The Move in 1967
The Move, from Birmingham, England, were one of the leading British rock bands of the 1960s. They scored nine Top 20 UK singles in five years, but were among the most popular British bands not to find any real success in the United States. Although bassist-vocalist Chris "Ace" Kefford was the original leader, for most of their career the Move was led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Roy Wood. He wrote all the group's UK singles and, from 1968, also sang lead vocals on many songs, although Carl Wayne was the main lead singer up to 1970. Initially, the band had 4 main vocalists (Wayne, Wood, Trevor Burton and Kefford) who split the lead vocals on a number of their earlier songs.
The Move evolved from several mid-1960s Birmingham based groups, including Carl Wayne & the Vikings, the Nightriders and the Mayfair Set. Their name referred to the move various members of these bands made to form the group. Besides Wood, the Move's original five-piece roster in 1965 was drummer Bev Bevan, bassist Kefford, vocalist Carl Wayne and guitarist Trevor Burton. The final line-up of 1972 was the trio of Wood, Bevan and Jeff Lynne; together, they rode the group's transition into the Electric Light Orchestra. Since 2007, Burton and Bevan have been performing as "the Move featuring Bev Bevan and Trevor Burton."
- 1 History
- 2 Personnel
- 3 Discography
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Formation and early career
The Move were formed in December 1965, and played their debut show at the Belfry, Wishaw on 23 January 1966. The original intentions of Burton, Kefford, and Wood were to start a group from among Birmingham's best musicians — along similar lines to the Who. The three played together at jam sessions at Birmingham's Cedar Club, and invited Wayne and Bevan to join their new group. After a debut at the Bell Hotel in Stourbridge and further bookings around the Birmingham area, Moody Blues manager Tony Secunda offered to manage them. At the time, the Move mainly played covers of American west coast groups such as the Byrds together with Motown and rock 'n' roll songs. Although Carl Wayne handled most of the lead vocals, all the band members shared harmonies, and each was allowed at least one lead vocal per show (and often traded lead vocals within specific songs).
Secunda got them a weekly residency at London's Marquee Club in 1966, where they appeared dressed in gangster regalia. Their early career was marked by a series of publicity stunts, high-profile media events and outrageous stage antics masterminded by Secunda; they included Wayne taking an axe to television sets. Eventually, Secunda also managed to persuade Wood to begin writing songs for the band in his time off. They secured a production contract with independent record producer Denny Cordell, but that was turned into a media event by Secunda, who arranged for the band to sign their contracts on the back of Liz Wilson, a topless female model. Wood wrote their first single, "Night of Fear", a No.2 hit in the UK Singles Chart in January 1967, which began the Move's practice of musical quotation (in this case, the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky). Their second single, "I Can Hear the Grass Grow", was another major hit, reaching No.5 in the UK.
In April 1967, NME reported that the Move had offered a £200 reward for the recovery of the master tapes of ten songs intended for their debut album. The tapes were stolen from their agent's car when it was parked in Denmark Street, London. The tapes were found in a skip shortly after, but the damage caused to them meant new masters would have to be made, delaying the album's release. Their third single "Flowers in the Rain" was the first chart single played on BBC Radio 1 when it began broadcasting at 7am on 30 September 1967, introduced by Tony Blackburn. However it was not, as is generally claimed, the first record played on air that day—Radio 1 opened with George Martin's specially commissioned "Theme One", followed by the theme of Blackburn's Daily Disc Delivery show ("Beefeaters" by Johnny Dankworth). The single, which reached No.2 in the UK, was less guitar-orientated than their previous two singles, and featured a woodwind and string arrangement by Cordell's assistant Tony Visconti. The track was released on the re-launched Regal Zonophone label.
The promotional campaign for "Flowers in the Rain" led to litigation that had serious repercussions for Wood and the group. Without consulting the band, Secunda produced a cartoon postcard showing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, in bed with his secretary, Marcia Williams. Wilson sued the Move for libel and the group lost the court case; they had to pay all costs, and all royalties earned by the song, which otherwise would have belonged to Wood as composer, were awarded to charities of Wilson's choice. The ruling, much to Wood's chagrin, remained in force even after Wilson's death in 1995. For their fourth single, the group had planned to release "Cherry Blossom Clinic", a lighthearted song about the fantasies of a patient in a mental institution, backed by the satirical "Vote For Me".
