Small Faces Co-Founder Steve Marriott’s Last Conflict Before His Fatal Accident

Steve Marriott had a roller coaster of a life that ended in tragedy. The musician was the founding member of Small Faces and Humble Pie. He lived a life on the opposite ends of the spectrum where he would collect bottles to collect cash to survive, or he was the one selling out major arena tours of screaming fans.

At the start of the 90s, after Marriott had married Toni Poulton, Peter Frampton talked Steve into doing more Humble Pie recordings in Los Angeles. During that time in the musician’s life, he was in dire need of money, and Peter had promised to provide everything he needed.

So Steve and Toni took a flight to the US to get started with new recordings for a Humble Pie project. However, nothing really went to plan on their return home to the UK as the musician faced a tragic end to his 44 years of life after that flight. During the journey, Marriott was drinking heavily and in a bad mood the whole time they traveled. The couple was also in constant fight mode and didn’t stop until they landed.

Their friends invited them to dinner, and they all went to one of Marriott’s favorite restaurants. That dinner revolved around the musician consuming even more alcohol. Once they returned to their friend’s house, they decided to stay overnight as it was late and would travel home the following morning.

The couple didn’t get to sleep all that quickly after a long journey to the UK as they continued to argue until Toni couldn’t stay awake anymore. That is the moment everything went wrong, as when Poulton finally woke later in the night, she realized that Marriott had taken a taxi home alone.

The following day at about 6:30 am, a passing motorist saw the roof of Marriott’s cottage ablaze and called the fire brigade. It was later reported that four fire engines were needed to extinguish the fire. Apparently, Steve had gone home, jet-lagged and tired, in the early hours, lit a cigarette in bed, and fell asleep. The firefighter who tried to rescue Marriott later described how they found him in various newspaper interviews.

Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Keith Dunatis’ words after finding Steve Marriott at his home read:

“It was a tough fight getting upstairs. We searched the bedroom areas, and it was very hot; we knew immediately that no one could have survived the fire. We began to feel around the walls and discovered him (Steve Marriott) lying on the floor between the bed and the wall. I would say he had been in bed and tried to escape. I knew who it was as soon as I saw the body clearly. I used to be a fan; it’s difficult to put my feelings into words. The scene was horrific in that corner of the room. I saw him lying there and thought, what a pity it all was. I dealt with many fires, but this was like walking down memory lane. We managed to salvage all his guitars and musical equipment. I feel a bit upset; all the firefighters do. It was like seeing part of our lives gone forever.”

Steve was found lying on the floor between the bed and the wall. The investigators concluded that he had tried to escape after being awakened by the blaze and smoke. However, after inhaling large amounts of thick smoke, he was left disorientated and confused and turned left instead of right towards the bedroom door, where he could have reached safety.

The tragic accident caused the influential musician to shorten his life, and that last conflict with his wife, Toni Poulton, became the reason he went to the cottage alone and lit a cigarette. They don’t say you shouldn’t go to bed angry with your partner for nothing, as the argument brought him to a devastating end.