Tin Soldier (song)
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|Single by Small Faces|
|from the album The Autumn Stone|
|B-side||"I Feel Much Better"|
|Released||2 December 1967|
|Small Faces singles chronology|
"Tin Soldier" is a song released by the English rock band Small Faces on 2 December 1967, written by Steve Marriott (credited to Marriott/Lane). The song peaked at number nine in the UK singles chart and number 38 in Canada. It has since been covered by many other notable rock artists.
Tin Soldier was originally written by Steve Marriott for singer P.P. Arnold, but Marriott liked it so much he kept it himself. It was a song that he wrote to his first wife, Jenny Rylance. P.P. Arnold can be heard singing backing vocals on the song and also performed as guest singer at television recordings of the song. The song signalled a return to the band's R&B roots whilst continuing their forays into psychedelic rock and other musical experiments. When Tin Soldier was released the BBC informed the band that the last line of the song had to be removed from all TV and radio broadcasts, mistakenly believing that Marriott sang "sleep with you", when in fact the lyric is "sit with you". Marriott explained that the song was about getting into someone's mind—not their body. Tin Soldier reached number nine in the UK Singles Chart and remains one of Small Faces' best known songs.
Talking about the song, and the influence of his wife Jenny, Marriott stated:
The meaning of the song is about getting into somebody's mind—not their body. It refers to a girl I used to talk to all the time and she really gave me a buzz. The single was to give her a buzz in return and maybe other people as well. I dig it. There's no great message really and no physical scenes.
The song seems to have been influenced by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Steadfast Tin Soldier, the story of an imperfect tin soldier's desire for a paper ballerina. The opening lyric is "I am a little tin soldier that wants to jump into your fire". Ironically Marriott was himself to suffer the same fate of the tin soldier many years later, succumbing to fire in 1991.
Upon reaching No. 73 in the USA with this single, their label Immediate Records abandoned its attempts to penetrate the American market.
Mojo readers' poll
In 1997, some 30 years after the song's original release, Mojo voted "Tin Soldier" the tenth best single of all time, in a readers' poll. The poll placed it ahead of anything by The Who or The Rolling Stones. The song has also been much mentioned over the years by Paul Weller and featured in Noel Gallagher's personal all-time top ten song list.
- Steve Marriott – lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars
- Ronnie Lane – bass guitar, backing vocals
- Ian McLagan – acoustic and electric pianos, Hammond organ, backing vocals
- Kenney Jones – drums
- Additional personnel
- P.P. Arnold – backing vocals
The song has been covered by Quiet Riot, Lou Gramm, Uriah Heep, Streetheart, Todd Rundgren, The Guess Who, Paul Weller, Transatlantic, and Humble Pie (which also featured Marriott.) Scorpions made a cover of the song for their 2011 album Comeblack. Progressive rock band Transatlantic covered this song on their 2014 album Kaleidoscope, on disc 2 of the special edition. In October 2007 Tim Rogers, of You Am I, and Talei Wolfgramm performed the track on Australian music quiz show RocKwiz.