Legacy Of Steve Marriott / AI Tech and Family Tensions Ignite

The case of the late Steve Marriott has highlighted the importance of making a will before you pass. Daughter Mollie Marriott, who has no legal connection to the Marriott Estate, has raised objections to plans to release ‘new’ recordings created with AI-powered technology. Mollie has seen support from an ever-growing number of father Steve’s close friends and fellow artists.

As reported by Variety, Los Angeles-based independent label Cleopatra Records has engaged in discussions with the Marriott Estate about completing some of his unfinished demos with the aid of AI technology.

The label plans to release the recordings in their original form “for now” via three as-yet-unscheduled compilations. Chris France, who has been managing director of the Marriott Estate since 1997, admits that while “there are no confirmed plans to use Steve Marriott’s voice on AI recordings, that does not mean a deal will not be done with one of several suitors who have made offers…I am afraid that [Mollie Marriott’s] opinions are of no consequence to me or his Estate.”

The issue is connected to the lack of a will when Steve Marriott passed, aged 44 on 20 April 1991. 

“The Marriott Estate is due to release an AI solo album of old and new songs of my father, Steve,” Mollie Marriott said in a previously released official statement. “Sadly, the surviving family, which comprises just my siblings Lesley, Toby, Tonya, and I, have nothing to do with the Estate as there was no will. It is run by my stepmother, who was only with my father for two years prior to his death and has since been re-married.

“We, along with his bandmates of Humble Pie and Small Faces are looking to stop this album from happening as it would be a stain on my father’s name. 

“Someone who was known as one of the greatest vocalists of our generation, with such a live and raw vocal, it would absolutely break his heart if he were alive to know this. This is only for money, not art nor appreciation.

“It is the start of a campaign I wish to lead against this sort of thing, where deceased artists have no rights and that everything natural in this world is truly dying, including creativity and the arts, as AI comes into play. It’s a sad world to behold.”

Those who are supporting Mollie include Marriott’s former bandmates Small Faces’ Kenney Jones and Humble Pie’s Peter Frampton and Jerry Shirley. 

Drummer Jerry Shirley confirmed an attempt by Cleopatra to create a version of Georgia On My Mind with AI-generated vocals “by” Marriott, which he could then compare the result with his memories of Marriott’s own informal renditions of the song. 

The AI recording was “horrible,” Shirley told Variety. “It sounded like someone trying to sound like someone trying to sound like Steve Marriott.” 

Others to have shown their dissatisfaction with the plans include Robert Plant, David Gilmour, Paul Weller, Paul Rodgers, Joe Brown, Bryan Adams, Matt Sorum, Glenn Hughes, Gary Kemp and Bob Harris.

Steve Marriott’s musical career began in the early 1960s with the formation of Small Faces, a band that achieved widespread success with hits like Itchycoo Park, Lazy Sunday, and All Or Nothing. With his powerful voice and charismatic stage presence, Marriott’s talent helped define the sound of British rock during the era.

In 1969, after Small Faces disbanded, Marriott co-founded Humble Pie, a pioneering band in the hard rock and blues rock genres. Humble Pie gained a reputation for their dynamic live performances and released several acclaimed albums, including Rock On and Performance Rockin’ the Fillmore.

Marriott carried on through the 1980s, lighting up live stages in the UK and the US with over 200 gigs each year before he died in a fire at his Essex home.

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