STORY BEHIND FLOWERS IN THE RAIN - AS IT HAPPENED, DAY-BY-DAY...
THE MOVE GUILTIER THAN THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERS?
WHY DID PRIME MINISTER HAROLD WILSON SUE A POP GROUP?
DID MANAGER TONY SECUNDA WANT TO TOPPLE THE GOVERNMENT?
AND WHERE HAS THE BAND'S ROYALTIES GONE FOR 40 YEARS?
5 SEPTEMBER 2007 at 1.30pm on BBC RADIO 4, Tony Blackburn
will recount the fascinating saga of the first record played on
Radio 1 (by Tony himself, 40 years ago). Featuring Bev
Bevan and Trevor Burton from The Move, Robert
Davidson, The Move's personal photographer and assistant to
Move manager Tony Secunda, journalist and author Mark
Paytress, this is a programme not to be missed.
IN THE RAIN
has been newly mixed to stereo from the original master tapes
and issued as a limited 7-inch vinyl single (SALVOVS002) and 4-song
CD EP (SALVOSCD002) while the original mono version is available
on the recently released deluxe edition of classic album
MOVE (SALVODCD207) immaculately remastered and expanded
with rare and previously unreleased material.
IN THE RAIN - AS IT HAPPENED
Issued at the height of the "Summer Of Love", the promotional
campaign for The Move's 'Flowers In The Rain' single enraged British
Prime Minister Harold Wilson, encapsulated the blissed-out
mood of the era, and was the perfect song with which to launch
the BBC's all-new pop station, Radio 1.
- According to historian Dr. Scott Newton, Conservative
MP Quintin Hogg raised the matter of "rumours"
concerning Prime Minister Harold Wilson in Parliament during PM's
Questions. Barbara Cartland is also said to have referred
to "rumours" concerning the Prime Minister in a speech
to the Women's Institute Conference.
three years later, Quintin Hogg represents Harold Wilson in a
libel action against manager Tony Secunda and The Move over "malicious
JULY 1967 - The Move (Bev Bevan, Trevor Burton, Chris
"Ace" Kefford, Carl Wayne and Roy Wood)
begin recording sessions for 'Flowers In The Rain' at Advision
Sound Studios in London. Written by Move songwriter Roy Wood
and sung by Carl Wayne, the track is produced by Denny Cordell
and engineered by Gerald Chevin. Recording is abandoned
by Cordell until assistant producer and arranger Tony Visconti
suggests using brass and woodwind in the song: "Denny
wanted to throw it away as he thought it was flawed - the middle
section not rocking enough. So I said I could rework the middle
section. He asked how much it would cost, and I said: 'It's something
like nine quid a man times four. I'll write the part for free,
but what the hell, I really rate the song. You shouldn't throw
1967 - The Move finish recording 'Flowers In The Rain'.
According to the band, it is "about
a boy who can't sleep at night, so he takes his bed into the garden
and lies watching the flowers growing in the rain." The
b-side is announced as 'Walk Upon The Water'.
to LATE-JULY 1967 - '(Here We
Go Round) The Lemon Tree', a Roy Wood song recorded by
The Move at Advision Sound Studios on 23 March 1967, is covered
by The Idle Race (featuring future Move member and ELO
leader Jeff Lynne) as their Liberty Records debut
JULY 1967 - The music press announce that '(Here We
Go Round) The Lemon Tree' will be The Move's new single, backed
by 'Flowers In The Rain'. Despite spending hundreds of pounds
on "Lemon Tree" promotion and photographs, The Idle
Race decide not to compete and cancel their single. It is later
released in America only.
JULY 1967 - Carl Wayne chops a full-size effigy of
Prime Minister Harold Wilson to pieces with an axe during The
Move's performance at the "Free The Pirates" benefit.
Sponsored by Radio Caroline and held at Alexander Palace,
the benefit is in protest at the Wilson Government's attempts
to silence and criminalise the so-called "pirate" radio
stations with the Wireless Telegraphy Act, later The
Marine Broadcasting (Offences) Act 1967.
AUGUST 1967 - On the eve of the single being pressed,
Tony Secunda forces EMI to reverse the songs to make 'Flowers
In The Rain' the official A-side. He feels it is "the more
AUGUST 1967 - 'Flowers In The Rain', coupled with '(Here
We Go Round) The Lemon Tree', is pressed as a single by EMI on
their newly resurrected Regal Zonophone imprint, now dedicated
to Denny Cordell & Tony Visconti productions. Previously
two separate labels in the 1930's (Regal and Zonophone),
their last hit was in 1964 by the Joystrings. Tony Secunda:
"We've signed to Regal Zonophone
because we are the new religion. Not church-like. It's a surrealistic
to 4 AUGUST 1967 - The Move's personal photographer,
Robert "Bobby" Davidson photographs The Move during
various sunny afternoons in Surrey in their new psychedelic finery.
