The Move

TrackSingle / Album
Flowers In The RainRegal Zonophone RZ 3001 / Move
Kilroy Was HereMove
Hello SusieShazam
Cherry Blossom Clinic RevisitedShazam
The Last Thing On My MindShazam
Open Up Said The World At The DoorLooking On
Feel Too GoodLooking On
Ella JamesMessage From The Country
It Wasn't My Idea To DanceMessage From The Country
California ManHarvest HAR 5050



Contributor: Ian Ashleigh

Radio 1 launched seven weeks after my 8th birthday on 30th September 1967. For a young boy and future ‘stat anorak’ knowing The Move was the first band to be played on this new radio station was thrilling and spawned a lifelong fascination with Roy Wood, his various bands and his music.

Now to burst the myth … Radio 1 opened with the George Martin composed Theme One that was commissioned by the BBC as the radio station’s ‘main theme’. Tony Blackburn then played his own theme tune (Johnny Dankworth’s Beefeaters). It was during the second tune Blackburn realised there was no record cued up. He hastily reached for the nearest 7” single which happened to be The Move’s Flowers In The Rain: a legend was born.

The Move formed in Birmingham in 1965. The name came from the fact that the original members had ‘moved’ from various early 1960s Birmingham bands to form a ‘local supergroup’. The original line up was Carl Wayne (vocals), Roy Wood (guitar & vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar & vocals) Chris (Ace) Kefford (bass & vocals) and Beverley (Bev) Bevan (drums & occasional vocals). This line-up played mainly covers of west coast American groups, Motown and rock ‘n’ roll with Wood starting to become the main songwriter. He developed a technique of quoting from classical pieces which can be heard in the first single Night Of Fear with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. The second single, I Can Hear The Grass Grow, gave The Move a top five hit. This line-up lasted for three years before Ace Kefford left and Trevor Burton took over bass duties with the band as a four piece.

The Move’s then manager and arch-publicist, Tony Secunda, encouraged the band’s on-stage antics and promoted Flowers In The Rain with a cartoon postcard showing Prime Minister Harold Wilson in bed with his secretary which led to a court case and, to this day, the royalties for the song are paid to charities that were nominated by Wilson. The song features on the band’s first album.

The Move released their eponymous first album in 1968. It contained a selection of pop tunes as represented by Kilroy Was Here. It also has a fabulous doo-wop inspired cover of Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart with Bev Bevan’s bass voice.

By 1970, Trevor Burton had left to follow a heavier sound and was to be replaced by Rick Price. The Move released their second album, Shazam, early that year – a summary of their stage act on vinyl. The original album contains three Roy Wood originals and three covers. It opens with the pop of Hello Susie, a continuation of the styles from the first album and singles. The previous album closed with a short song, Cherry Blossom Clinic, which was slowed down and extended on Shazam as Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited with instrumental passages quoting from Bach’s Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring and Dukas’ Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This pointed to the direction Roy Wood was planning that would eventually manifest itself in the Electric Light Orchestra. The Last Thing On My Mind is a cover of the Tom Paxton song, slowed down and extended. Carl Wayne left the band after the release of the album. Jeff Lynne joined, attracted by Roy Wood’s vision of an orchestral rock project.

Looking On was released in November 1970 which pointed further to the future direction that Wood was planning. Open Up Said The World At The Door was one of two Jeff Lynne composed tracks and contains extended solos on sitar, piano, oboe and drums. Feel Too Good is another extended track that has a more blues inspired jazzier feel than most of what had gone before. Once again, you can play spot the musical quotations.

The fourth and final Move album was released in 1971. Message From The Country further indicated the directions that Wood and Lynne would follow together, then separately. The Move’s line-up by this time was Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan. Rick Price had played bass on some tracks but the bass parts were re-recorded by Wood. Ella James had been intended as a single but was released as the B-side of California Man also included in this Toppermost ten. It Wasn’t My Idea To Dance is a bass laden rock track overlaid with Wood playing woodwind and brass.

Following California Man, the band released the single 10538 Overture as the Electric Light Orchestra, Wood and Lynne’s long-planned orchestral rock project. There are differing explanations for Roy Wood leaving the band; some say Wood and Lynne disagreed about the direction the band was to take, others that Wood thought he was receiving the praise for Lynne’s creativity. Either way Roy Wood left the Electric Light Orchestra to form Wizzard …


The Move on Brum Beat

Roy Wood official website

The Move biography (iTunes)

Ian’s Wizzard toppermost can be found here, his post on Roy Wood solo here

TopperPost #198


  1. Peter Viney
    Feb 15, 2014

    Joe Boyd in “White Bicycles” says The Move were one of the best live bands he ever saw and was surprised they weren’t far bigger as a band. The record I’d choose first was originally an EP, “Something Else From The Move” recorded live in 1968. It’s all covers: The Byrds, Love, Eddie Cochran, Jerry Lee Lewis, Spooky Tooth. It’s now on CD with bonus tracks, though there is also a replica “CD EP”. It shows what Boyd meant and others have said they could play anything by anybody.

  2. Rob Morgan
    Feb 15, 2014

    Excellent choices, showing the diversity of a great band. Shame there wasn’t room for my personal favourite “Omnibus”, b-side to “Wild tiger woman”. What a fabulous songwriter Roy Wood is – he knows his way around a middle eight!

  3. Peter Viney
    Feb 17, 2014

    More from Joe Boyd’s “White Bicycles” (I was away from home for my last post, but now can access the book). Calvin mentioned British groups that didn’t make it in the USA on the Oasis Toppermost. The Move are prime examples. Boyd was running British Elektra at the time, and became one of the great record producers of the era: “I have fantasized about what might have happened had (The Move) made it to Monterey Pop … American audiences would have been as astonished as they were by The Who or Hendrix … They attacked the audience with volume and speed from the off. Their own songs, Motown B-sides, even ‘Zing went the strings of my heart’ were all delivered with power, turn-on-a-dime tempo changes and rich harmonies screamed in perfect pitch by four voices, two of them usually falsetto. There were no long Frisco-style jams: the intricate arrangements foreshadowed – and overshadowed – the grandiosity of later groups like Yes … Their music verged on psychedelia … they made a far superior fist of deconstructing old soul tunes than did Vanilla Fudge a year later … the confidence was overwhelming.”
    They were a great pop group too … so I’d want their number one hit, Blackberry Way, in the list, a song that managed to (gently) take the piss out of Strawberry Fields AND Penny Lane in its title for starters.

    • Ian Ashleigh
      Feb 17, 2014

      Many thanks for your comments Peter. It came down to either California Man or Blackberry Way at number 10 and I just had to have the former.

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