Move was one of the finest and most contradictory groups
of the sixties. A successful string of memorable hit singles
were set against a brutal, dynamic and musically thrilling
live act that featured heavier, West Coast-style material,
usually by other writers and bands that were strong influences
on the group.
Move was formed during an impromptu after-hours jam session
at Birmingham's legendary Cedar Club in February 1966. "Moving"
from the cream of the city bands were: Bev
Bevan, Carl Wayne,
Chris "Ace" Kefford
(Carl Wayne & the Vikings); Roy
Wood (The Nightriders); and Trevor
Burton (Danny King & The Mayfair Set).
MOVE! Bev Bevan, Ace
Kefford, Trevor Burton, Roy Wood and Carl Wayne
copyright Bobby Davidson 1966, not for reproduction)
influenced by Motown and Soul music, their stage show was delivered
with 4 and sometimes 5-part vocal harmonies, immediately setting
them apart from all other live groups and establishing a fervent
following amongst the Mod scene. In fact many, including Wood,
felt The Move were at their greatest as a live act before any
singles were released, a fact underlined by The Move's late lead
singer and front man, Carl Wayne
Wayne: "We were, because it was
a new, fresh energetic band in which there was no disharmony -
on a personal level. Before the singles we were a good, solid
five-part harmony group playing a lot of West-Coast stuff. After
the singles, we were then labelled as a pop band with a good image
and that psychologically took its toll - but we were always a
formidable live band."
An excellent reputation in Birmingham was not a guarantee of success
and the fledgling group desperately needed management and exposure
to the London scene. Enter the Sevengali-like Tony Secunda
who was also managing fellow Brummies, The Moody Blues:
"Oh, he was incredible! When you think about it, The Move
were created by Tony Secunda. He gave us the leadership and guidance
that we needed. Management can be on different levels. You can
have those that will manage a successful band from a financial
point of view and allow them to create what they are and their
music. In our case, if you took The Move without Secunda then
the creativity was from Roy Wood and we would have just been a
band playing its hits. With Secunda, he dreamed up all the ideas,
the stunts and the clothing - sending Blackberry pies with bottles
of champagne for "Blackberry
Way", doing a photo session
at the fire station in Birmingham for "Fire
Brigade" - and of course
the Harold Wilson affair! He also 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."
L-R: Trevor Burton, Bev
Bevan, Ace Kefford,
Carl Wayne and Roy
Wood (Photo copyright Bobby Davidson 1966 / Move
Productions 2005, not for reproduction)
true pioneer in music management and publicity, Secunda's
methods were years ahead of their time. He brought the group
to London and secured a weekly residency at the fashionable
Marquee Club, a slot recently vacated by The Who.
Seemingly able to manipulate the press at will, Secunda dressed
the group as American gangsters and staged a contract signing
on the back (literally) of a topless model! He also steered
The Move away from Motown and towards a more psychedelic,
West Coast-influenced live sound, while encouraging lead guitarist
Roy Wood to write more material.
SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED!
Roy Wood signs the contract on model
Liz Wilson's back as Carl Wayne, Denny Cordell and Tony Secunda
look on. (Photo copyright Bobby Davidson 1966 / Move
Productions 2005, not for reproduction)
"Secunda was creatively a genius.
I think he saw the embers of a great band and he was able to fire
that. In many ways he was able to bring out the best in everybody
- by bringing out the worst!"
The macabre "Disturbance"
was meant to be their debut single until a late switch promoted
the 1812 riff-heavy "Night Of Fear"
to the A-side. It reached no.2 in the chart, no doubt helped by
Secunda having the group tow a fake H-bomb around Manchester in
a supposed anti-Vietnam protest!
"Night Of Fear" also began
the contradiction of Wood writing brilliant commercial pop singles
against an awesome "thugs from the
provinces" live reputation that saw them play
far heavier material by bands such as The Byrds and other
writers who became strong influences.
"We made hit records and the good thing about The Move
hits was that they were individually different. If you think how
Of Fear" was to "I
Can Hear The Grass Grow"
to "Flowers In The Rain"
to "Blackberry Way"
they were all very different, I don't find any of them in any
way embarrassing. They are all still playable and it would have
been interesting to have seen how The Move would have played those
gigs had it been Trevor, Ace and myself doing them. Certainly
Trevor and Ace had more of a blues influence and Ace and me had
more of a soul influence - Ace more "black" soul to
my "white" soul.
I think it would have been interesting to see how The Move would
have developed had we all stayed together and carried the burden
- and I mean that in a kind way - of those hits. Because we would
have had to compete on the same level with Hendrix, Cream,
Floyd - we would have had to done the big arenas and we
couldn't have done those as a pop band - we could have developed
those songs to play them in the big arenas. My feeling is that
we probably could - but who knows?!
We liked the Byrds - "So
You Wanna Be A Rock & Roll Star?"
and "Eight Miles High"
we used to do all those. Not only was it the harmonies that attracted
us, because we were adept at doing 4-part harmonies, there were
things that were of great interest to Roy, because he was an experimentalist
with his instruments - as all guitarists are - so he loved the
twelve-strings which gave him another avenue to explore. We were
competing in a very difficult forum. We used to do Zurich where
we worked with Hendrix, Cream, Traffic and the Animals,
and there we were, fighting our corner with "Flowers
In The Rain" and "Fire
Brigade"! Perhaps the way
we should have gone was to have developed the songs more as longer
tracks and edited them for the singles - which ultimately The
Move did much later."
drawn to both the musicianship and violence now saw lead singer
Carl Wayne smashing television sets with an axe, showering
the packed crowds with glass. Their next single "I
Can Hear The Grass Grow" was written by Roy Wood
under duress, locked in a hotel room with a bottle of scotch
and ordered to come up with a hit by morning. The scotch worked
and the track reached no.5!
LEFT: CARL DEMOLISHES
A TV SET ON STAGE Photo copyright Bobby Davidson
1966 / Move Productions 2005, not for reproduction
"Roy was restricted by what the radio
stations at the time would play - if it was over 2.59 you'd be
off and the next record on! In some of the other songs that we
did, like Fields Of People
and Cherry Blossom Clinic,
you can see how Roy was trying to move away from just the singles
sound. It was probably indicative of his insecurity about where
he stood as a writer at the time and maybe he was trying to develop
more of a different style. I couldn't write. I never wanted to
write purely because I had the pleasure of working with Roy Wood,
who was an outstanding writer. It's great to have confidence in
someone and with Roy it was always 'Roy, write a hit song' - and
out it came! Roy also had previous writing experience with the
Nightriders, so he wasn't new to it and it was the obvious area
to develop. You weren't going to develop a great songwriter out
of me, and what you would have developed out of Ace and Trevor
wouldn't have been as commercial. The songs would have been more
blues-based, so it was quite clear to us that Roy Wood was the
The Move's most famous song is notable for being the first
single played on BBC Radio 1 and for Tony Secunda's promotional
postcard that caricatured and subsequently enraged the UK Prime
Minister, Harold Wilson. The group were not privy to Secunda's
latest stunt and he only told the group after the postcards had
been sent out - by which time it was too late to stop.
"The court case was the beginning of
the end. We were suddenly thrown into the High Court of Justice
and we were defenceless. We had no one to represent us or listen
to whether we were involved. Had we been sensible, we'd have taken
council and listened to what we should have said. Instead, we
admitted to something that we didn't actually do - all because
we thought it was good fun to do. When you think about it, it
was completely and utterly f**king stupid because we hooked ourselves
onto something that we would later regret. It was really Secunda's
bag and we should have quickly stepped away from it. It was a
stunt too far, but by then of course, we couldn't."
succeeding in gaining The Move worldwide notoriety, publicity
and a no.2 hit, the ensuing libel case saw them lose all their
royalties, including those for b-side, "(Here
We Go Round) The Lemon Tree", to charities of Wilson's
choice, a ruling still in place today.
MOVE AT THE HIGH COURT: September 1967
L-R: Tony Secunda,
Roy Wood, Bev Bevan,
Ace Kefford, Trevor
Burton and Carl Wayne
(Photo copyright Bobby Davidson 1967 / Move Productions
2005, not for reproduction)
"We were always willing to be Secunda puppets. I think
he was able to recognise the personalities within each of us.
Therefore he could see that under my skin there was this animal
with enormous aggression, that when stirred would want to go and
fight somebody. 'Go and fight them Charlie' and I'd say, 'OK,
I'll go' and if I got smacked up, I got smacked up! He used that
for his own ends. It was no use Secunda managing a mainstream
act, there was nothing for him to do. But with us it was, 'stick
an axe through that window, Charlie'!"
to bait controversy further with "Cherry
Blossom Clinic", a song about the delights of a mental
institution, it was felt the b-side, "Vote
For Me", was one dig at Wilson and the political establishment
too far, and the planned single was cancelled, together with The
Move's contract with Tony Secunda.
"I do believe that when Tony Secunda
went - and we got rid of Secunda because we got scared- that was
the end of it. We dug our own graves because I think ultimately,
Secunda could have got us through."
place was taken by "Fire Brigade",
one of The Move's finest pop moments. A no. 3 hit and saw
Wood singing lead for the first time on a single.
