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Music / The Move

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The Move circa 1970. From left to right: Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan, and Rick Price.

The Move were a British Invasion band formed in Birmingham, England in late 1965. As they were all veterans of local “Brummie” acts, they took their name from the fact that they had ‘’moved’’ from other bands to found a new one. Roy Wood was the band’s leader and chief songwriter for most of their existence.

The Move were band of opposites: on their debut album alone, raucous songs like “Fire Brigade” co-existed alongside airy psychedelic pop like “Flowers in the Rain.” Initially, their manager Tony Secunda gave them a tough-guy image, complete with a stage act where they smashed cars and televisions. They also wore brightly colored suit jackets that made them look like a cross between gangsters and Lupin III. Luckily, the band had the killer songs and instrumental chops to be much more than a gimmicky novelty band. When former Idle Race member Jeff Lynne joined in 1969, they began their transition to orchestral, string-driven, Beatlesque pop-rock, finally morphing into Electric Light Orchestra.


Band Members:

  • Bev Bevan — drums (1965-1971)
  • Trevor Burton – guitar, bass (1965-1969)
  • Ace Kefford – bass (1965-1968)
  • Jeff Lynne — guitar, keyboards, lead and backing vocals (1969-1971)
  • Rick Price – bass (1969-1971)
  • Carl Wayne – vocals (1965-1969)
  • Roy Wood — guitar, keyboards, lead and backing vocals, bass, recorder, assorted other instruments (1965-1971)

Studio albums:

  • 1968 — Move
  • 1970 — Shazam
  • 1970 — Looking On
  • 1971 — Message from the Country


Tropes associated with The Move include:

  • Darker and Edgier: "Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited" from Shazam, a heavier, more ominous remake of "Cherry Blossom Clinic" from the band's debut.
  • Epic Rocking: The band did a lot of this from Shazam onward.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Blackberry Way," a number 1 hit in Britain, has a cheerfully stomping melody and downer lyrics.
  • Mood Whiplash: A trip through the band’s singles from 1966 onward guarantees this.
  • Older Than They Think: See Rock Me, Amadeus!, below. The band invoked this trope in 1966, before The Beatles or succeeding progressive rock artists even thought of incorporating classical elements. ELO was a natural progression for the band.
  • Progressive Rock: Their later albums dabble in this, and could be considered some of the earliest examples of the genre.
  • Psychedelic Rock: Much of their earlier material is this.
  • Revolving Door Band: Seven members in little more than five years.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus!: The riff for the band's first hit, "Night of Fear," is based on Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
  • Sanity Slippage: “Cherry Blossom Clinic,” “Disturbance”
  • Something Blues: "Turkish Tram Conductor Blues"
  • Spiritual Successor: In addition to ELO, Cheap Trick is a contender; they've covered no less than three Move songs ("California Man", "Brontosaurus" and "Blackberry Way").
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Drummer Bev Bevan sings lead on a cover of "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart."