The Move

Band PhotoFrom: Birmingham, England

The Move were one of the leading British rock bands of the 1960s. In five years, they landed nine Top 20 UK singles, but were one of the most popular British bands to never find success in America. Initially, Chris “Ace” Kefford (bass) was the band’s leader, but for the majority of their existence, Roy Wood (guitar, vocals, songwriter) would become the leader. All of the band’s UK singles were composed by Wood, and sang quite a bit of lead vocals. The Move started out with four main vocalists in Wood, Kefford, Trevor Burton (guitar), and Carl Wayne, the latter of which became the most prominent singer for the band.

The members of the Move had come from several different bands from the Birmingham area in the mid-1960s. The original five members of the band were Wood,  Kefford, Wayne, Burton, and Bev Bevan (drums). In 1972, the Move were down to three members; Wood, Bevan, and Jeff Lynne, who is responsible for transitioning the band into the Electric Light Orchestra.

It was in December 1965 when the Move formed, and the band played their first shows in the early parts of 1966. In the beginning, Burton, Kefford, and Wood intended to form a band of Birmingham’s best musicians, emulating the Who. The three played together at Birmingham’s Cedar Club, and invited Wayne and Bevan to join the band. They made their debut at the Bell Hotel in Stourbridge, and after a few more shows in the area, Moody Blues manager Tony Secunda offered to manage them.

Agreeing to be managed by Secunda, the Move were secured a weekly residency at London’s Marquee Club in 1966. Their career began with a lot of publicity stunts and high-profile media events that featured outrageous stage antics. All of this was because of Secunda, who had Wayne taking an axe to television sets, Cadillacs, and busts of Adolf Hitler and Rhodesian leader Ian Smith. Secunda was eventually able to motivate Wood to start writing songs, and the band landed a contract with independent record producer Denny Cordell. Secunda managed to again turn this into a publicity stunt, arranging for the band to sign their contracts on the back of topless model, Liz Wilson. Wood’s composition, “Night of Fear,” was the band’s first single, and got to #2 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1967. The Move’s second single, “I Can Hear The Grass Grow,” got up to #5.

In April 1967, the Move offered a handsome reward for the recovery of the master tapes of ten songs that were intended for their debut album. They had been stolen from their agent’s car when it was parked on Denmark Street in London. “Flowers in the Rain” was the band’s third single, and it was the first chart single to be played on BBC Radio 1. The song reached #2.

The Move ended up in some legal trouble shortly after the release of “Flowers in the Rain,” as Secunda, without the band’s permission, produced a cartoon postcard that showed the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, in bed with his secretary, Marcia Williams. Wilson sued the band for libel, and they lost their court case. All of the costs and all of the royalties from the song had to paid to charities of Wilson’s choice. The Move planned their fourth single to be “Cherry Blossom Clinic” / “Vote For Me,” but due to the nature of the song’s topic, their label felt it unwise to release such a potentially controversial piece. “Vote For Me” was not released until 1997, where it was included on a number of compilations. “Cherry Blossom Clinic” ended up on the band’s album, The Move. Thanks to the trouble he had cost the band, Secunda was fired and replaced by Don Arden. In an interview in 2000, Carl Wayne talked about the division that existed within the band in terms of Secunda. “[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.”

November and December 1967 were very busy for the band as they partook in a package tour around the UK, playing two shows a night over sixteen days. They were a part of an all-star billing that included the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, The Nice, Eire Apparent, Outer Limits, Amen Corner and current BBC Radio 1 DJ, Pete Drummond. They again hit the charts in March 1968 with the release of the single “Fire Brigade.” A few weeks later, at around the same time as the release of their album, Kefford was removed from the band as a result of increased personnel problems. Kefford then formed the short-lived Ace Kefford Stand with drummer Cozy Powell. The Move became a four-piece band, and Wood and Burton shared duties as bass player. Jeff Lynne was invited to join the band at this time, but declined, as he was still trying to find success with his current band, the Idle Race. The Move were on the bill at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31, 1968.

“Wild Tiger Woman” was the Move’s fifth single, and was an ode to their love of Jimi Hendrix. The song sold poorly and did not chart. This lead to the release of the band’s most commercial song to date, “Blackberry Way,” which went on to #1 in February 1969. Richard Tandy, who played keyboards on the single, joined the band for a while, playing live and switching to bass for a while, as Burton was out with a shoulder injury. Burton’s return saw Tandy depart, going on to form the Uglys. The new direction the Move was heading in proved to be too much for Burton who wanted to play more hard rock and blues. Upon an on stage dispute with Bevan, Burton left the band. Burton was replaced by veteran Rick Price. Both Kefford and Burton struggled after they left the Move.

In October 1969, the Move made their only concert appearance in America. The band played two shows, opening for the Stooges in Detroit, as well as a few shows in Los Angeles and at the Fillmore West. The band was not embraced in the U.S., so they cancelled the rest of their tour and returned home. Upon their return, Arden sold the band’s management contract to Peter Walsh who was also managing the Marmalade. The Move were playing in many more cabaret-style clubs, increasing the tension between Wayne and Wood. The Move released the album Shazam in 1970, where they continued their practise of musical quotation and elaborate re-arranged versions of other performer’s songs.

Wayne had suggested that the band bring back both Burton and Kefford in an attempt to bring the Move back to their fortunes, but was strongly shut down by Wood Bevan and Price. Wayne finally quit the band in January 1970. After Wayne left, the Move went back to Arden. Shazam was released in February 1970. Jynne soon joined the band, intrigued by Wood’s idea for what became ELO. The band’s third album, Looking Out, was released in December 1970. The album featured four songs written by Wood, two by Lynne, and one by Bevan. Wood’s “Brontosaurus” became a #7 hit, and marked the last recording for Regal Zonophone. “When Alice Comes Back to the Farm” was the second single released from the album, and it failed to chart. Price left the band in December 1970, pursuing a number of different musical projects.

Now a three-member band, Wood, Lynne, and Bevan completed the band’s final album. In 1971, they released Message from the Country, and although the album continues to hold the album in high regard, Bevan considers it his least favourite of the Move’s. Just before the Move became the Electric Light Orchestra, the band released a farewell disc which contained their only song to chart in America. “Do Ya” managed to get to #93 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the song would become a much bigger hit with ELO in 1977. ~ Wikipedia

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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1968 album The Move
Move, The

  • Yellow Rainbow
  • (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
  • Flowers In The Rain
  • Hey Grandma
  • The Girl Outside
  • Intro^Move [Previously Unreleased Stereo]
  • Fire Brigade [Previously Unreleased Stereo]
  • Kilroy Was Here [Previously Unreleased Stereo]
  • (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree [Previously Unreleased Stereo]
  • Mist On A Monday Morning [Previously Unreleased Stereo]
  • Walk Upon The Water [Previously Unreleased Stereo]
  • Useless Information [Previously Unreleased Stereo]

From the 1970 album Looking On

  • What?

From the 1970 album Shazam
Shazam

  • Beautiful Daughter
  • Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited
  • The Last Thing On My Mind
  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher [1998 Bonus Track]

From the 1994 album The BBC Sessions
BBC Sessions

  • You’d Better Believe Me
  • So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star
  • Stephanie Knows Who

From the 1994 album The Early Years
Early Years

  • Night Of Fear
  • Disturbance
  • I Can Hear The Grass Grow
  • Omnibus
  • Blackberry Way