Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Move Get Sued !

THE MOVE-Flowers In The Rain/(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree Portugal Stateside PSS 1001 1967


















I don't think any band other than The Move can go down in history for being sued by a Prime Minister for libel.  In August 1967 the band's manager Tony Secunda (unbeknownst to any of The Move) printed up promo postcards for distribution to promote their new single "Flowers In the Rain" featuring a cartoon of then Prime Minister Harold Wilson in his bathtub with his personal secretary Marcia Williams (now herself a politician)taking dictation next to him, NOT Wilson in bed with Williams as Wikipedia and other sites are quick to mention (I saw the actual postcard or a clever knock off at a record show once, it was online for awhile too till , obviously, someone made them take it down).  Wilson of course, was not amused.  He sued The Move for libel and won.  In October, 11, 1967 the High Court upheld the suit and designated that all royalties accrued from the song would go to charities of Wilson's choice.  To this day song writer Roy Wood does not see a penny from the song, which has gone on to be used in TV commercials and ranks, allegedly, as one of the band's greatest selling singles of all time.  It also holds the distinction of being the first pop song ever played on the BBC's Radio One's , by DJ Tony Blackburn (after of course George Martin's brilliant orchestrally lysergic "Theme One").  Radio One was the Beeb's new more rock n' roll friendly format created in response to the defeat of pirate radio.  The incident led to a management rethink and the band parted ways with Secunda (briefly winding up under the evil Don Arden!). Today's 45 rpm specimen comes from Portugal.

"Flowers in The Rain" marks a departure for The Move from their harder edged five piece power pop/mod sound of their first two singles on Deram which you can read about here:

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2009/08/move-debut.html

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2010/07/move-part-two.html

"Flower In The Rain" benefits from some brilliant pop psych orchestration scored by a young American named Tony Visconti who'd just come under the wing of the band's producer Denny Cordell, who took them along with him to the label Regal Zonophone (previously only the home to "Christian" rock n roll like The Joy Strings et al).  It also marks their debut in the genre of carefully orchestrated, well crafted psychedelic pop that would lead to other famous tracks like "Blackberry Way".  Like most good Move singles lead singer Carl Wayne shares the vocals, with lead guitarist Roy Wood taking the chorus. The flip side, "(Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree" is in the same vein orchestration wise, a bit too twee for me I'm afraid, I prefer the version cut by their Brummie pals The Idle Race for a U.S. only release.  You can read about that here:

http://anorakthing.blogspot.com/2011/05/us-only-uk-pop-sike-pressings-part-ii.html

Roy Wood takes the lead vocals on this track but the melody is just too saccharine for my ears.  I was never a huge fan of this track and I'm afraid time has done little to change that!
The band in Secunda's office at the time of the lawsuit, pic courtest of Getty Images.






















Both sides can be found on a variety of Move CD's, we recommend the double CD deluxe edition of their untitled debut 1967 LP or the equally cool 4 CD box set "Anthology 1966-1972". The band found time to dodge being followed by MI 5 (as their members allege during the Harold Wilson incident) to make a promo film for the track which you can view below:



A few other issues of the 45:

Rare South African 45 P.S.


German 45 P.S.


French 45 P.S.

Belgian 45 P.S.


Spanish 45 P.S.


U.S. pressing

U.K. pressing

TRIVIA NOTE:
If you were friends with me in the 90's you probably received a U.S. copy of this single from me along with a U.S. pressing of "Fire Brigade" as I literally bought a dozen copies of each at the Princeton Record Exchange for 50 cents a copy (along with equally as many U.S. copies of Prince Buster's "The 10 Commandments" on Phillips and U.K copies of Roy C's "Shotgun Wedding" on U.K., all at the same price)!

4 comments:

A Dandy in Aspic said...

I've read somewhere that the postcard was entirely Secunda's initiative and the band only found out about it after it came out. I don't know whether it's true or not, but still the court's verdict seems really harsh. Apparently the subsequent financial problems had prompted split up of The Move...

I actually always preferred "Lemon Tree", I don't think it's more twee than "Flowers In the Rain". Both songs are great, it should have been a double A-side. It was one of the best British psych-pop singles.

Tarkus said...

Great post! Love the Move.

bobster said...

Johnnie Walker thinks that playing Flowers In The Rain first on Radio 1 was a deliberate attempt to say that all the Hippie nonsense was over, i.e. Flowers IN THE RAIN Certainly Tony Blackburn was anti anything to do with psychedelia.

bobster said...

Johnnie Walker thinks that playing Flowers In The Rain first on Radio 1 was a deliberate attempt to say that all the Hippie nonsense was over, i.e. Flowers IN THE RAIN Certainly Tony Blackburn was anti anything to do with psychedelia.