The Move’s third single, first for new label Regal Zonophone and their third Top Ten Hit reaching No.2 in the British charts in 1967. Yes, I bought it and still have it and have a great affection for it not only because it’s a joyous slice of psychedelic Pop but also because it’s on the Regal Zonophone label established in 1932 and reactivated in 1967 with The Move and Procol Harum (that had moved from Deram) as well as other fascinating releases produced by ace producers Denny Cordell and Tony Visconti. The Pop records came in two colours – Flowers In The Rain was on the blue label, later singles such as Blackberry Way and Curly were on the red label. I’m not sure what it is that makes you fall in love with a label, like Virgin or Harvest or Vertigo or perhaps 4AD and more recently Bella Union but I suppose they stand for a genre that means something to you, releasing a certain sound – if it’s on that label I’m going to like it.
This single, famously the first proper song played on Radio One, the new Pop flagship for the BBC, featured Carl Wayne on vocals although it was composed by Roy Wood. Wood later became the dominant vocalist in a band of singers featuring Ace Kefford on bass and vocals and Trevor Burton on guitar and vocals – lets not forget Bev Bevan on drums, later mainstay in ELO and interestingly not in the attached video…bad acid trip the night before perhaps? But in reality these were established musicians not just nutty drug mad freaks.
In later years Carl Wayne joined The Hollies (replacing Allan Clarke). He recorded solo after leaving The Move in early 1970 but seemed most at home on the cabaret circuit as well as taking small acting roles. Cabaret seemed to suit a lot of the sixties bands, The Tremeloes and Herman’s Hermits for example and even the wonderful Colin Blunstone fronting The Zombies might have been comfortably at home on the workingmen’s club circuit playing sixties hits and other classic cabaret covers. Roy Wood of course became successful with Wizzard but was always comfortably weird and dropped out of sight as a force in popular music as the eighties arrived – such a shame when you listen back to the incredible songs that he wrote.
To get back to Flowers In the Rain, there have been Radio shows about it and much discussion about the Harold Wilson libel controversy. This from Wikipedia:
“The promotional campaign for “Flowers in the Rain” led to litigation that had serious repercussions for Wood and the group. Without consulting the band, Tony Secunda (the band’s manager) produced a cartoon postcard showing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Wilson, in bed with his secretary, Marcia Williams. Wilson sued The Move for libel and the group lost the court case; they had to pay all costs, and all royalties earned by the song, which otherwise would have belonged to Wood as composer, were awarded to charities of Wilson’s choice. The ruling, much to Wood’s chagrin, remained in force even after Wilson’s death in 1995. For their fourth single, the group had planned to release “Cherry Blossom Clinic”, a lighthearted song about the fantasies of a patient in a mental institution, backed by the satirical “Vote For Me”.
However, The Move had been unnerved by their court experiences; they and the record label felt it unwise to pursue such a potentially controversial idea, so the single was shelved. “Vote For Me” remained un-released until it began to appear on retrospective collections from 1997 onwards, while “Cherry Blossom Clinic” became one of the tracks on their first LP, also called The Move. As a direct consequence of the lawsuit, The Move fired Secunda and hired Don Arden, who had himself recently been fired as manager of the Small Faces. In a 2000 interview, Wayne noted that there had always been a major split within the group about Secunda’s tactics: “[Secunda] had the circus animals who would do what he wanted to do in Trevor, Ace, and me — the fiery part of the stage act. I think Roy would obviously qualify this himself, but I believe he was slightly embarrassed by the image and the stunts — but the rest of us weren’t … We were always willing to be Secunda puppets”.
Flowers in The Rain was backed by (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree sung by Wood and a particularly odd song with bizarre lyrics, a kind of folk surrealism. Although Night Of Fear and I Can Hear The Grass Grow, their two Deram singles were non-album tracks, Flowers In The Rain and (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree both appeared on their debut self-titled album.
Sadly Carl Wayne died of cancer in 2004 at the age of 61.
Note that on the You Tube comments there is a post about David Osborne-Dowle he apparently shot the video.