The Move brought a blast of Black Country grit – plus an unlikely dash of classicism – to the fey realm of 1960s British psychedelia.
Formed in Birmingham (UK) in 1965 they had their first UK hit in 1966 with the single Night Of Fear which they followed up with a string of spectacular releases, including; I Can Hear The Grass Grow, Flowers In The Rain (a stunning example of strutting pomp rock), Fire Brigade (a wonderful dose of romping Beatlesque rock & roll) and Blackberry Way.
“Psychedelic music is a load of shit and we get quite nasty to anybody who calls us psychedelic”, Carl Wayne fearlessly told the press while discussing their debut, Night Of Fear.
“I’m instructed to tell you it’s all about LSD, but to tell you the truth, I haven’t a bloody clue what it’s all about”.
Such public pronouncements ensured that The Move would always be looked on with suspicion by a significant proportion of the underground fraternity, who felt that they were nothing more than Brummie beer boys on the make.
Nevertheless, a combination of manager Tony Secunda’s aggressive promotion and Roy Wood’s uncanny commercial pop sensibilities meant that The Move could hardly fail.
After their initial success with Night Of Fear – an irresistible collision of Tchaikovsky-borrowed hook line (oh alright then, it’s a rip-off from the 1812 Overture) and exploitatively lysergic lyrics – the group went one better with their next release, I Can Hear The Grass Grow.
With even more explicitly spaced-out lyrics (example: “My head’s attracted to a magnetic wave of sound with the streams of coloured circles making their way around”) and what was to become the trademark Move sound, bottom-heavy with off-kilter harmonies and propulsive Ace Kefford bass riffs, I Can Hear The Grass Grow gave early indication of British psychedelic pop’s fascination with Mother Nature and the elements.
It also gave notice that The Move were on the verge of becoming one of the greatest singles acts of the era.
The group attracted considerable publicity in 1968 when British Prime Minister Harold Wilson took out an injunction to prevent the group using a satirical picture of him on their promotional material.
After various changes of personnel, the line-up ended up being Bev Bevan, Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Then in 1971, the Electric Light Orchestra was started as a separate enterprise which ultimately led to Lynne and Bevan moving permanently to ELO with Wood starting Wizzard.
Chris ‘Ace’ Kefford
Guitar, keyboards, vocals