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Roy Adrian Wood (8 November 1946, Kitts Greenmarker, Birminghammarker) is an English singer-songwriter and musician. He was particularly successful in the 1960s and 1970s as member and co-founder of the band The Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Wizzard. As a songwriter, he contributed a number of hits to the repertoire of these bands.

Career

Wood's first group in Birmingham in the early 1960s was The Falcons, which he left in 1963 to join Gerry Levene and the Avengers. He then moved to Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders (the band later became The Idle Race). During this period, Wood attended the Moseley College of Art, from which he was expelled in 1964.

From this basis, and other Birmingham-based groups, was formed The Move and they quickly entered the UK Singles Chart. Their single, "Night of Fear", climbed to #2 in early 1967. Their third hit, "Flowers in the Rain", helped launch BBC Radio 1 in 1967, and the band evolved over a three year period. After the departure of The Move's lead singer Carl Wayne, Wood's influence became more prominent. In 1967 Wood supplied backing vocals on the track, "You Got Me Floatin'", on The Jimi Hendrix Experience's album, Axis: Bold as Love.

Wood was keen on musical experimentation and was in this respect one of the most progressive musicians of his time, taking the 'pop group' into new areas. He was an early proponent of combining rock and roll and pop music with other styles, such as classical music, or the big band sound, and introduced classically-styled string and brass sections into the pop record.

When The Move was still on tour, he founded, together with his band colleagues Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), which was later to gain major commercial success. The original intention was to continue with both The Move and ELO, but the former soon ceased to exist.

ELO's early live performances were chaotic, and after increasing tensions, Wood left in July 1972 and formed a new group, Wizzard, which assembled cellists, brass players and a bigger rhythm section, with several drummers and percussionists. Wood emulated the wall of sound production style of Phil Spector whilst successfully, and affectionately, pastiching the rock and roll style of the early 1960s. Meanwhile, he released several solo albums, exploring further musical directions. His 1973 album, Boulders, was an almost entirely solo effort, right down to the sleeve artwork, with Wood playing a wide variety of musical instruments. A second solo album Mustard (1975), including contributions by Phil Everly and Annie Haslam, was less successful.

Wood was mentioned as singer as well as player of guitars, bass guitar, sitar, cello, double bass, saxophones, clarinet, trombone, tuba, recorders, oboe, French horn, banjo, mandolin, bassoon, drums, percussion, vibraphone, bagpipes and keyboard.

Earlier, in July 1972, Wood played bass guitar on all the tracks for Bo Diddley's Chess Records album The London Bo Diddley Sessions.

By the late 1970s, Wood was appearing less in public; commercial success faded away, and his musical experiments did not always match popular taste, but he remained productive in the studio as musician, producer and songwriter. He was a fan of Elvis Presley, but never succeeded in getting him to adopt one of his compositions. However, he was untiring as a producer for other acts, most successfully doo-wop revivalists Darts. In 1976, Wood recorded The Beatles songs "Lovely Rita" and "Polythene Pam" for the ill-fated musical documentary, All This and World War II.

In 1977 he formed the Wizzo Band, a jazz-rock ensemble, whose only live performance was a BBC simultaneous television and radio broadcast in stereo. The Wizzo Band split early the following year after cancelling a nationwide tour.

In the early 1980s Wood released a few singles under his own name and also as Roy Wood's Helicopters, and played some live dates under this name. The release of one of these singles, "Aerial Pictures", backed with "Airborne", was cancelled owing to the lack of chart success for its predecessors, but both sides appeared for the first time in 2006 on a compilation CD, Roy Wood - The Wizzard!. "Aerial Pictures", using the original backing track, subsequently became a solo single for former Move vocalist, Carl Wayne.

Wood also made a one-off rock and roll medley single with Phil Lynott, Chas Hodges and John Coghlan, credited to The Rockers, "We Are The Boys" (1983), and played a leading role in the Birmingham Heart Beat Charity Concert 1986, on 15 March 1986, which was later televised in part by the BBC. As well as designing the logo, Wood performed in a line-up which also included the Electric Light Orchestra and the Moody Blues.

After a period away from the limelight, following the release of the album Starting Up (1987), a cover version of the Len Barry hit "1-2-3", and a guest vocal appearance on one track on Rick Wakeman's The Time Machine, he went on the road with 'Roy Wood's Army'. He also recorded two tracks with Lynne around this time ("If You Can't Get What You Want" and "Me and You"), which were never released.

Collectively, hit records by The Move, Electric Light Orchestra, Wizzard, and Wood's own solo singles demonstrated an impressive chart run for an individual, both as composer and performer. Altogether he had more than 20 singles in the UK Singles Chart under various guises, including three UK #1 hits. His most regularly broadcasted song is the seasonal Wizzard single "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday". In 1995 he released a new live version as the 'Roy Wood Big Band', which charted at #59, and in 2000 he joined forces with Mike Batt and The Wombles, for a re-working of "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" and of the Wombles' hit "Wombling Merry Christmas", together in one song which reached #22. Over Christmas 2007, Wood appeared in a catalogue advertisement for Argos, where he played the part of a rowdy neighbour playing guitar along to Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday", and the song once again entered the UK Singles Chart.

Wood was awarded an honorary doctorate for his contribution to music by the University of Derbymarker on the 18 January 2008.

Most recently, he has formed the Roy Wood Rock & Roll Band for occasional live dates and television performances in the UK. They were confirmed as the support act for Status Quo at several UK dates in November and December 2009.

Discography

Albums



Solo singles

  • "When Gran'ma Plays the Banjo" (1972)
  • "Dear Elaine" (1973) - UK #18
  • "Forever" (1973) - UK #8
  • "Goin' Down the Road" (1974) - UK #13
  • "Oh What a Shame" (1975) - UK #13
  • "Look Thru' the Eyes of a Fool" (1975)
  • "Any Old Time Will Do" (1976)
  • "Keep Your Hands on the Wheel" (1978)
  • "(We're) On the Road Again" (1979)
  • "Rock City" - Helicopters (1980)
  • "Sing Out the Old — Bring In the New" (1980)
  • "Green Glass Windows" - Roy Wood's Helicopters (1981)
  • "Down to Zero" (1981)
  • "It's Not Easy" (1982)
  • "O.T.T." (1982)
  • "We are the Boys (Who Make All the Noise)" - The Rockers (1983)
  • "Under Fire" (1985)
  • "Sing Out the Old — Bring In the New" - new recording (1985)
  • "Raining in the City" (1986)
  • "1-2-3" (1987)


Collaboration singles



Songs recorded and released by other artists



All the above titles recorded by Carl Wayne were as a solo artist, after he left The Move in 1969.

Chronological album discography

For the complete Move discography see The Move Discography

For the complete ELO discography see Electric Light Orchestra discography

For the complete Wizzard discography see Wizzard Discography



References

  1. IMDb.com - accessed October 2009
  2. Derby.ac.uk - accessed October 2009
  3. Trentfmarenanottingham.com - accessed October 2009


External links




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