The Move were led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Roy Wood (although Chris "Ace" Kefford was their original leader), who composed all the group's UK singles and from 1968 also sang lead vocal on many of them (although Carl Wayne was their lead singer). They were extremely successful in Britain in their early career, scoring nine Top 20 UK singles in five years, but they were not as well known in the United States, mainly because they did not tour there until the latter part of their career. Nevertheless, they have been credited as an influence on many later groups on both sides of the Atlantic.
The group evolved from several mid 1960s Birmingham based groups, including Carl Wayne and the Vikings, the Nightriders and the Mayfair Set. Strongly influenced by The Beatles, Motown and the emerging American 'West Coast' sound, The Move quickly established a reputation as one of the most accomplished and exciting live acts of the period. The group's name seems to refer to the move various members of these bands made to form the group. Beside Wood, the original members of The Move in 1966 were drummer Bev Bevan, bassist Chris "Ace" Kefford, vocalist Carl Wayne and guitarist Trevor Burton. The concluding members in 1972 were the trio of Wood, Bevan and guitarist-pianist Jeff Lynne, who is commonly credited with transitioning the group into The Electric Light Orchestra.
The promotional campaign for the song generated enormous controversy after Secunda produced a cartoon postcard to promote the single showing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, in bed with his secretary, Marcia Williams, with whom he was allegedly having an affair. Wilson sued The Move for libel. The group lost the court case and had to pay all costs, with all royalties earned by the song, which otherwise would have belonged to composer Roy Wood, being awarded to charities of Wilson's choice, a ruling which has 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 thoroughly unnerved by their court experiences; they and the record company felt it unwise to pursue such a potentially controversial idea, and the single was shelved. "Vote For Me" remained unreleased 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 fiasco, The Move fired Tony Secunda as manager and hired Don Arden. In a 2000 interview, Carl 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.
It was also during this line-up transition that the band first invited Jeff Lynne, a friend of Wood's, to join. He declined at the time, still working toward success in his current band the Idle Race, another Birmingham based group.
In mid-1968 their fifth single "Wild Tiger Woman", a much heavier song acknowledging the group's love of Jimi Hendrix (Wood and Burton sang backing vocals on "You've Got Me Floating", on the Jimi Hendrix Experience's second album, Axis: Bold as Love), sold poorly and failed to make the top 50, a disaster as it followed four top five hits. The Move responded with their most commercial number yet, the evergreen "Blackberry Way" (produced by Jimmy Miller), which topped the UK chart in February 1969.
This new, more easy-listening musical direction 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 after an altercation on stage one evening with Bev Bevan. At around this 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 said that this was 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 The Move's schedule was too hectic for him. Burton was ultimately replaced by Rick Price, another veteran of several Birmingham rock groups.
Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton struggled commercially after leaving The Move. Kefford recorded a solo album in 1968 after his departure, but it remained unreleased until 2003 when it appeared as "Ace The Face". Burton played bass with yet another Birmingham group, The Steve Gibbons Band, and later fronted his own blues group as lead guitarist.
During this period Arden sold The Move's management contract to Peter Walsh. Walsh, who specialized in cabaret acts, began booking the band into cabaret-style venues unsuitable for "power pop" rockers such as The Move, which further increased the tension between band leaders Carl Wayne and Roy 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 Roy Wood composition), which was a top five hit for Amen Corner in 1969, quotes Booker T. Jones' and Eddie Floyd's "Big Bird," and the album includes a cover of a Tom Paxton song, "The Last Thing on My Mind". It also included a slightly slower remake of "Cherry Blossom Clinic" that began in with a proto-metallic grind and finished with an acoustic guitar-dominated extended quotation from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Joy".
According to a 2000 interview, 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 Wayne finally quit the group in January 1970. He subsequently worked in a variety of musical ventures and appeared on TV and radio. In 2000 he replaced Allan Clarke as lead singer of The Hollies and performed with them as lead singer until his untimely death from cancer in 2004.
During the lengthy recording sessions for the next album, which included continuous overdubbing of new instruments by Wood and Lynne while the rest of the group idled, Rick Price left to form the band Mongrel, Price later joined Wood in Wizzard, and the shortlived Roy Wood's Wizzo Band, playing steel guitar for the latter, then went to work in musical management, and also formed the duo Price and Lee with Dianne Lee formerly of the duo Peters and Lee. The remaining members -- Wood, Lynne and Bevan -- completed the final Move LP, the eclectic Message From The Country (1971). Lynne's compositions displayed a strong Beatles and Bee Gees influence. Wood's "Ben Crawley Steel Company" featured a Bev Bevan lead vocal that was obviously modeled on Johnny Cash, while Bevan's "Don't Mess Me Up" (sung by Wood) paid homage to Elvis Presley, complete with fake Jordanaires. In 2005 Bevan referred to this 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 these songs, The Move added two musicians who became members of the group after its transition into ELO: Bill Hunt (horns, winds, piano) and Richard Tandy (guitar, bass).
With the release of the album The Electric Light Orchestra, The Move completed its transition into ELO. Wood and Lynne were joint leaders; it was Wood who played many of the album's classical instruments (such as cello and flute), with Lynne on piano, and articles of the time discussing the new group noted how Wood would repeatedly overdub until he had become more familiar with each instrument. The group recruited new musicians to recreate their sound live, retaining the Move trio at the center, and started recording tracks for a second album.
But after several disappointing live performances and growing disagreements about musical direction, Wood decided to leave and form his own band, catching Lynne by surprise. Wood's aspirations to combine rock and jazz elements, incorporating saxophone players such as himself, seemed at odds with the group's experimental classical style and Lynne's desire to keep touring until the band jelled. Of the eleven ELO songs recorded by both Wood and Lynne, seven were Lynne compositions, which may also have contributed to Wood's unrest.
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 massive success with The Electric Light Orchestra.
Although never as popular in the United States as they were in their native England, the Move were a seminal pop/rock group of the era, and are often cited as one of the main progenitors of power pop. Cheap Trick recorded a version of "California Man" on their Heaven Tonight LP, while Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols admitted that one of the guitar riffs on "God Save The Queen" was inspired by that on "Fire Brigade".
In 1997, the single "Feel Too Good" was featured on the soundtrack of the American movie Boogie Nights, and in 2006 the single "Do Ya" was featured on a U.S. TV commercial, giving The Move a long-overdue burst of success in America, which had been elusive during their existence.
Roy Wood has expressed extreme displeasure at this development .
Former Move guitarist Trevor Burton joined the band on occasion during 2006 and joined permanently in 2007. Bates departed in July 2007 to rejoin ELO Part II, now renamed The Orchestra and was replaced with Gordon Healer. The Autumn 2007 tour is billed as "The Move featuring Trevor Burton and Bev Bevan".
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|late 1968 - early 1970|| |
|early 1970 - October 1971|| |
|October 1971 - mid 1972|| |
|2004 - mid 2007|| |
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