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Ian "Mac" McLagan

Kris Needs remembers the long career of keyboard legend Ian McLagan

Rock‘n’roll lost its second larger than life character this week with the passing of keyboard maestro Ian McLagan after a stroke at the age of 69. His death on December 3 follows former musical comrade Bobby Keys succumbing to cirrhosis the previous day.

The perma-grinning cavorter known as ‘Mac’ was one of music’s most popular characters and in-demand musicians, lending his soul-charged keyboard virtuosity to a string of big names after making his mark with the Small Faces in the 60s and Faces the following decade. His death came the day before he was due to commence a US tour supporting Nick Lowe and will scupper next year’s plans (and Mac’s dream) to reform the Small Faces (with Paul Weller replacing the late Steve Marriott) and Faces for a joint tour (with Rod Stewart back on board). 

Born in Hounslow in May, 1945, Mac started as a guitarist in skiffle bands but learned piano at his mum’s insistence and was seduced by the big swirl of the Hammond organ after hearing Booker T and the MGs. He once described his rock ‘n’ roll epiphany as witnessing the Stones at the Crawdaddy club in 1963

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