on his sleeve – or the front of his t-shirt at least. This Valentine’s day, keep your loved ones close and whilst you’re at it, get them to watch this YouTube link to hear some more Humble Pie and check out how to rock this Steve Marriott t-shirt!