"Roy was the architect. He knew the kind of voice
he wanted. I could have sung "Fire Brigade" -
there is an early demo of me singing it - and it would have
still been a hit, but I think Roy's voice suited it. Roy
and I had the best voices for what we were doing because
our voices have always been commercial. Ace's was more soul,
Trevor's more bluesy. Roy's and mine were the commercial
voices and the marriage of those voices was excellent. Ace
and Trevor were good singers, but the right people sang
and "The Girl Outside"
are taken from The Move's self-titled debut album, though the
latter presented on this CD is a rare version sung by Trevor Burton.
Prior to it's release, bass guitarist Ace Kefford left the group.
An amazing presence on stage and great audience favourite the
departure of "The Singing Skull" signalled for many
the beginning of the end of The Move.
Burton switching to bass guitar and the group becoming a four-piece,
the next Move single was "Wild
Tiger Woman". Featuring Nicky Hopkins on
piano, its failure to chart shocked everyone. With hindsight,
the group should have insisted on their original choice of
"Omnibus" as the single,
which was just as innuendo-laden as the a-side but more commercial.
AND THEN THERE WERE FOUR...
L-R: Trevor Burton, Bev
Bevan, Roy Wood and Carl
Wayne (Photo copyright Move Productions 2005, not for
that disappointment, Wayne threatened The Move splitting if the
next single did not reach no.1. "Blackberry
Way" duly achieved that feat and became their sole
chart-topper during November 1968 but at the expense of Burton.
Dissatisfied with Wood's domination of the band and hating what
he saw as a slide into more commercial pop, he quit to pursue
a more blues-orientated career.
CW: "Ace's leaving was the start
of our decline. Ace's departure didn't necessarily mean the end
of The Move but it was the beginning because it left Trevor in
a vulnerable position whereby we were singing only hits. I think
he felt there was far more to playing than standing up and doing
as basically a trio. You have to understand Trevor's frustration
because we were working with trio's such as Cream and Hendrix
- two of the most formidable! When you stacked Cream, Hendrix
and then The Move together, and Jimi was doing "Hey Joe"
and Cream were doing what they were doing, and we came along and
did "Fire Brigade",
Trevor got pissed off very quickly!" The Move could have
survived had we replaced Ace with another member, maybe a keyboard
player, but once Trevor went, it removed the last vestige of anarchy
in the group."
Price joined on bass but as if to underline Burton's
point, the next single was the lightweight "Curly",
followed by a credibility-straining move into cabaret.
"We were put into cabaret because
we choose to move from one management to another, and that
manager was Peter Walsh, who handled Marmalade and The Tremolos,
bands in a more lightweight style. He put his bands into the
variety clubs and he only knew those sort of venues so that's
where we were put. People have said it was my fault and that
I wanted us to go into cabaret. That is complete and utter
cobblers! I probably sat easier in cabaret than the others
because that's where I - and Roy - came from - and that's
ultimately where we went. I've performed for many years in
cabaret in addition to the theatre, musicals and session work
and Roy in many ways is back in theatre, on the so-called
'cabaret' circuit. Without being disparaging, that's what
many call the Flying Music circuit - it's not exactly a heavy
scene. It's got commercial theatres and civic centres and
that's where Roy is. So we've both gone round full circle."
IS A CABARET! Bev Bevan,
copyright Alan Johnson, not for reproduction)
Despite "Curly" reaching
no.12, The Move did not rediscover itself as a live force until
their first (and only) American tour in August 1969. Abandoned
by their Stateside record company and having to drive themselves
vast distances to fulfill concert obligations, the group tore
into the American "underground" audiences, notably at
San Francisco's Fillmore West (from where live tapes have
just been discovered).
"No one knew who The Move were in America.
We were early, following the likes of The Beatles and Joe
Cocker, but it was really just another English band to them
- 'oh, these must be good because they've come to America'. If
The Move in its original form had gone over, we would have blown
America apart, purely on the stage act!"
Move's second album "Shazam"
was described by Rolling Stone magazine as a masterpiece
but the songs (one side written by Wood, the other featuring
very inspired covers) were also a true representation of their
live set. "Hello Susie"
and "Beautiful Daughter",
arguably Roy Wood's finest song for The Move, contained a
stellar vocal performance by Carl Wayne and made a fitting
farewell to the group for the lead singer in January 1970.