Photos of the band on and around Richmond footbridge are issued
to promote the single while another photo with The Move amongst
the flowers, plants and trees is distributed as their new promotional
1967 - The Move plus "dolly birds", film
a promotional video for 'Flowers In The Rain' at Kenwood, Hampstead
Heath. Later shown on UK TV, it is made available to buy from
The Move Fan Club as an 8mm film in either black and white
AUGUST 1967 (morning) - 'Flowers In The Rain' released
on Regal Zonophone RZ 3001.
AUGUST 1967 (afternoon) - Tony Secunda receives
delivery of a new postcard based on his idea for a "good
political cartoon" to promote 'Flowers In The Rain'.
A departure from the usual band photo, the card features a
caricature by artist Neil Smith of Prime Minister Harold
Wilson with references to "various false and malicious
rumours" regarding "his personal character and integrity".
Over the next few days, 2,000 are posted and distributed to
"press, media, fans and friends" of The Move but
the band themselves are unaware of the new card as they are
playing concerts across the UK.
AUGUST 1967 - A postcard, addressed to Mrs. Anne
Velentine, falls into the hands of the Paymaster General,
Colonel Wigg, who is the Government's security watchdog.
He immediately informs the Prime Minister.
SEPTEMBER 1967 (afternoon) - The PM complains of an
alleged libel on the promotional postcard. Mr. Quintin Hogg, Q.C.,
Conservative M.P. for St. Marylebone and Tory Shadow Minister
for Home Affairs, is given the brief to represent Labour Prime
Minister Harold Wilson by solicitors Goodman, Derrick and Co.,
headed by Lord Goodman, the chairman of the Arts Council,
a Labour Life Peer and personal friend of Mr. Wilson.
Justice O'Connor in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench
Division, grants an interim injunction against "Anthony Secunda
and others" until 6 September. A statement is issued by solicitors
Goodman, Derrick and Co:
the Vacation Court this afternoon, Mr. Quintin Hogg, Q.C., applied
ex parte on behalf of the Prime Minister for an injunction to
restrain Anthony Secunda, Bev Bevan, Trevor Burton, Christopher
Kefford, Carl Wayne, and Roy Wood from printing, publishing, circulating
or distributing a card alleged to be libellous of the Prime Minister.
The injunction was granted until Sept. 6, when a further hearing
will take place."
members of the group are under 21 and classed as infants: Trevor
Burton, Christopher "Ace" Kefford and Roy Wood. They
are treated exactly the same as the adult members of The Move
SEPTEMBER 1967 (evening) - At the Locarno Ballroom
in Basildon, The Move are confronted with hordes of photographers
and reporters. Trevor Burton: "It
was quite a shock because we had no idea why they were there."
Kefford: "We hadn't a clue about
what had been done. We hadn't even seen the postcard until
we arrived at the gig and Tony Secunda hustled us into a dressing
room and explained what had happened. He told us to let him
do the talking when we faced the press."
the press, Tony Secunda explained: "I
got the idea some time ago. I asked a cartoonist to draw the card
and sent copies to people in the pop world. I suppose it's a bit
risqué but it captures the atmosphere of the moment. The
total cost of the whole operation, including printing, was about
SEPTEMBER 1967 (early morning) - Returning to Secunda's
apartment in London, The Move anxiously await the first edition
SEPTEMBER 1967 (dawn) - Ace Kefford is sent to buy
newspapers and returns with a huge pile which he throws on the
bed where Carl Wayne is sleeping. The Move and Harold Wilson are
on every front page. News of the Prime Minister's injunction soon
SEPTEMBER 1967 (mid-morning) - DJ and TV personality
Jonathan King, in his ongoing criticism of The Move, rubbishes
both sides of the single in his regular Disc music paper
column: "Hum - could be worse, but
WORST is very, very bad indeed, and this seems a pretty brave
attempt to reach it
" The review sparks a
petition and a visit to the Disc offices by members of The Move
Fan Club who are photographed "strangling" King. After
performing 'Flowers In The Rain' on Top Of The Pops, Carl
Wayne is alleged to have confronted and "chinned" the
DJ who was also on the programme.