However, the Move had been un-nerved by their court experiences; they and the record label felt it unwise to pursue such a potentially controversial idea, so the single was shelved. "Vote For Me" remained un-released until it began to appear on retrospective collections from 1997 onwards, while "Cherry Blossom Clinic" became one of the tracks on their first LP, also called The Move. As a direct consequence of the lawsuit, the Move fired Secunda and hired Don Arden, who had himself recently been fired as manager of the Small Faces. In a 2000 interview, Wayne noted that there had always been a major split within the group about Secunda's tactics: "[Secunda] had the animals who would do what he wanted to do in Trevor, Ace, and me — the fiery part of the stage act. I think Roy would obviously qualify this himself, but I believe he was slightly embarrassed by the image and the stunts — but the rest of us weren't ... We were always willing to be Secunda puppets".
In November and December 1967, the group took part in another package tour around the UK, playing two shows a night over sixteen days, as part of an all-star bill that included the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, the Nice, Eire Apparent, the Outer Limits, Amen Corner and the then BBC Radio 1 DJ, Pete Drummond. In March 1968, the Move returned to the charts with "Fire Brigade", another UK Top 3 hit, and the first on which Wood sang lead vocal. But a few weeks later, around the time of the LP's release, Kefford was let go from the band due to increasing personal problems, escalated by drug usage. He formed his own short-lived group, the Ace Kefford Stand, with Cozy Powell on drums. After this, he pursued a solo career and the Move became a four-piece, in which Burton and (occasionally) Wayne took turns on bass. It was also during that line-up shift that the band first invited Lynne, a friend of Wood's, to join. He turned them down at the time, as he was still working toward success in his then-current band the Idle Race, another Birmingham-based group. The Move was on the bill at the inaugural Isle of Wight Festival on 31 August 1968.
In mid-1968, their fifth single "Wild Tiger Woman", a song acknowledging the group's love of Jimi Hendrix, (Wood and Burton sang backing vocals on "You Got Me Floatin'", on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's second album, Axis: Bold as Love), sold poorly and failed to make the UK chart. The Move responded with their most commercial song to date, "Blackberry Way" (co-produced by Jimmy Miller), which topped the UK chart in February 1969. Richard Tandy played keyboards on "Blackberry Way" and joined the band for a time, playing keyboards live, and switching to bass when Burton was briefly sidelined with a shoulder injury. Upon Burton's recovery, Tandy departed to join the Uglys. The new, more pop-oriented musical direction, and the single hitting number one was the last straw for the increasingly disenchanted Burton, who wanted to work in a more hard rock/blues-oriented style, and he left the group in February 1969 after an altercation on stage with Bevan in Sweden.
At around that time, it was rumoured in the music press that Hank Marvin of the recently disbanded Shadows had been invited to join the Move. Some years later, Wayne recalled that to be nothing more than a publicity stunt; however, Marvin himself, in an article in Melody Maker in 1973 and elsewhere, has maintained that he was definitely approached by Wood and invited to join the Move, but declined because their schedule was too hectic for him. Bevan confirmed in a 2014 interview that the band invited Marvin, but they never thought he would say "yes". Burton was ultimately replaced in 1969 by Rick Price, another veteran of several Birmingham rock groups. Both Kefford and Burton struggled commercially after leaving the Move. Kefford recorded a solo album in 1968 after his departure, but it remained un-released until 2003 when it appeared as Ace The Face. Burton played bass with yet another Birmingham group, the Steve Gibbons Band, was one-third of the short-lived band Balls (with Denny Laine and Alan White), and later fronted his own blues group as lead guitarist.
In October 1969, the band made their only concert appearances in the US with two opening shows for the Stooges in Detroit, and dates in Los Angeles and at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. When neither their US record company nor promoters showed any more interest - the band even had to make their own accommodation & travel arrangements - the remaining proposed tour dates in New York were cancelled and the group returned home. During that period, Arden sold the Move's management contract to impresario Peter Walsh, who was at the time also managing the Marmalade. Walsh, who specialised in cabaret acts, began booking the band into cabaret-style venues, which further increased the tension between Wayne and Wood. 1970's Shazam continued the Move's practice of musical quotation, and of elaborately re-arranged versions of other performer's songs. "Hello Susie" (a Wood composition), which was a Top 5 hit for Amen Corner in 1969, quoted Booker T. Jones' and Eddie Floyd's "Big Bird", and the album included a cover of a Tom Paxton song, "The Last Thing on My Mind".
It also featured a slightly slower, extended re-make of "Cherry Blossom Clinic", which finished with an extended instrumental section. According to an interview in 2000, Wayne had devised a plan to revive the Move's fortunes by bringing Burton and Kefford back in. Well aware that Wood was intent on setting up his new, orchestral rock project (which eventually became ELO), he suggested that Wood could concentrate on performing with his new band while continuing to write songs for the Move. However, his suggestion was bluntly rejected by Wood, Bevan and Price, the other three members, so after being unimpressed witnessing a fight between Wood and a drunken audience member in Sheffield, Wayne finally quit the group in January 1970. He subsequently worked in a variety of musical ventures and appeared on television and radio. In 2000, he replaced Allan Clarke as lead singer of the Hollies and performed with them as lead singer until his death from cancer in 2004.
Upon Wayne's departure, the Move jettisoned Walsh as manager and returned to Arden. The band's second album Shazam was released in February 1970. Lynne finally agreed to join the band, enthused by Wood's ELO idea, and Wood also realised that he needed a second songwriter in the band to relieve the pressure on himself. Soon after, the band toured Ireland and Germany (Lynne narrowly avoided serious injury at his debut show when a faulty microphone touched his guitar strings and blew up). In August 1970, the group was the lead act at the Knighton Rock Festival, staged in the small Radnorshire town of Knighton. For the rest of the year, they concentrated on studio work, and the third album Looking On (December 1970), with five songs composed by Wood and two by Lynne. The album included a No. 7 hit, Wood's "Brontosaurus", which was the band's last recording for Regal Zonophone. The second single from the album, "When Alice Comes Back to the Farm," failed to chart. During the lengthy recording sessions for the next album, which included continuous overdubbing of new instruments by Wood and Lynne, Price left in December 1970 after feeling left out of the proceedings in the studio, and went on to pursue other projects, including the band Mongrel, although he later rejoined Wood in Wizzard and the short-lived Wizzo Band. He went to work in musical management, and also formed the duo Price and Lee with his wife, Dianne Lee, formerly of the duo, Peters and Lee.
The remaining three members had intended Looking On to be the final Move album, but the record deal for ELO with Harvest records included a request from the label for their own Move album, presumably to help recoup the £25,000 advance ELO had been given. This meant that the new project would have to be put on hold for a year, although the first ELO album did come out on schedule, just before Christmas 1971. The members recorded both the Move's last album, and ELO's debut at the same time, even during the same recording session. Wood, Lynne and Bevan completed the final Move LP, Message from the Country (1971). Wood's "Ben Crawley Steel Company" featured a Bevan lead vocal that was modelled on Johnny Cash, while Bevan's "Don't Mess Me Up" (sung by Wood) paid homage to Elvis Presley, complete with fake Jordanaires. Although music critics continue to hold it in high regard, in 2005 Bevan referred to that album as his least favorite from the Move. The album was followed by two more Wood-penned hit singles, "Tonight" and "Chinatown". For several television appearances behind those songs, the Move added two musicians who became members of the group after it turned into ELO: Bill Hunt (horns, woodwind, piano) and Richard Tandy (guitar, bass).
In 1972, after the release of the first Electric Light Orchestra album, the Move released what turned out to be a farewell disc, a maxi single consisting of "California Man", "Ella James" (from Message, but a track originally planned by EMI to be their first single on the Harvest label) and "Do Ya". "California Man", a No. 7 UK hit  — featuring baritone saxophones, a double bass, and a riff borrowed from George Gershwin — was an affectionate tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis (the double bass had Lewis's nickname, "Killer", written on it), with Lynne and Wood trading verses and lines. Meanwhile, Lynne's "Do Ya" became the Move's best-known song in the US; it was the only Move song to reach the US Billboard Hot 100 chart at #93. However, the Electric Light Orchestra's re-make of "Do Ya", recorded after Wood's departure, was a significant US hit in 1977. With the release of the album The Electric Light Orchestra, the Move completed its metamorphosis into ELO within weeks of the last single being released, and they actually appeared on television promoting both the Move's last single and ELO's debut at the same time. Wood released a solo album in 1973, Boulders, and went on to front the glam rock band Wizzard, while Lynne and Bevan kept touring and finally achieved success with ELO.
