Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall ended up being an unlikely hero of this weekend’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The red-headed frontman, more well known for crooning R&B and pop hits, has been singing with a reconstituted version of The Faces (featuring guitarist Ron Wood, keyboardist Ian McLagan and drummer Kenney Jones) in Europe. However, the group’s original singer, Rod Stewart, had planned to reunite with his bandmates for the ceremony.
The day before the show, Stewart announced that he was suffering from the flu, and had to bow out. The surviving Faces then summoned their erstwhile singer in the UK, who immediately booked a flight for the US. In the newly released book Faces 1969-75, Hucknall contributes an essay. In it, he says that even though he’s singing for the band, he’s just like the fans: “I’m waiting for The Day.” “The Day,” of course, being the day that Stewart returns to the group. That day may not be coming any time soon, but Hucknall did an admirable job, taking on songs by no less than three different singers: he filled in for the late Steve Marriott on The Small Faces classic “All Or Nothing,” took the late Ronnie Lane’s vocals on The Faces’ “Ooh La La” and, finally, Stewart’s signature Faces song “Stay With Me,” the latter bringing the entire audience to it’s feet.
During the speech about the group, E Street Band guitarist Little Steven Van Zandt mentioned that collectively, The Small Faces and Faces introduced two of the greatest white soul singers to the world, with Mariott and Stewart. Hucknall did an admirable job of filling in for both of them.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local