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Music / Roy Wood

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"Everyone you meet coming down the street just to see my baby jive!"

"Roy Wood loved pop. He was a super-fan. He wanted to be all of pop, all at the same time."
— "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop", Bob Stanley, 2013

Roy Wood (born 8 November 1946) is a British singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, hailing from Birmingham and best known for his band Wizzard's undying 1973 Christmas hit, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". However, there is a lot more to his career than that. Roy got his start as the creative lead of The Move, formed in 1965. After The Move came to an end in 1971, Roy, along with Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, went on to form Electric Light Orchestra, which in its initial incarnation was a very different band to the lush, Beatlesque pop band they became under Lynne's leadership, being much more raw, experimental and Progressive Rock-influenced, as exemplified by their early single "10538 Overture". However, Roy's tenure in ELO was short-lived, only appearing on their first two albums, as Creative Differences between Wood and Lynne resulted in Wood departing partway through the sessions for ELO 2 and forming the Glam Rock band Wizzard.

In the meantime, Roy had recorded and released his first solo album, Boulders, generally regarded as his best work, and bringing his Genre Roulette tendencies to the forefront, shifting from Beach Boys-influenced Baroque Pop, to folk, to 50s-style classic Rock & Roll, to gospel and then back again. Not only that, but Roy played nearly every single instrument on the album, including unusual instruments such as the Cittern or Bouzouki. Boulders was critically acclaimed, and has gone down in history as one of the underrated pop gems of The '70s.

After recording and releasing Boulders, Roy moved full-time into working with Wizzard, and developed an interesting formula. The band's singles would all be catchy Glam Rock, but their albums would be whatever Roy wanted them to be. Wizzard's first album, 1973's Wizzard Brew, is a good example of this, being a Jazzy Progressive Rock album that was pretty much completely unlike the singles the band was releasing at the time. Roy then decided to follow this up with something even more ambitious, a double album consisting of one disc of 50s Rock & Roll pastiches and another disc of experimental jazz-rock. Unfortunately, the label balked at this, instead releasing the Rock&Roll disc in 1974 as Introducing Eddy and the Falcons, while the jazz-rock disc only saw release in 2000 under the name Main Street.

Wizzard broke up in 1975, leaving Roy to start work on his next solo album, 1975's Mustard, which was a much more ambitious and densely-produced album than the eccentric, homemade Boulders, but was still an unusual album, showing that Roy's eclectic Genre Roulette sensibilities were still in full flow, with the title track being a pastiche of 1940s singers The Andrew Sisters, "Get On Down Home" being very Led Zeppelin-esque, and other tracks showing his love for 50s Rock & Roll and The Beach Boys. The album also makes heavy use of the bagpipes, and features Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers on vocals on "Get On Down Home".

Mustard, while critically acclaimed, was a commercial flop, and much like Boulders before it, has attained a reputation as an underrated lost classic. Roy's output began to slow after this, and particularly since the start of The '80s, he's largely focused on touring and performing out of disillusionment towards the music industry. However, his position as one of Britain's pop geniuses, albeit a relatively unsung one, remains secure.


  • The Move (The Move) (1968)
  • Shazam (The Move) (1970)
  • Looking On (The Move) (1970)
  • Message from the Country (The Move) (1971)
  • The Electric Light Orchestra (Electric Light Orchestra) (1971)
  • ELO 2 (Electric Light Orchestra) (1973)
  • Wizzard Brew (Wizzard) (1973)
  • Boulders (1973)
  • Introducing Eddy and the Falcons (Wizzard) (1974)
  • Mustard (1975)
  • Super Active Wizzo (Wizzo Band) (1977)
  • On The Road Again (1979) (Only released in the USA, the Netherlands and Germany)
  • Starting Up (1987)
  • Main Street (Wizzard, recorded in 1973 but unreleased until 2000) (2000)

Any old trope will do:

  • Affectionate Parody: Much of his 50s-style Rock & Roll songs fall into this.
    • A lot of his songs, such as "Forever", are affectionate parodies of Baroque Pop and specifically The Beach Boys, who Roy is a big fan of.
    • The title track of Mustard is one of 1940s music, and to a lesser extent so is "You Sure Got It Now".
    • Introducing Eddy and the Falcons is a whole album of this towards 50s Rock & Roll.
  • Baroque Pop: If he's not in 1950s Rock & Roll mode, it's likely he's making Beach Boys-esque Baroque Pop.
  • Black Comedy: Occasionally pops up here and there, most notably on "Music To Commit Suicide By".
  • The Cameo: Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers does vocals on "Get On Down Home".
  • Christmas Songs: Creator of one of the most famous.
  • Darker and Edgier: Wizzard Brew, in comparison to the band's singles.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Many of his album covers, but especially Boulders and Mustard.
  • Disco: On The Road Again dabbles in this at times, most notably on "Dancin' At The Rainbow's End".
  • Echoing Acoustics: "See My Baby Jive" and especially "Angel Fingers" are influenced by the production style of Phil Spector, so this is a given.
  • Epic Rocking: Much of Wizzard Brew and Main Street
    • From Mustard, there's "The Rain Came Down On Everything", "The Song" and "Get On Down Home".
    • Boulders has "Rock Medley", which only barely counts as it's really three songs smashed into one.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Boulders features a water bowl on the track "Wake Up".
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Roy is clearly fond of the bagpipes, and uses them on many of his albums, particularly from Mustard onwards.
    • Notable examples include "Interlude" from Mustard and "Jimmy Lad" from On The Road Again.
  • Fading into the Next Song: Boulders does this frequently.
    • "Interlude", from Mustard, fades into "Get On Down Home".
  • Flanderisation: Unfortunately, over the years the general public's perception of Roy has boiled down to "Glam Rock makeup and Christmas songs", when there's a lot more to his career than just that.
  • Genre Mashup: As the quote at the top of the page shows, Roy wanted to do everything.
    • A good example of this is his 1974 single "Goin' Down The Road", which can best be described as Scottish Reggae.
  • Genre Roulette: He has a tendency to switch genres frequently enough to give you whiplash. Most prominent on Boulders, but appears throughout all his work.
  • Glam Rock: Wizzard was Roy's glam rock phase, at least on their singles.
    • Mustard delves into this genre at times, in addition to featuring a painting of him in full glam rock regalia on the album cover.
  • Gratuitous Panning: "Look Thru' The Eyes Of A Fool". Wood even suspected that it might have had too much panning which may have negatively affected its performance as a single.
    • From Wizzard Brew there's "Meet Me At The Jailhouse".
  • Halfway Plot Switch: "Interlude" starts off as a Beach Boys-esque piano piece with harmonic backing vocals, before suddenly erupting into bagpipe-laden Scottish folk music. And it's beautiful.
  • I Am the Band: On Boulders, he plays every single instrument on every single track, save for a harmonium on "Songs Of Praise".
    • Not only that, but for both Boulders and Mustard, he performed nearly every instrument, was the producer, wrote every song on both albums and even did the album artwork.
  • Instrumentals: The "Irish Loafer and His Hen" section of "All The Way Over The Hill" and "Interlude".
  • In the Style of: The title track of Mustard and to a lesser extent "You Sure Got It Now" were pastiches of The Andrew Sisters, although "You Sure Got It Now" has a heavy John Mayall influence as well.
  • Jazz: While some of his work had already shown Jazz influences, most notably Wizzard's Wizzard Brew and the then-unreleased Main Street, it was his work with the Wizzo Band and the album Super Active Wizzo where he began to experiment more heavily with the genre.
  • Last Note Nightmare: Inverted by "You Sure Got It Now", which opens with several eerie, discordant noises, one of which is apparently a heavily distorted siren.
  • The Midlands: One of the best things to come out of Birmingham.
  • Mood Dissonance: The B-Side of "Forever" is a pleasant, jazzy easy listening instrumental called "Music To Commit Suicide By".
  • New Sound Album: All. The. Time.
  • Nice Guy: Comes across as a very down-to-earth and pleasant guy onstage and in interviews.
  • Overly Long Title: "Why Does Such A Pretty Girl Sing Those Sad Songs"
  • Progressive Rock: Wizzard's Brew, Super Active Wizzo
    • Much of The Move's later output falls into this genre, in fact it can arguably be considered some of the earliest examples of it.
    • Electric Light Orchestra's first two albums definitely count.
  • Record Scratch: Mustard opens with one.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Roy records multiple different audio tracks from different positions away from the microphone, then altering the pitches and overdubbing, creating gospel-style vocals using only his own voice.
  • Stylistic Suck: Mustard 's title track emulates the tinny sound quality of recordings from the 1940s.
  • Surreal Humour: Has an eccentric sense of humour, which shines through in much of his music.
  • Three Chords and the Truth: Averted. Hard.