A Limey and a Yankee tell their personal early-'70s stories from across the pond, digging the former ELO founder who made incredible rock sides, many going unheard in the States!
Growing up, I had ELO on the record player non stop! Here’s why...there’s this chintzy amusement park in southern Maine. They opened a ride in 1976 called « The Astrosphere » -a ride that exceeds all amusement park expectations and is still in operation today! It’s a scrambler inside a huge dome where psychedelic imagery and zombies are projected. They still use ELO’s « Fire on High » and have every since the ride open. It was mind blowing and I do hope Jeff Lynn or members of any other iteration of ELO have the opportunity to ride it! That said, I need to now slide along the ELO continuum and mine the vaults of The Move and Roy Wood!
Nice piece, Brad and Ian. I generally prefer the Move to most of the stuff Roy did afterwards, but he’s unquestionably a genius. And Boulders remains a woefully under appreciated album - every time I see a vinyl copy in the bin for $5 I want to buy it just so I can give it away to someone who might dig it!
The Move, Mike Sheridan, ELO, and Wizzard have not left my rotation since 1973. “Eddie and the Falcons” , to me, showcased Roy Wood’s talent greater than any other release of his. When they split into ELO and Wizzard, I felt that Wizzard got the smart end of the talent pool. I listened to both groups but creativity came from RW and not Jeff Lynne. Jeff Lynne could spot a Top 40 song a continent away but it was RW who could blend Zappa into the Beach Boys and get away with it.
You mentioned Mott the Hoople and as much as I love Ian Hunter, I loved early Mott in real-time as they didn’t have the glam but gutted it out with innovative arrangements and slick guitar work. Heck, Mick Ralphs went onto form Bad Company while penning some good tunes. When Ralphs left Mott the Hoople Ariel Bender took over lead guitar. It took me some time to figure out that Bender’s real name was Luther Grosvenor who I had been listening to as he was doing great work with Spooky Tooth. As with most AKAs it was probably label issues that made him change his name.
It’s good to see others recognize Roy Wood, truly a genius in the vein like Brian Wilson and Kevin Ayers.
Finally getting round to reading this. Fantastic work. I can understand why, if you were into the glam/punk/whatever (as you said) scene, and at the same time, you were so drawn (as we know, or at least, as I knew) to the "British invasion" sounds (for lack of a better expression), then of course this (all of this) made perfect sense. What puzzles me (but in the best possible way) is the beautiful "discrepancy" between what you would expect to hear (I mean, some of those costumes... and the make up!) and the sounds that actually came out. It's difficult to reconcile the sound and the image, and I love that, because it defies so many preconceptions, boundaries, genres and styles! Thanks once again for making me discover new (to me) music and learn!
Fun piece! It was essentially all new info for me. I sadly did not follow, Roy Wood, The Move, or Wizzard (but to make up for it, I listen to King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard all the time).
And Brad - how dare you besmirch the names of Hell and Ready and Toni Tony Tone Orlando and Don, when you knew damn well that Roy Wood was heavily influenced by Neil Sedaka! I am calling the hypocrite police!
Nice work between you and Ian! I don’t know a lot (or shall I say very little) about Roy Wood (I’m such a bad Brit lol), but here to say Top of the Pops rocks, and you guys rock too!