SEPTEMBER 1967 - Tony Secunda is summoned to Downing
Street to be given "a right roasting" by Quintin
SEPTEMBER 1967 (mid-morning) - 'Flowers In The
Rain' enters the UK singles chart at no.19, eventually climbing
to no.2 and staying on the charts for over three months. Celebrations
are tempered by thoughts of what is to come later in the day
Bevan: "There was a real danger
that they'd try to make an example of us. The powers-that-be
had had their fingers burned by the Rolling Stones drug case
and the ensuing public reaction. They'd closed down the pirates
and suffered the backlash. Now they had their chance to finally
win one for a change."
SEPTEMBER 1967 (afternoon) - The Move arrive
in London at the High Court of Justice, travelling from
Birmingham with their manager Tony Secunda in a (hired)
red Rolls Royce. They are immediately interviewed by BBC
TV and the press
Wayne: "We've no faith in
any political sides at all. We'd vote for people like Frank
Zappa, Jimi Hendrix..."
High Court usher calls their clothes: "The gayest attire
ever seen here." The 38-minute hearing before Mr. Justice
O'Connor is held in private, with the Prime Minister represented
by Mr. Quintin Hogg, QC and The Move by their solicitor
Mr. David Jacobs. As the group and their manager
sit in a red and gold painted ante-room near the Judge's
chambers, a second interim injunction against "Anthony
Secunda and others" is granted. The solicitors agree
on a statement to be issued but no further comment is issued
by either party. The Move and Secunda retire to a Fleet
Street pub for lunch
1967 - Two unnamed persons dressed in black suits and
black overcoats arrive unannounced at Tony Secunda's London apartment.
During their visit, he is left in no doubt of the seriousness
of his and the group's position.
Kefford: "Guys in black limousines
started following us home - MI5, we discovered later."
Wayne: "We were very scared and
we just did what we were told. We were told to concede, this was
the Prime Minister we were dealing with and we were naughty boys
SEPTEMBER 1967 - The press announce that an out of
court settlement is almost certain to bring to an end the libel
action brought by Premier Harold Wilson against The Move and their
manager if the group agree to donate all royalties from 'Flowers
In The Rain' to charity.
SEPTEMBER 1967 - Tony Blackburn launches BBC Radio
1 at 7am with The Move's 'Flowers In The Rain'. The band, returning
from a late-night concert, hear it on the van radio.
OCTOBER 1967 - Before the Honourable Mr Justice
Melford Stevenson in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench
Division, a settlement is announced between the plaintiff James
Harold Wilson and defendants Anthony Secunda, The Move, artist
Neil Smith, printers C.C.S. Advertising Associates Limited
and Richard Moore & Leslie Limited.
at the time noted that it seemed to take no time at all to decide
such a serious matter, even with The Move and their manager surprisingly
absent from court: "The matter occupied the time of the Court
for 10 minutes that is to say from 10.30.a.m. to 10.40.a.m."
their counsel Mr. Richard Hartley, The Move, Tony Secunda
and artist Neil Smith apologise to the Prime Minister in the High
Court for their "violent and malicious personal attack"
and agree to donate their share of the sales royalties (3d per
single record) and publishing royalties (50%) for 'Flowers In
The Rain', '(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree' (the b-side) and
sheet music in perpetuity to the Harold Wilson Charitable Trust.
All monies are to be shared by the Trust to charities of the Prime
Minister's choosing and two charities are nominated as the first
to benefit by receiving equal donations: The Spastics Society
and the amenity funds of Stoke Mandeville Hospital to aid
paraplegic patients. The defendants also agree to pay agreed damages
and all the costs (including tax) of Harold Wilson's action against
statement is read out by Quintin Hogg in Open Court and extracts
are published in every UK newspaper the next day:
Prime Minister has, in fact, for some years been aware that various
false and malicious rumours have been spread concerning his personal
character and integrity. Unfortunately, however, in order to found
their attack on the plaintiff - a deliberate and gratuitous attack,
which had nothing to do with the subject matter of the recording
- use was made of those rumours, which the plaintiff has always
considered it right to treat with the contempt they deserved.
But in the present instance the scurrility of the card coupled
with the extent of the circulation and threatened circulation
left him with no alternative but to assert his legal rights and
thereby make plain his determination to establish the complete
falsity of these rumours. Accordingly these proceedings were commenced
by writ issued on September 1 and on the same day the plaintiff
obtained an ex-parte injunction against the first six defendants
in the Vacation Court, and thereafter interlocutory injunctions
against them on the same terms. The defendants have now realised
the unacceptable nature of their conduct, and it is fair to say
have never at any time suggested that there was a word of truth
in any of the suggestions contained in the libel. Mr. Wilson has
never had any desire to adopt a harsh or vindictive attitude and
on this occasion has agreed to accept what may be thought extremely
generous terms of settlement on his part. In view, however, of
the wide dissemination of the postcard, he wishes me to make it
clear that he would not necessarily take the same lenient view
on any subsequent occasion. Indeed, in the opinion of his advisers,
the character of the libel was such as to warrant criminal proceedings."