RIGHT: 'SHAZAM SESSIONS'
L-R: Rick Price, Carl Wayne,
Roy Wood and Bev Bevan (Photo
copyright Move Productions 2005, not for reproduction)
"The truth of me leaving was that Roy tired of cabaret
- and I don't blame him. He was tired of doing all those variety
clubs and similar places. I do think it was rather unfair of the
group to blame me for that because it was they who wanted to be
away from Don Arden and to go with Peter Walsh,
the ultimate cabaret specialist. So it wasn't me that decided
to play those cabaret venues, it was the management and the agency
who put us in there. The final blow was when Roy threw a glass
at somebody in the audience, in Sheffield I think, and almost
took his eye out. I said, 'I'm sorry but that's the end of it.
I can't be doing with that. I'll go and smack someone but I ain't
going to throw glasses at somebody!"
Roy Wood, Bev Bevan
and Rick Price (Photo
copyright EMI Records, not for reproduction)
existing as a three-piece until Jeff
Lynne left the respected Idle Race (who had
earlier covered Wood's "Lemon Tree")
his joining The Move was primarily to facilitate Wood's daring
new group concept, the Electric Light Orchestra.
"The split started before the glass
throwing, when we were coming down the motorway one day. Roy and
the others told me that they were going to finish with The Move
and do ELO. I said 'let me keep The Move and you go on into ELO.
If you've decided that's where you're all going to go, go now,
but let me keep The Move.' My plan was to bring Ace and Trevor
back, let Roy write the records, and we would have taken it to
another area, which may have been more interesting. But they said
'no, we're gonna keep it going till it suits us to drop it' and
I remember saying that I felt that was f**king selfish, despicable.
So I said, 'f**k you! I sack you all!' Well I knew I couldn't!
That was the last throw of the dice - so I walked."
Wood forced to take over the lead role, the heavy metal "Brontosaurus"
saw the shy guitarist adopt tribal face paint, wild back-combed
hair, delivering a manic, possessed performance. The ensuing publicity
during April 1970 over Wood's radical new image ensured a chart
place bludgeoned into submission at no.7. "Looking
On" was the first album to feature all-Move compositions,
including "Feel Too Good"
(with Lynne on drums) and the single, "When
Alice Comes Back To The Farm". Despite hinting at
future ELO glories with multi-tracked cello, the single failed
"I set a time period to go and that cabaret gig was it. They
brought Jeff in and they made records, but effectively The Move
days as a band then were over."
MOVE Jeff Lynne,
Roy Wood and
Bev Bevan (Photo copyright EMI Records, not for reproduction)
Price left as The Move became a contractual obligation and a method
of financing ELO. "Message From The
Country" was their final album, together with three
excellent singles for new label EMI, all of which charted. Lynne's
"Do Ya" was The Move's
only American hit, but in the UK it was relegated to the b-side
of their final single "California Man".
Relinquishing its no.7 spot for ELO's debut single "10538
Overture", it made a fitting finale for one of the
most entertaining, creative and turbulent groups in British rock
influencing many artists over the years such as the Sex Pistols,
Cheap Trick, Kiss, Paul Weller, Ocean
Colour Scene and many more, The Move's recordings have not
been treated so well. The original albums have never appeared
on CD in their own right in the UK or USA and the group have been
ill-served by countless so-called "best of" compilations,
badly put together and without the involvement of band members.
Many of the master tapes were lost and as a result, The Move's
recorded legacy has been neglected for almost forty years.
this is all about to change. 2005 sees the culmination of a project
originally begun in 1999 by Move and ELO archivist Rob Caiger
in conjunction with Carl Wayne to locate and restore The Move's
surviving master tapes. Much had been recovered prior to Carl's
untimely death in 2004, including previously unreleased material,
live recordings and session tapes, while only recently in June
2005, the original master tapes for hits 'Night
Of Fear', 'Fire Brigade',
'I Can Hear The Grass Grow',
'Blackberry Way' and 'Brontosaurus'
were finally unearthed.
a result, forthcoming releases will include remastered and expanded
editions of The Move's original albums and the first of these
to appear will be 'Message From The Country'
on 5 September 2005. Details of further releases, including
'Harvest Showdown', a Harvest Records
rarities and best of set (featuring The Move's EMI years, ELO,
Roy Wood and Wizzard), a 4-CD box set,
exclusive live and session recordings and a career-defining anthology
with tracks selected and remastered by Roy Wood and Bev Bevan
in tribute to Carl Wayne, will be announced shortly.
additional information, please see the following official web
Move - www.themoveonline.com
Roy Wood - www.roywood.co.uk
Carl Wayne - www.carlwayne.co.uk
MOVE IN THE FTM SHOP