The Move Biography

Formed in 1966 in the Cedar Club from the ashes of several Birmingham beat groups, the original Move comprised Roy Wood (Roy Adrian Wood, 8 November 1946, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England; vocals/guitar), Carl Wayne (b. Colin David Tooley, 18 August 1943, Birmingham, England, d. 31 August 2004, England; vocals), Chris ‘Ace’ Kefford (b. 10 December 1946, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England; bass), Trevor Burton (b. Trevor Iresons, 9 March 1944, Ashton, Warwickshire, England; guitar), and Bev Bevan (b. Beverley Bevan, 23 November 1945, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England; drums). Under the guidance of Tony Secunda, they moved to London, signed to Decca Records’ hit subsidiary Deram Records, and rapidly established themselves as one of the most inventive and accomplished pop bands on the live circuit. In 1967, their first two UK Top 5 singles, the classically inspired ‘Night Of Fear’ and upbeat psychedelic ‘I Can Hear The Grass Grow’ sounded fresh and abrasive and benefited from a series of publicity stunts masterminded by Secunda. Like the Who, the Move specialized in ‘auto-destruction’, smashing television sets and cars onstage and burning effigies of Adolf Hitler, Ian Smith and Dr Veerwoord.

Later in the year, the Move signed to the reactivated Regal Zonophone Records label which was launched in September with the fashionably titled ‘Flowers In The Rain’, the first record played on BBC Radio 1. The mischievous Secunda attempted to promote the disc with a saucy postcard depicting Harold Wilson. The Prime Minister promptly sued for libel, thereby diverting Roy Wood’s royalties from the UK number 2 hit single to charity. In February 1968, the band returned as strong as ever with the high energy, 50s inspired, ‘Fire Brigade’, which provided them with their fourth Top 5 single. Soon afterwards, Ace Kefford suffered a nervous breakdown and left the band (he formed the short-lived Ace Kefford Stand). The Move continued as a quartet, with Burton switching to bass. The catchy but chaotic ‘Wild Tiger Woman’ fared less well than expected, as did their bizarrely eclectic EP Something Else. Management switches from Tony Secunda, who was sacked, to Don Arden and then to Peter Walsh brought further complications, but the maestro Wood responded well with the evocative and brilliant ‘Blackberry Way’, a number 1 on some UK charts.

A further softening of the Move’s once violent image with ‘Curly’ coincided with Burton’s departure and his replacement by Rick Price. The band was then finding they were being booked into the cabaret circuit by Walsh’s Starlight Agency. Carl Wayne finally departed after an altercation in Sheffield, although increasing friction within their ranks resulted in Wood already planning the Electric Light Orchestra. Wayne’s enforced departure in January 1970 for a solo career left the Move to carry on as a trio. The heavy rock sound of ‘Brontosaurus’ and ‘When Alice Comes Down To The Farm’ supplemented their diverse hit repertoire, and further changes were ahead. The recruitment of Jeff Lynne (b. 30 December 1947, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England) from the Idle Race in February encouraged Wood to experiment with cellos and oboes while simultaneously pursuing their career as an increasingly straightforward pop act. The final flurry of Move hits (‘Tonight’, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘California Man’) were bereft of the old invention, which was henceforth to be discovered in their grand offshoots, the Electric Light Orchestra aka ELO and Wizzard. During its brief career, the Move produced a sizeable catalogue of quality pop songs with some classic compositions coming from Wood.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.