Wood is one of the elite
few in pop history to have written, produced and sung on
No. 1 singles with three different bands. He was dubbed
"an English rock legend"
by Billboard Magazine's Jim Bessman in 2002
and his monumental career as one of the UK's most outstanding
performers spans almost forty years and thirty hit singles.
first hit the charts with The Move, who were to become
one of the most legendary and notorious bands of the Sixties.
Their debut single, the Wood-penned 'Night
of Fear' immediately landed the band in the UK Top
5, which set a precedent for nine further Top 20 hits over
the next five years, all written by Wood. 'Flowers
In The Rain' was the first ever record to be played
on BBC Radio 1 whilst their No. 3 hit 'Fire
Brigade' was followed by the chart topping masterpiece,
copyright Michael Putland, not for reproduction)
The MOVE 1967 Carl
Trevor Burton, Ace Kefford
and Bev Bevan (Photo copyright
Bobby Davidson, not for reproduction)
MIDDLE: ELO 1972 Roy
with cellists Andy Craig,
Hugh McDowell and Mike
Edwards (Photo copyright Alan Johnson/EMI Records,
not for reproduction)
BOTTOM: WIZZARD 1972
L-R: Bill Hunt, Hugh
Charlie Grima, Rick Price,
Mike Burney and Nick
Pentelow (Photo copyright EMI Records, not for
changes within The Move saw Roy recruit Jeff Lynne
to help him realise his radical and ambitious plan to create
an Electric Light Orchestra. After developing ideas
for eighteen months, their dream became a reality when ELO's
first single, '10538 Overture',
entered the UK charts. After co-writing and co-producing
The Move's final album, 'Message From
The Country' and the debut ELO album with Lynne and
taking the embryonic band on the road, Wood decided to leave
for fresh challenges and a new direction. He soon found
it with Wizzard, one of the most colourful and entertaining
bands to gatecrash the UK pop scene. Within a few months,
the band had debuted at no. 5 in the charts, scored two
No.1 hit singles and released the immortal 'I
Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday', a classic still
played around the world to this day.
was also enjoying hits and releasing singles in his own
name and gave new meaning to the term "solo album"
when he wrote, produced, arranged and played everything,
plus painted the LP cover (!) on 'Boulders'.
By the end of 1975 he had almost single-handedly created a total
of eleven band and solo hit singles, two Wizzard albums, and added
a second solo album, 'Mustard.' Wizzard
were also extensively touring America, headlining and supporting
other bands Roy's music had influenced, such as Kiss and
Cheap Trick. Unfortunately, management problems brought
about by the refusal to fund what would have been a second and
breakthrough American tour forced the band to split up. A further
short-sighted refusal to release Wizzard's groundbreaking 1976
album 'Main Street' (finally released
in 2000 but now deleted) saw Roy deliberately step back from live
performances and recording and move into production for other
artists. He returned to America and worked with Brian Wilson
and The Beach Boys, created a refreshingly varied LP, 'Annie
in Wonderland,' with Renaissance's Annie Haslam
and produced one of the decade's liveliest albums, 'Dart
Attack,' providing Darts with their most successful
re-emerged during 1977 with the jazz-influenced Roy Wood's
Wizzo Band, released an album 'Superactive
Wizzo' for Warner Bros. and performed a live TV showcase
recorded by the BBC for the Sight & Sound In Concert series.
Wood's Wizzo Band performing live in concert for Sight &
(Photo copyright Mike Ottley 1977, not for reproduction)
The Road Again',
Roy's final album of the seventies, was only released due to the
personal intervention of Warner Bros. boss Mo Ostin. He
heard what the rest of his label failed to hear: brilliant, hook-laden,
concise rock songs, highlighting Roy's considerable songwriting
and instrumental talents. The album also featured Andy Fairweather-Low
on backing vocals, Carl Wayne on backing vocals and Led
Zeppelin's John Bonham on drums Despite Ostin's support,
Warner's would only release the album in America and Germany and
without full label backing, 'On The Road Again' was soon deleted.
continued his production work with other artists, notably collaborating
with Louis Clark and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,
Phil Lynott, Rick Wakeman, Carl Wayne, plus
a wonderfully irreverent romp through Abba's 'Waterloo'
with Doctor and the Medics.
Eighties played host to ten solo singles, including 'Rock
City' and 'O.T.T.',
the first release on Roy's own Woody Records and
the theme to a late-night spin-off from popular children's
TV show Tiswas.
new Christmas classic 'Sing Out The
Bring In The New' was enthusiastically
received by the music press but suffered poor promotion.
