Our top 10 songs from The Move list dig deep into the music of a British band famed for its rock sound. The band was formed in 1965 by Roy Wood, Trevor Burton, and Ace Kefford. Within the first month of the band’s inception, The Move was already performing live in shows. The trio would later tag drummer Bev Bevan and singer Carl Wayne to the band’s lineup. During this time, the band didn’t play any of its compositions but covers of American acts such as The Byrds.
Several rock bands in the ’60s and ’70s, including Fat Mattress and now The Move, fully exploited the potential of vocal harmonies. However, in most cases, Carl Wayne took the lead vocalist role, with the other members sharing harmonies. Stage antics and publicity stunts made the band quite popular in the mid-sixties. While the antics and stunts were later dropped, The Move had already drawn enough attention to its name.
With a fanbase to impress, The Move had the huge task of releasing its own music. Thanks to the creativity of Roy Wood that the band’s initial songs impressed both the band’s fans and critics. “Night of Fear” was the band’s debut single which was released in December 1966. The song rose to number two on the UK Singles Chart. Amazingly, all the other three singles that the band released after “Night of Fear” were featured on the top five hits on the UK Singles Chart.
“Flowers in the Rain” was the band’s third single to enter the UK Singles Chart. However, the band was issued a court order after its manager used a cartoon postcard that depicted Harold Wilson, the then-UK Prime Minister, in bed with Marcia Williams, his secretary. The band lost the case having the ruling declare that all royalties earned by the hit be awarded to Harold Wilson. The band took immediate action on its then-manager Tony Secunda by firing him. Former manager to the rock band, The Small Faces, replaced Tony after being fired.
The Move had become popular in the United Kingdom, having it frequently hit the road for tours. During this time, the band interacted with other acts, including Pink Floyd, Amen Corner, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Eire Apparent, and The Nice. Better times for the band were ushered in with the release of other reputable hits such as “Fire Brigade,” “Wild Tiger Woman,” and “Blackberry Way.”
“Blackberry Way” saw the band take on a more pop-oriented sound. This was rewarding for the band having the single top the UK Singles Chart. However, not all members of the band took the move positively. Trevor Burton’s musical direct was a blues/hard rock-oriented sound. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long before he left the band after an altercation with drummer Bevan. Later, Wood would suggest that the band should try to release some more extensive music. As a result, Wood wished to form an orchestral rock ensemble.
The band members failed to reach a consensus on the musical direction, having Wayne exit the band after Wood was involved in a fight with a member of their audience. Wood went on to form The Electric Light Orchestra alongside the band’s drummer Bev Bevan and former founding member of The Idle Race. Even though The Move tried to grow its fanbase in the flourishing rock scene of the ’60s and ’70s, this proved tough. As a result, the band went on hiatus in 1972, with sporadic reunions afterward. Here are the top 10 songs from The Move’s four studio albums.
Opening our top 10 songs from The Move is the hit “Curly.” The song was released as a single but later included in the band’s remastered Looking On (1998). “Curly” was penned by Roy Wood with the lyrics alluding to a youngster who is muffled by his conservative dad. However, the young boy views life from a brand new perspective when he gets to fall in love with a girl. Sadly, the girl was just playing games with him only to make him feel like a fool for believing in love. The song peaked at number twelve on the UK Singles Chart.
#9- I Can Hear the Grass Grow
“I Can Hear the Grass Grow” was the band’s sophomore release featuring some psychedelia elements. Initially, the band’s audience suggested that the band members were using drugs which would have been the sole inspiration. However, these rumors were denounced by Bev Bevan, the band’s drummer. While Trevor and Kefford admitted to using drugs, the song’s writer Roy Wood used no drugs. His inspiration towards penning this hit was based on a book he had read. The song rose to number five on the UK Singles Chart.
#8- Cherry Blossom Clinic
Coming in at number eight on our top 10 songs from The Move is “Cherry Blossom Clinic.” This cheerful psychedelic song has its lyrics alluding to the imaginations of a patient in a mental institution. Themes of loneliness and clinical insanity are evidenced prominently in this hit. Credit to Roy wood for penning this song’s lyrics. “Cherry Blossom Clinic” finds the Wood and Burton take on the lead vocal roles. Carl, Kefford, and Bevan’s singing are featured on the backing vocals.
“Brontosaurus” adds to the songs by The Move, which peaked on the UK Singles Chart. The song feels heavier than other releases by the band. This hit came after Jeff Lynne, formerly of The Idle Race, had joined The Move. However, the band was without its former singer Carl Wayne. “Brontosaurus” has been covered by The Supernaturals, Cheap Trick, and Tim Curry. The song peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart.
#6- Night of Fear
Number six on our top 10 songs from The Move is “Night of Fear.” “Night of Fear” was the debut single by the band. Despite being the band’s first release, the song peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song features elements of supernatural occurrences caused by the intake of hallucinogenic substances. “Night of Fear” was quite a unique debut hit featuring a four-part harmony from Wayne, Burton, Kefford, and Wood. The only band member who doesn’t feature on the song’s vocal harmony is the drummer Bev Bevan.
#5- Flowers in the Rain
No song describes mixed feelings better for The Move than “Flowers in the Rain.” While the song was a success, the band had to part ways with its manager after a failed promotional stunt. A postcard released by Secunda featuring naked Harold Wilson and his secretary saw the band lose all the song’s royalties to the prime minister. “Flowers in the Rain” was a song penned by Roy Woods with its lyrics alluding to the thrill of seeing your garden flourish. This was The Move’s first song to be played on BBC Radio 1. The song peaked at number two on UK Singles Chart.
Coming in at number four is the hit “Tonight.” Roy Wood originally penned the song for The New Seekers, a pop vocal group famed for its hit “I’d Like to each the World to Sing.” Jess Lynne gives us a taste of his magnificent vocals in the song’s third verse. “Tonight” peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart.
#3- California Man
“California Man” was the band’s last officially released single. The song came after the release of Electric Light Orchestra’s debut album. You ought to love the saxophone, and double bass featured on the song. The song was a hit having it peak at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. “California Man” was covered by other artists, including Cheap Trick on their album Heaven Tonight (1978).
#2- Fire Brigade
Roy Wood was The Move’s primary songwriter having him pen the lyrics to almost every of the band’s releases. However, in “Fire Brigade,” he does more than pen the lyrics to this hit. Roy Woods took the lead vocals role to this commercially successful hit for the first time. The song’s lyrics allude to a beautiful lady who the writer describes as being so hot that she can get the place on fire. A fire brigade might come in handy as per Roy Wood to help put off the inferno! The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart.
#1- Blackberry Way
Number one of our top 10 songs from The Move is the successful hit “Blackberry Way.” The song has been compared to “Penny Lane” by The Beatles. For the first time, the band released a song that featured pop elements. While this was a success, not all members were ready to board the band’s new musical direction. Carl Wayne would turn down singing lead vocals on this hit, leaving Roy Wood to take up the role. The song peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart. “Blackberry Way” was covered by Equipe 84, The New Seekers, Gotthard, and Cheap Trick.
Feature Photo: Deram/London Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
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