CAROLINE AND DAVID STAFFORD – Anymore for Anymore: The Ronnie Lane Story
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Anymore for Anymore: The Story of Ronnie Lane is a moving and most interesting piece of gripping music literature that sheds light on a hugely skilled musician and songwriter who was held in high esteem by his friends and peers yet somehow came across as an overlooked or underappreciated musical genius and an unlikely star. Intrigued? Well, you should be as this fabulous literary gem is as inspired as it is inspiring.
Casting an illuminating light on the great man’s musical endeavors and achievements and more importantly on a complex and fascinating individual whose rather dynamic and unpredictable life seemed to constantly veer towards either greatness or tragedy, Anymore for Anymore is poignant and filled with warmth and humor. No stone is left unturned as it weaves every thread of Ronnie’s narrative together to one cohesive and captivating whole: his childhood years and inquisitive nature; the life-changing encounter with the charismatic Steve Marriott, forming the Small Faces and becoming a household name in Europe; teaming up with Rod Stewart in Faces and finding success in the US; the various solo offerings and collaborations with renowned guitarists such as Pete Townshend and Eric Clapton that deserved a wider audience. While it is incredibly entertaining to read about the grueling tours, the tumultuous recording sessions, the drugs and drunken shenanigans, the trashed hotel rooms, and the borderline psychotic and conniving managers that surrounded Ronnie and the others, the most rewarding thing about this deftly written and exceptionally evocative book is to learn about the lesser-known aspects of Lane’s work and private life. This is merely a distilled and simplified list of events but hopefully enough to whet your appetite: A working class lad growing up in London and adoring his father (his mother often appeared emotionally distant and was eventually diagnosed with MS); becoming infatuated with music and joining his first few bands; moving to a farm in Wales following his split with Faces; investing every dime in a traveling circus (or caravan road show, if you will) that went nowhere but became the stuff of legend; his three (occasionally rocky and troubled) marriages, suffering from the same cruel disease as his mother, doing everything in his power to raise awareness of MS; getting royally ripped off and left with nothing; dying way too young in a small town in Colorado. Engrossing is certainly one way of summing things up.
Eminently readable, impossible to put down, and benefiting from a keen eye on historical detail and a superb sense of dynamism and pace, this account of Ronnie “Plonk” Lane’s life is an essential read that perfectly encapsulates the feel and buzz of the London scene in the sixties and seventies while harboring a lot of love for the man’s spirited musical outputs and legacy.