The Move

The Move is a 1960s rock music band from Birmingham, England, led by guitarist, singer and songwriter Roy Wood. The group evolved from several mid-'60s Birmingham groups, including Carl Wayne and the Vikings, the Nightriders and the Mayfair Set. 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 were drummer Bev Bevan, bassist Chris "Ace" Kefford, vocalist Carl Wayne and guitarist Trevor Burton.

They played their first shows in early 1966, and became known for their elaborate vocal arrangements and for their taste in soul music and American West-Coast bands the Beach Boys, the Byrds, Love and Moby Grape. Their manager, Tony Secunda, got them a weekly residency at London's Marquee Club, where they appeared dressed in gangster regalia. Roy Wood wrote their first single, 1967's "Night of Fear," which began the Move's practice of musical quotation (in this case, the 1812 Overture).

Known for outrageous stage antics, they were sued by Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Harold Wilson for libel after Secunda, to promote their single "Flowers in the Rain," produced a postcard of Wilson in bed with a woman with whom he was allegedly having an affair. Their "Wave Your Flag and Stop the Train" referenced the Monkees, while "Fire Brigade" contained a guitar figure straight out of Eddie Cochran, and the bridge of "Blackberry Way" is taken from the intro of Harry Nilsson's "Good Old Desk".

By spring 1968 and the release of their first LP, Kefford had left the band; Burton overtook the bass part, but also left a year later, replaced by Rick Price, who had done time in Birmingham groups as well.

1970s Shazam continued their practice of musical quotation and of elaborately re-arranged versions of other performers' songs; "Hello Susie" quotes Booker T. Jones' and Eddie Floyd's "Big Bird," and the album includes a cover of a Tom Paxton song.

Carl Wayne left the group after Shazam, soon replaced by Jeff Lynne, who was yet another Birmingham musician (from the Idle Race). This lineup recorded Looking On, which featured the single "Brontosaurus." Lynne, Wood, Price and Bevan then made the final Move LP, Message from the Country (1971), which many regard as their best. The title track quoted Jimmy Webb's "Up-Up and Away," Wood's "Ben Crawley Steel Company" was obviously modelled on Johnny Cash, and Bevan's "Don't Mess Me Up" was homage to Elvis Presley, complete with fake Jordanaires. Down to the trio of Wood, Lynne and Bevan, the Move released a "maxi-single" in 1972 consisting of "Ella James," "California Man" and "Do Ya." "California Man" was a tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard, while "Do Ya" became the Move's best-known song, the original version reaching the lower rungs of the American charts in 1972. Meanwhile, Wood and Lynne had embarked on a side project, the Electric Light Orchestra (whose remake of "Do Ya" was a hit in 1977).

Wood released a solo album in 1972, Boulders, which contained a stunning parody of the Everly Brothers, and went on to front the glam rock band Wizzard, while Lynne (minus Wood) achieved massive success with the Electric Light Orchestra. Randy Newman wrote a song about "English boys from Birmingham" that appeared on his Born Again LP.

Although never nearly as popular in the United States as they were in their native England, the Move was a seminal pop group of the era, and is often cited as one of the main progenitors of power pop. Cheap Trick recorded a version of "California Man" on their Heaven Tonight LP.

"Flowers in the Rain" was the first track played on Radio 1 when it began in 1967.

Carl Wayne, who had joined the Hollies in 2000, died on August 31 2004 after a long battle with cancer.


Selected Discography


  • Night of Fear (1967 UK #2)
  • I Can Hear the Grass Grow (1967 UK #5)
  • Flowers in the Rain (1967 UK #2: first title ever to appear on BBC Radio 1)
  • Fire Brigade (1968 UK #3)
  • Wild Tiger Woman (1968)
  • Blackberry Way (1968 UK #1)
  • Curly (1969 UK #12)
  • Brontosaurus (1970 UK #5)
  • When Alice Comes Back To The Farm (1970)
  • Tonight (1971 UK #11)
  • Chinatown (1971 UK #24)
  • California Man (1972 UK #7)
  • Do Ya (B-Side of California Man, A-side 1972, US, 1974 UK, 1976 re-issued by ELO)


  • Move (1968)
  • Something Else from the Move (1968)
  • Shazam (1970)
  • Looking On (1970)
  • Message from the Country (1971)
  • Split Ends (1973)
  • The Best of the Move (1974)
  • Great Move!: The Best of the Move (1994)
  • The BBC Sessions (1995)
  • Movements: 30th Anniversary Anthology (1997)

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