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Humble Pie

Hard-rock combo Humble Pie formed in London in 1969 when Peter Frampton left The Herd and Steve Marriott quit The Small Faces.

Having met in Paris while doing session work, the pair recruited bassist Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth and the relatively unknown drummer, Jerry Shirley.


Following rehearsals at Marriott’s country cottage (the sound of the streets, eh?) the band signed to Immediate Records and issued their debut album, As Safe As Yesterday Is, which included the single Natural Born Bugie – the group’s only chart hit, peaking at #4 on the UK charts in the autumn of 1969.

The group embarked on a UK tour and then hastily assembled a follow-up album, called Town And Country, which failed to chart.

Switching labels in 1970 to A&M (after the bankruptcy of Immediate), the band released a self-titled album, followed by another in 1971 (Rock On) which climbed to #118 in the USA, supported by intense touring of the States.

By October 1971, Frampton had quit the band amid much rancour to pursue a solo career – He would go on to considerable success in the 70s. Frampton was replaced in Humble Pie by Dave “Clem” Clempson.

The live album Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore (1971) – which still featured Frampton on guitar – restored the band to the UK charts at #32, and marked a major US breakthrough, reaching #21.

It was their next album (Smokin’) though, that was to prove their most successful UK release, rising to #28 and hitting #6 in the USA.


By 1975 the band were tired of touring and called it a day as their final album of the decade, Street Rats, just made it to #100 in the US.

Following an unsuccessful solo career (and a short-lived Small Faces reunion) Marriott re-formed Humble Pie in 1980 with Jerry Shirley, adding Bobby Tench (formerly with Jeff Beck) on guitar and vocals, and Anthony Jones on bass.

They released the album On To Victory which battled to #60 in the US, but had to cut short a tour when Marriott crushed his fingers in a hotel door in Chicago.

Shortly after recovering from his hand injury, Marriott was hospitalised with a stomach ulcer and more shows were cancelled.

Meanwhile, the new line-up’s second album Go For The Throat stalled at #154 in the US and the group disbanded permanently in 1981, with Shirley ending up as a DJ at radio station WNCX, Cleveland, Ohio.

Despite all the records he sold, Marriott was skint for most of his career. When he left Humble Pie he was reduced to stealing food.

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When he moaned to manager Dee Anthony he was invited to a meeting in New York at which Mafia boss John Gotti was also present. He soon stopped asking questions about the missing millions.

At one point, all his guitars were seized in lieu of payment by his coke dealer and, by the time of Live Aid in 1985, he was to be found not at Wembley but playing at a pub in Putney.

He eventually died in a fire at his 16th Century cottage in Arkesden, Essex, England on 20 April 1991.

Bassist Greg Ridley died in Spain in November 2003 after suffering for three years with throat cancer.

Peter Frampton
Guitar, vocals
Steve Marriott 
Guitar, vocals, organ
Greg Ridley
Bass, guitar, vocals
Jerry Shirley
Drums, guitar
Bobby Tench
Guitar, vocals
Anthony “Sooty” Jones
Bass, vocals
Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson