Friday, February 13, 2015

"I Can Hear the Grass Grow" by The Move

I am guessing the only Americans who have ever heard of The Move are fans of classic rock, Anglophiles, and music historians, and even then many of them may only know of The Move as the band that would give rise to the Electric Light Orchestra. While they may not be particularly well known in the United States, The Move were one of the most influential bands of the Sixties.

The Move grew out of three different bands: Carl Wayne & the Vikings, The Nightriders, and The Mayfair Set. They were one of two bands to emerge out of the Birmingham Mod scene in the mid-Sixties, the other being The Spencer Davis Group. The Move's very first single, "Night of Fear" would be a hit, going all the way to #2 on the UK singles chart. It would be followed by six more top ten hits, with their single "Blackberry Way" going all the way to #1. Over time the line up of The Move would change dramatically, with guitarist Ron Wood and drummer Bev Bevan being the two constants. It would be Ron Wood, Jeff Lynne (who joined in 1969), and Bev Bevan who would form the Electric Light Orchestra.

Even beyond giving way to the Electric Light Orchestra, The Move would have a lasting influence. In the United Kingdom The Move influenced such Mod Revival bands as The Jam, The Records, and The Moment. Even in the United States, where The Move saw very little success, they would have a lasting impact. The quintessential American power pop band Cheap Trick covered no less than three songs originated by The Move: "California Man", "Brontosaurus", and "Down On the Bay".

For those unfamiliar with The Move, here is what I consider their best song, "I Can Hear the Grass Grow" (which went to #5 on the UK singles chart in 1967).

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