The Small Faces: Odgens’ Nut Gone Flake!
The Small Faces released their third LP “Odgens’ Nut Gone Flake” on May 24, 1968. The title and the design of the distinctive packaging was a parody of Ogden’s Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco that was produced in Liverpool from 1899 onwards by Thomas Ogden. Side two of the record is based on an original fairy tale about a boy called Happiness Stan, narrated in his unique “Unwinese” gobbledegook by Stanley Unwin, who picked up modern slang from the band and incorporated it into the surreal narrative.
The fairy tale follows Stan in his quest to find the missing half of the moon, after seeing a half-moon in the sky one night. Along the way, he saves a fly from starvation, and in gratitude the insect tells him of someone who can answer his question and also tell him the philosophy of life itself. With magic power, Stan intones, “If all the flies were one fly, what a great enormous fly-follolloper that would bold,” and the fly grows to gigantic proportions. Seated on the giant fly’s back, Stan takes a psychedelic journey to the cave of Mad John the Hermit, who explains that the moon’s disappearance is only temporary, and demonstrates by pointing out that Stan has spent so long on his quest that the moon is now full again. He then sings Stan a cheerful song about the meaning of life.
The album was originally released on vinyl in a circular novelty package of a metal replica of a giant tobacco tin, inside which was a poster created with five connected paper circles with pictures of the band members. This proved too expensive and not successful as the tins tended to roll off of shelves and it was quickly followed by a paper/card replica with a gatefold cover. To promote the album, Immediate Records issued an advertisement that parodied the Lord’s Prayer. This caused an uproar in the British press, and outraged readers wrote in to voice their anger. It read:
Which were in the studios
Hallowed by thy name
Thy music come
Thy songs be sung
On this album as they came from your heads
We give you this day our daily bread
Give us thy album in a round cover as we give thee 37/9d
Lead us into the record stores
And deliver us Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
For nice is the music
The sleeve and the story
For ever and ever, Immediate
Regarding the advert, Steve Marriott said, “We didn’t know a thing about the ad until we saw it in the music papers. And frankly we got the horrors at first. We realize that it could be taken as a serious knock against religion. But on thinking it over, we don’t feel it is particularly good or bad. It’s just another form of advertising. We’re not all that concerned about it. We’re more concerned in writing our music and producing our records.”
Happy 49th Birthday to The Small Faces LP “Odgens’ Nut Gone Flake”!!