Resurrection and break-up
In 2004, after the death of Wayne, Bevan formed the Bev Bevan Band — shortly to be renamed 'Bev Bevan's Move' (without any other past members), in order to capitalise on the Move's continuing reputation and belated success. Bevan recruited bassist Phil Tree and former ELO Part II colleagues guitarist Phil Bates and keyboard player Neil Lockwood to play a set on tour composed mostly of classics by the Move. Wood expressed extreme displeasure at that development.
Former Move guitarist Burton joined the band on occasion during 2006, and joined permanently in 2007 (Wayne had tried to broker a reunion between Bevan and Burton before his death, and was to be involved with the new band). Bates departed in July 2007 to re-join ELO Part II, now renamed the Orchestra and was replaced with Gordon Healer. The Autumn 2007 tour was billed as "the Move featuring Trevor Burton and Bev Bevan."
In 2014, the band toured as the Move with a lineup consisting of Bevan, Burton, Tree, keyboardist/vocalist Abby Brant, and guitarist/vocalist Tony Kelsey. On 2 May 2014, Bev Bevan announced through a Facebook post that the Move had broken up, and that he and Burton would tour separately with groups called "the Bev Bevan Band" and "the Trevor Burton Band". In December 2014 the Bev Bevan Band completed their almost 50 date "Stand Up And Rock" tour, in conjunction with Bevan's childhood friend Jasper Carrott (Bob Davis). Guests on the tour included Trevor Burton, Geoff Turton and Joy Strachan-Brain, alongside Bevan, Kelsey, Tree and Brant.
|The Move discography|
(Singles and albums marked ** were not issued in the US)
|1971||Message from the Country
|1969||Live at the Fillmore 1969
This is a selected list of compilation albums.
- Split Ends (1972, United Artists) (US compilation)
- Fire Brigade (1972, MFP Records) (UK, EMI)**
- The Best of the Move (1974, A&M) (US compilation)
- Great Move!: The Best of the Move (1992, EMI)**
- The BBC Sessions (1995)**
- Movements: 30th Anniversary Anthology (1997, Westside)**
- Anthology 1966–1972 (2008, Salvo Records 4-CD set)**
|Year||Title||Release date||Original label||Album||Chart positions|
|1966||"Night of Fear"||December 1966||UK Deram & US Deram||Non-album single||2||6||–|
|1967||"I Can Hear the Grass Grow"||April 1967||UK Deram & US Deram||5||–||–|
|"Flowers in the Rain"||September 1967||UK Regal Zonophone & US A&M||Move||2||4||–|
|1968||"Fire Brigade"||February 1968||UK Regal Zonophone & US A&M||3||9||–|
|"Wild Tiger Woman"||July 1968||UK Regal Zonophone (no US issue)||Non-album single||–||–||–|
|"Blackberry Way"||January 1969||UK Regal Zonophone & US A&M||1||2||–|
|1969||"Curly"||August 1969||UK Regal Zonophone & US A&M||12||12||–|
|1970||"Brontosaurus"||March 1970||UK Regal Zonophone & US A&M||Looking On||7||–||–|
|"When Alice Comes Back to the Farm"||September 1970||UK Fly & US Warner Bros. (scheduled but never released)||–||–||–|
|1971||"Ella James"||May 1971||UK Harvest (scheduled but withdrawn) (no US issue)||Message from the Country||–||–||–|
|"Tonight"||June 1971||UK Harvest & US Capitol (subsequent US United Artists release)||Non-album single||11||18||–|
|"Chinatown"||October 1971||UK Harvest & US MGM (withdrawn but promos were issued) & US United Artists||23||–||–|
|1972||"California Man" b/w "Do Ya & "Ella James" (UK only)"||May 1972||UK Harvest & US United Artists (titles flipped, without "Ella James")||7||15||93|
|"Do Ya"||1972||UK Harvest (no US issue)||–||–||–|
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