In The Rain' is also described by Quintin Hogg as "a song
and dance number which has nothing to do with public affairs."
Move and their manager are absent from the proceedings and
therefore unable to defend themselves in open court. They
arrive immediately after the 10-minute case has ended. Asked
by the press if they had overslept, they answer, "No".
Photographs of the band members and Tony Secunda going into
the High Court are staged for the benefit of the media. The
Move's photographer Robert Davidson is forcibly prevented
from taking photographs of Quintin Hogg and has his camera
and film confiscated.
OCTOBER 1967 - UK sales of the 7-inch single are 250,000
while sales of the sheet music total 5,000 copies.
NOVEMBER 1967 - Follow up single 'Cherry
Blossom Clinic' is cancelled as EMI feel a song about a
mental institution could generate more unfavourable publicity.
Though the track appears on The Move's debut album in 1968, in
reality, it is the proposed b-side 'Vote
For Me' that has the lawyers worried. As a result, the
song remains unreleased for over 30 years due to Roy Wood's cutting
lyrics, written barely a month after the court case:
voice opinions in this place
Where views are never heard
They take precautions just in case
You say a dirty word
With adverse comments they promote
Just to gain the casting voter
for me - Vote for me
Sign across the line
Vote for me - Vote for me
We can overtake the world
date - With relations between the group and their manager
strained over the court case and subsequent loss of royalties,
members of The Move meet with their solicitor David Jacobs to
discuss an appeal on the grounds they knew nothing about Secunda's
promotional stunt or postcard. Plans for an appeal are later abandoned
when Jacobs is reported to have been found dead in his office.
APRIL 1971 - Almost three years after the court settlement,
the first royalty donation is made to The Spastics Society and
the amenity funds of Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
APRIL 1989 - Charitable donations to The Spastics Society
and the amenity funds of Stoke Mandeville Hospital cease as the
Harold Wilson Charitable Trust begins sharing The Move's royalties
between even more beneficiaries. These include hospitals, educational
trusts, universities and colleges, museums, libraries, Oxfam,
restoration appeals, injured servicemen, operatic societies, Jewish
National Fund for Israel, theatrical trusts, British Screen Advisory
Council, British Film Institute, St. John's Ambulance, Isles Of
Scilly Health Centre Trust, and many more, including the Kirklees
Metropolitan Council's Wilson Memorial
JUNE 1998 - Carlton TV are prevented from showing
a copy of the postcard during a documentary on songwriter Roy
APRIL 2000 - Carl Wayne decides that after more than
30 years of donating The Move's royalties to Lord Wilson's Charitable
Trust, enough is enough. He begins researching the case and takes
legal advice regarding the terms of the original settlement.
JANUARY 2001 - Bev Bevan and Roy Wood help support
Carl's efforts but sadly, the singer has to devote his energies
to battling oesophageal cancer, to which he finally succumbs in
AUGUST 2007 - Almost 40 years to the day since its
original release, 'Flowers In The Rain' is newly mixed to stereo
from the recently discovered original session multitrack tapes
and released as a 7-inch vinyl single, 4-song CD EP and digital
download. Though The Move are still donating their share of the
publishing and sales royalties to Lord Wilson's Charitable Trust,
the single's original b-side is replaced by a previously unreleased
Move song recorded in 1967 to ensure the group receive some royalties.
AUGUST 2007 - A new Move promotional postcard is issued.
Solicitors Goodman Derrick are not advised
AUGUST 2007 - The Move's official website issue a limited
red vinyl edition of 'Flowers In The Rain'. Though the band's
royalties have to be given to Lord Wilson's Charitable Trust,
all profits received from sales direct to Move fans are donated
to Carl Wayne's Cancer Research UK charity. This is the first
time in forty years The Move have had any say in where proceeds
of sales of 'Flowers In The Rain' go
SEPTEMBER 2007 (1.30pm - BBC RADIO 4) - Tinderbox
Productions for BBC Radio 4 are to broadcast a 40th anniversary
documentary on The Move and the Prime Minister, the postcard,
the song, the libel case. And more. Unless the tape is seized
CREDITS (from top):
photos by & © Robert Davidson