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Not Friday on my Mind 64: Night of Fear

The first big hit on the Deram label (DM 109, see my previous post here) was this song by The Move, which reached no. 2 in the UK. The song’s writer Roy Wood borrowed extensively from his musical hero Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture for this. While normal lead singer Carl Wayne takes the verses, the song features Ace Kefford singing the “chorus” with Roy Wood and Trevor Burton adding their voices to the harmonies. Wood first contributed a lead singer role in the bridge of the follow-up single I Can Hear the Grass Grow on which Kefford also sang the middle eight.

The Move: Night of Fear

Happy New Year (Friday on my Mind 197)

Happy New Year, one and all.

I’ve been saving this one up for several years to wait for the next time Jan 1st fell on a Friday.

It’s the first ever single released on Decca’s Deram label – designated DM 101 – sung by Beverley (Kutner – later Martin) and featured Jimmy Page on guitar. Guitar is not the first thing that strikes you about the song, though. That would be the ringing piano chords at its start.

Beverley: Happy New Year

Deram’s releases were a curious blend of the commercial and the much less so. The label was originally set up to demonstrate a breakthrough Decca’s engineers had made in representing sound stereophonically on record.

This release was not a bad opening statement even if Happy New Year wasn’t a hit.

Howver DM 102 was; I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens which reached no 28 in the UK charts. He outdid that feat later in the year with Matthew and Son (DM 110) equalling the highest position (no 2) reached by DM 109, The Move’s Night of Fear. The oddest hit on Deram though was surely I Was Kaiser’s Bill’s Batman by the immortal Whistling Jack Smith.

Happy New Year was written by Randy Newman who is due a commendation for not adding an apostrophe ‘s’ as most USians do when talking about the day when the calendar flips. To my mind that makes it a felicitation for one day only (as in Happy Birthday! or Merry Christmas!) rather than the desire for good fortune to be with you for a full 365 (or 366) days.

Here’s Newman’s demo version – with a picture of Beverley’s single version cover sleeve.

Randy Newman: Happy New Year

Friday on my Mind 159: William Chalker’s Time Machine

The Idle Race wasn’t the only Birmingham group to like (Here We Go Round) the Lemon Tree. The band that recorded the song here liked that earlier one so much they took their name from (part of) its title.

The somewhat psychedelic – not to say SF tinged – William Chalker’s Time Machine was written by Ace Kefford, who had just left The Move, and produced by Andy Fairweather-Low (of Amen Corner and solo fame) and Trevor Burton of …. The Move.

It didn’t bother the charts.

The Lemon Tree: William Chalker’s Time Machine

Not Friday on my Mind 46: (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree

This Roy Wood song was originally planned as a single but ended up as the B-side of Flowers in the Rain famously the first song to be played on Radio 1, fifty years ago this week

There’s a great rhyme in the lyric: plans/underpants. Not to mention cider/beside her.

The Move:- (Here we go round) The Lemon Tree

Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame)’s first group The Idle Race also recorded it as a single but it was only released in Europe and the US.

The Idle Race: Here We Go ‘Round The Lemon Tree

Friday on my Mind 155: Dance Round the Maypole

Produced (and sung on) by Roy Wood of the Move, early ELO and Wizzard, this is an absolutely typical Roy Wood song (compare Blackberry Way) as credited to The Acid Gallery. Wood’s voice on the chorus is unmistakable though.

The Acid Gallery later became Christie (of Yellow River No 1 fame.)

The Acid Gallery: Dance Round the Maypole

Reelin’ In the Years 137: Dear Elaine

This is something of an oddity but yet is entirely consistent with Roy Wood’s oeuvre.

Very unMove-like and far too restrained for Wizzard – which he had formed at around the same time as this – it could still be an outtake from The Electric Light Orchestra, the band’s
eponymous first album, which did contain quite a lot of acoustic plucked strings in its arrangements.

Roy Wood: Dear Elaine

Not Friday On My Mind 38: Blackberry Way

The Move’s only no 1 hit. Obviously influenced by Penny Lane but supposedly also Strawberry Fields Forever. I am informed that Blackberry Way is a street in The Move’s home city of Birmingham.

This is the version from the record (which means you get the mellotron flavour) but laid over a live TV performance from Colour Me Pop.

The Move: Blackberry Way

Reelin’ In the Years 114: California Man

The roots of both ELO and Wizzard are evident in this, the last of the hits by Birmingham band The Move, which by this time had lost original members Carl Wayne, Ace Kefford and Trevor Burton and reeled in Jeff Lynne from The Idle Race. ELO’s first single 10538 Overture was released only a month or so after this.

The Move: California Man

Reelin’ In the Years 113: Ball Park Incident

It’s that time of year again. I was in a shopping mall yesterday and over the tannoy came the sound of I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day. It was the nineteenth of November!

Still, it got me to thinking about the band that recorded it, Wizzard, a project that Roy Wood had (ahem) moved on to from The Move following a brief stint with the earliest incarnation of ELO.

I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day never made it to no 1, among other things having the relative misfortune to be first released in the same year as Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody. I don’t suppose Roy Wood will complain. The residuals he gets every year for I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day must keep him in mince pies well enough.

This was the world’s introduction to Wizzard. Their first single.

Wizzard: Ball Park Incident

Not Friday On My Mind 30: Fire Brigade

A rest from soul this week.

In Britain we don’t refer to the Fire Department. Instead it’s the Fire Service or the Fire Brigade.

Cue The Move.

This is a live performance:-

The Move: Fire Brigade

And here’s a rarity. Fire Brigade with Carl Wayne rather than Roy Wood on lead vocals. This version, somewhat flatter in sound, also lacks the siren sounding “woo-oo, woo-oo, woo-oo” singing behind the chorus and the “Ooh” punctuating the chorus and its repeat.

The Move: Fire Brigade

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