The Move's only Number 1 hit, 'Blackberry Way' was late '60s pop at its magnificent, melodramatic best. Melancholy, too, thanks to a moody Mellotron, together with harpsichord embellishments played by Richard Tandy. In the build up to its release, in December 1968, the fan club newsletter described it as, "the most fantastic song Roy has written to date". For once, this was no mere hyperbole.

Though little remarked upon at the time, 'Blackberry Way' is also notable for marking the start of a new creative relationship, one that would have dire consequences for the band's long-term future. As the key creatives in their respective combos, fellow Brummies Roy Wood and Idle Race frontman Jeff Lynne had been following each other's fortunes since 1967. During a drinking session in Lynne's local pub one night, Wood had been discussing his latest composition. Suitably intrigued, and with Jeff one of the few Birmingham musicians that had a B&O sound-on-sound tape recorder, the pair ended up recording the demo for 'Blackberry Way' in Lynne's home studio in the front room of his parents house in Shard End. Cushions were pressed around Roy's head by Lynne and fellow-Idle Racer Roger Spencer to try and kept the sound down and not wake Jeff's mum and dad asleep upstairs. Roy could barely finish the song for laughing.

When Trevor Burton decided he'd had enough of pop's fast lane during February '69, his departure was the perfect cue for Wood to ask Jeff Lynne to join The Move. But still basking in the critical acclaim of the debut Idle Race LP and with a strong belief he would make it with the group, Lynne - for the time being at least - chose to remain master of his own destiny.

Burton had been frustrated by his inability to steer The Move closer to the emerging heavy rock sound, typified by Vanilla Fudge in the States and Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath at home. His replacement, Rick Price, had no such qualms. He'd been plucked from a Birmingham-based cabaret band called Sight And Sound and within weeks of Burton leaving, The Move - just off the back of the most talked about single of the year - also found themselves on the cabaret circuit.

With Tony Secunda finally dismissed as manager, their concert agent Don Arden took over as temporary manager - which alarmed the whole band. Carl Wayne, as ever, took the initiative and offered The Move to the biggest management company in the business at the time - Peter Walsh of Starlite Entertainments (which looked after several big names including Fleetwood Mac and The Tremeloes) - to steer them away from Arden and to maximise their income on the lucrative cabaret circuit. "We were doing songs like 'Walk Right Back' and 'Ave Maria' for the supper-club crowd," remembers Bev Bevan. "Extraordinary!" If only for their sanity, The Move were still playing "proper" gigs in addition to their cabaret commitments and outraging audiences in continental Europe.

Adaptable and able to sing anything demanded of him, Carl took to cabaret far better than Roy and Bev, though the two musicians tolerated it because they were away from Arden and earning serious money to go towards each of their forthcoming marriages. The Move's venture into cabaret was such a huge draw at the time that each residency had to be extended due to demand, with members of The Move's loyal fan club travelling to each venue en-masse.

The split in the group's musical personality was exaggerated further when, in October 1969, two years after the idea was first mooted, The Move finally made it to the States. "It wasn't always great," admitted Carl Wayne. "Roy's a great guitarist but he wasn't Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. And we were trying to break America by stretching the songs into 20-minute epics."

It was difficult, not least because their American record company, A&M, had done virtually nothing to promote The Move prior to their arrival. Despite that, the West Coast gigs they played were incredible heavy rock extravaganzas that certainly impressed audiences at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, the Grandee Ballroom in Detroit and the Whisky a Go Go in LA. The shows comprised most of the material that ended up on Shazam.

On their return, The Move returned to Advision Studios to finish their second album. Just as the band were split down the middle, both musically and on a personal level, 'Shazam' (a title that had been knocking around since the spring) was to be a record of two halves. One side would comprise Roy Wood originals, the other, largely at Carl's suggestion as Roy hadn't written enough songs, would feature cover versions. That was a far cry from the initial announcement in mid-'68 which indicated 'Shazam' would be a double set comprised of Roy's songs plus covers and new material written by Morgan and Tandy.

By the time of recording Shazam-proper around mid-1969, no Penny Music songs were being considered for the album, which suggests Roy's growing influence in the band (at loggerheads with Carl's natural leadership) and his refusal to record anything but his songs. With an album long-overdue, The Move's publisher and band members started suggesting songs to cover…

Preview extract taken from 'Shazam' sleeve notes by Mark Paytress

PHOTO CREDITS (from top):

THE MOVE Bev, Carl Roy & Rick 1969 photo © The Move

THE MOVE Trevor, Roy, Bev & Carl
1968 photo © The Move

THE MOVE Cabaret Portrait 1969 photo © Alan Johnson

CARL WAYNE recording Shazam outside Advision Sound Studios 1969 photo © Alan Johnson

THE MOVE recording Shazam at Advision Sound Studios 1969 photo © Alan Johnson

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