Not a Stone before end of 1974
Born: 1 June, 1947, Hillingdon, Middlesex. Ron’s two older brother, Art and Ted were both in bands, giving him valuable contacts and experience early in his career. When Ron was 12, Art was a vocalist with Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated featuring Charlie Watts en drums. Art started his own band, The Artwoods, in 1963 and Ted was with The Temperance Seven.
Ron grew op learning to play the clarinet, horns, washboard, drams and guitar. He went to art college and when he was 16 he joined The Birds as a guitarist and played the Mod circuit around Acton, Shepherds Bush and Ealing. Ron: “I got my first break playing harmonica at the Crawdaddy Club with The Yardbirds. Keith Relf was ill and my friends all pushed me forward, ‘Aw, c’mon! Play!’ Eric Clapton took me back afterwards. We knew each other, kind of... He was good to me. He said, ‘You really play harmonica well.’ I said, ‘Thank you very much. I also play guitar you know.’ After that we used to swap ideas.”
His next break came through Jeff Beck, else a former member of The Yardbirds, who asked Ron to join his solo group as a second guitarist, but when the bass player failed to show up at the first rehearsal, Ron switched to bass which he played throughout the group’s stormy career. The Jeff Beck Bund folded of mid-1969.
Meanwhile, Steve Marriott had decided to leave The Small Faces end they asked Ron to replace him, playing guitar. Ron brought along Rod Stewart from the Beck Band, as vocalist. The Faces prospered and by 1972, Ron was able to buy The Wick on Richmond Hill, Surrey, overlooking the Thames, the childhood home of Hayley Mills. He installed his own studio and began work on his first solo album. One of the people he invited to sit is as a guest was Keith Richards.
Keith: “I heard that ho was sterling work on his first album, and he was playing with Andy Newmark and Willie Weeks, so it sounded interesting. Then I got an invitation to come down and check it out, und if I wanted, to play on one track. I got there late that night... and I didn’t get out of the house for three months.” Keith moved into Ron’s guest house. After this, it was inevitable that when Mick Taylor left the Stones at the end of 1974, Ron was regarded as the only possible replacement. Mick Jagger told him, “Either you join or we aren’t doing the tour.”
Wood made his first
appearance on record during the late '60s, as a member of the oft-overlooked mod
outfit the Creation (Wood only appeared on a smattering of singles, collected
years later on the compilation Complete Collection, Vol. 1: Making Time).
Immediately after his split from the Creation, Wood was invited to play bass in
the Jeff Beck Group, a band that also included a then-unknown Rod Stewart on
vocals. Despite high hopes for the group (they're often credited as one of the
founders of hard rock/heavy metal), the band only managed to issue a pair of
classic recordings, 1968's Truth and 1969's Beck-Ola, before splitting up just
prior to an appearance at the legendary Woodstock festival. Wood and Stewart
opted to stick together, as they joined the Small Faces the same year (with Wood
returning back to the six-string).
Releasing one album under the Small Faces' name, 1970's First Step, the group then shortened their name simply to the Faces and soon after became one of rock's most notoriously party-hearty outfits of the era (influencing such future punk outfits as the Sex Pistols and the Replacements, among others). Further albums followed (1971's Long Player and A Nod Is as Good as a Wink...to a Blind Horse, plus 1973's Ooh La La), before the group split up in 1975. Wood also found the time to issue a string of solo releases during the mid-'70s: 1974's I've Got My Own Album to Do, 1975's Now Look, and a collaboration with ex-Faces band mate Ronnie Lane, 1976's Mahoney's Last Stand, but this era of Wood's career is best-remembered for his enlistment into the Rolling Stones.
Wood issued such further solo albums as 1981's 1234 and 1988's Live at the Ritz (the latter a collaboration with Bo Diddley), and became an avid painter. Jagger and Richards eventually buried the hatchet by the late '80s, as the Stones sporadically issued new studio albums and toured from 1989 onward (1989's Steel Wheels, 1994's Voodoo Lounge, 1997's Bridges to Babylon, etc.). Wood has continued to issue solo recordings throughout the '90s and beyond (1992's Slide on This, 1994's Slide on Live: Plugged in and Standing, plus a pair in 2002, Not for Beginners and Live at Electric Ladyland). Additionally, Wood has guessed on countless recordings by other artists over the years, including albums by the Band, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Donovan, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and his old pal Rod Stewart, with whom he taped a popular edition of MTV's Unplugged in 1993, resulting in the hit album Unplugged...and Seated.
30 Oct 76 Jesse (Ron and Krissie)
22 Oct 78 Leah (Ron and Josephine)
20 Aug 83 Tyrone (Ron and Josephine).