Despite being re-recorded in 1985 and released by new label
Legacy on both 7" and extended 12" formats, the
single bafflingly failed to chart. 'Starting
Up' was Roy's final album to date and displayed all
the originality and diversity for which he had become famed
when released in 1986. Unfortunately, like much of the songwriter's
catalogue, it is deleted.
Rocks out front of Wizzard 1975 (Photo copyright
Gary Merrin, not for reproduction)
spent the early years of the Nineties creating his new studio,
Woody Recordings U.K. and working on new but as yet
unreleased material. However, live work called again and
Roy launched his twelve-piece Roy Wood Big Band.
Though a live re-recording of 'I Wish
It Could Be Christmas Everyday' was released in 1995
on Roy's own label, a proposed live album entitled 'Alive'
was shelved. Following personal changes, the Big Band evolved
into Roy Wood's Army which toured until recently.
In addition to live concerts, Roy's recent ventures have
included performing with Cheap Trick (who have recorded
three excellent covers of his Move and Wizzard songs) and
accepting invitations to play live with the cream of artistes
from a new generation: Ocean Colour Scene, Paul
Weller, Dodgy and Reeves & Mortimer.
Mark Lamarr and Sean Hughes unreservedly acclaimed
Roy as an "all-time hero"
when he appeared with them on 'Never Mind The
Buzzcocks'. BBC Radio 4, Granada and Central TV have
devoted documentary programmes to his life, whilst a further
example of the wide reaching respect commanded by Roy is
his inclusion in the exclusive 'Society Of Distinguished
Songwriters' along with all-time greats such as Sir
Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, Mike Batt
and Graham Gouldman.
copyright Gill @ Magic Arts, not for reproduction)
extensive and highly successful tour of the UK with Roy Wood's
Army culminated in a headlining performance at Birmingham's
Millennium Celebrations, which was relayed worldwide by
the BBC. In May 2001, Roy achieved one of the music business's
highest accolades when he was honoured with an Ivor Novello
Award for Outstanding Song Collection.
March 2002 saw Roy's return to the U.S. With Army in tow,
four nights at the Village Underground marked his first
official New York appearance in 28 years! Mojo's David Fricke
(Photo copyright Doug Mackenzie, not for reproduction)
with three decades of pent-up Yankee love in this basement
room, he proved there's no substitute for hearing 10 of British
pop's biggest and brightest hits played and sung by the composer,
in a youthful tenor that betrayed few of his 55 years."
performing at the Village Underground (Photo copyright
Richard Cervone, not for reproduction)
this critical acclaim and admiration from his fellow musicians,
songwriters and fans, Roy Wood's recordings have not been treated
so well. Many of his original albums with The Move, Wizzard and
as a solo artist have never appeared on CD or are deleted. Even
Roy's master tapes were not safe, unbelievably lost or stolen
as a result of management and label squabbles during the seventies.
Quite simply, Roy Wood's recorded legacy had been neglected by
the very industry that celebrated his songs.
could all change. Inspired by Roy's Ivor Novello Award and
continued popularity with his legion of fans worldwide,
EMI, Sanctuary and Warner Bros., (the
three major labels that own his catalogue from The Move's
'Message From The Country' onwards) have collaborated in
recovering and restoring the songwriters' surviving master
tapes. (A similar, separate exercise has been in progress
since 1999 for The Move's catalogue).
a result of this cross-company collaboration, 'Roy
Wood - Outstanding Performer' appeared in November
2003 on Sanctuary Records. Endorsed by Roy himself, the
CD collects 19 outstanding hits, rare cuts, b-sides and
classic album tracks from the songwriters' years with the
Jet, Warner Bros., Cheapskate, Speed
and Legacy record labels. It is also the first time
this material has been remastered from the original master
Roy Wood back in the spotlight (Photo copyright
Gary Merrin, not for reproduction)
and Roy (Photo copyright Martin Kinch,
not for reproduction)
releases for 2005 will include an expanded and remastered
edition of The Move's 'Message From
The Country', 'Harvest Showdown',
a Harvest Records rarities and best of set featuring The Move,
ELO and Roy's work as a solo artist and with Wizzard, a 2-CD
set from Sanctuary collecting further material and
rare tracks from Wood's Jet and Warner Bros. years and most
poignantly and in memory of Carl Wayne, an anthology of The
Move lead singer's collaborations with Wood, for which Roy
has remastered and acted as executive producer.
These CD's will be the first in a series of remastered releases
and surprises that will continue into 2006 and will reinstate
Roy Wood's catalogue and rightful position in music as "
mastermind behind some of the most beguiling tunes of our
" (Scott Schinder,
Time Out New York, 2002).
further information and news, please visit RoyZone,
Roy Wood's official website.
WOOD IN THE FTM SHOP