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Today I thought I would share this 1973 song “Ooh La La” by the Faces, written by band members Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood. The Faces had Rod Stewart as their lead singer. They were formed in 1969, with its founding members coming from the Small Faces (I blogged about the Small Faces’ 1968 song “Lazy Sunday” here ). The lead vocalist of the Small Faces, Steve Marriott, left the Small Faces to form Humble Pie, so the remaining members formed the Faces, with the addition of Ronnie Wood as guitarist and Rod Stewart on lead vocals.

oohlala

“Ooh La La” is a 1973 song written by Ronnie Lane and Ronnie Wood of the Faces.

“Ooh La La”  was recorded in January 1973 and released in the March. Although Stewart was usually the band’s lead singer, for this song Ronnie Wood took the lead vocals, quite a rarity in the catalogue of Faces songs. However, Stewart has since gone on to record his own versions of the song, one of which I include below. I am not sure that I have heard Ronnie Wood taking lead vocals on a song before, but I have to say his voice is almost as gravelly as Rod Stewart’s!

The song’s lyrics talk of a dialogue between a boy and his grandfather, with the older man trying to educate his grandson on how he perceives the ways of women. The grandfather’s refrain “I wish that I knew what I know now / When I was younger” is repeated throughout the song.

Poor old granddad
I laughed at all his words
I thought he was a bitter man
He spoke of woman’s ways

They’ll trap you, then they use you
Before you even know
For love is blind and you’re far too kind
Don’t ever let it show

[Chorus]
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was younger.
I wish that I knew what I know now
When I was stronger.

The can can’s such a pretty show
They’ll steal your heart away
But backstage, back on earth again
The dressing rooms are gray

They come on strong and it ain’t too long
Before they make you feel a man
But love is blind and you soon will find
You’re just a boy again

When you want her lips, you get a cheek
Makes you wonder where you are
If you want some more and she’s fast asleep
Then she’s twinkling with the stars.

Poor young grandson, there’s nothing I can say
You’ll have to learn, just like me
And that’s the hardest way
Ooh la la

[Chorus]

The Faces disbanded in 1975, although Ronnie Lane left in 1973. In 1975, Ronnie Wood started working with the Rolling Stones, and this led to differences between him and Rod Stewart (and other band members).

Here is the original Faces version of “Ooh La La”, with Ronnie Wood (second from the left) on lead vocal.

And, here is a Rod Stewart’s version, which he recorded in 1998 in memory of Ronnie Lane, after Lane’s death in 1997. As you can hear, the two versions are very similar, except for Stewart adding some touches to it such as fiddles and pipes which, to me, make it sound more Scottish (or Celtic) than the Faces’ version. Enjoy!

Which version do your prefer?

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