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Carl Wayne 8/2004

Carl Wayne, vocalist for the Move and the HolliesAugust 31, 2004 – Carl Wayne (the Move/The Hollies) was born Colin David Tooley on August 18th 1943 in Winson Green, Birmingham, England. Carl grew up in the Hodge Hill district of Birmingham. Inspired by the American rock’n’roll of Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, he formed The G-Men in the late 1950s, and joined local band The Vikings, where his powerful baritone and pink stage suit helped make them one of the leading rock groups in the Midlands of their time.

In 1963 they followed in the footsteps of the Beatles and other Liverpool bands, by performing in the clubs of Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Nuremberg etc. On returning to Birmingham, in the wake of the Beatles’ success, record companies were keen to sign similar guitar bands. The Vikings went with Pye Records, but all three singles failed to chart.

A major career highlight saw him representing England at the prestigious Golden Orpheus Song Festival in Bulgaria. In front of a live and televised audience of over 20 million, Carl won first prize: “Carl Wayne is the finest ambassador our country has ever had at these proceedings. They cheered and encored him until it seemed impossible anyone else would be allowed on stage.”

In December 1965 he joined The Move, a Brum beat (Birmingham) supergroup drawn from top local bands. They included three members of the Vikings, bass guitarist Chris ‘Ace’ Kefford, drummer Bev Bevan and Wayne himself, alongside Trevor Burton, lead guitarist with Danny King and the Mayfair Set, and Roy Wood, lead guitarist with Mike Sheridan And The Nightriders. They enjoyed three years of top hits with singles such as “Blackberry Way”, “Night of Fear”, “I Can Hear The Grass Grow”, “Flowers In The Rain”, and “Fire Brigade”.

In their early years The Move had a stage act which occasionally saw Carl taking an axe to TV sets, or chain sawing a Cadillac to pieces at The Roundhouse, London during “Fire Brigade”, which resulted in the Soho area being jammed with fire engines, and the group being banned for a while from every theatre venue in the UK. But by the start of 1968, the group began fragmenting as a result of personal and musical differences. Wayne’s increasingly MOR style, and aspirations towards cabaret, were at odds with Wood’s desire to experiment in a more progressive and classical direction, which would lead to the foundation of the Electric Light Orchestra. As Wood not only wrote all the original material, but also assisted Wayne as the group’s lead vocalist from the “Fire Brigade” on, Wayne felt sidelined and left the band shortly after the number 12 hit “Curly” in 1969.

He went solo and made several singles and record albums, some including songs written and produced by Roy Wood. Among his singles were “Way Back in the Fifties”, “Hi Summer” backed with “My Girl And Me”, both written and produced by Lynsey De Paul, the theme song to an ITV variety series he co-hosted, “Maybe God’s Got Something Up His Sleeve”, the John Lennon song “Imagine”, plus a cover version of the Cliff Richard hit “Miss You Nights”, and Wood’s “Aerial Pictures”. He was originally offered the chance to record “Sugar Baby Love” but rejected it as “rubbish”; it was promptly given to a new band, the Rubettes, and it launched their career with a number one hit. As well as “Hi Summer”, his work on TV included singing the theme songs to the talent show New Faces, one of which, “You’re a Star!”, was a minor hit for him in 1973. In 1977, Wayne took part in the Song for Europe contest, hoping to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest. His song, “A Little Give, A Little Take” finished in 11th place out of 12 songs.

Wayne then made a few recordings with the Electric Light Orchestra as guest vocalist, though these remained unreleased, until they appeared as bonus tracks on a remastered re-issue of the group’s second album, ELO 2 in 2003. He never made the charts after leaving the Move, but still enjoyed a steady career in cabaret and on TV, recording versions of songs from the shows of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, as well as voiceovers and jingles. He sang backing vocals on Mike Oldfield’s Earth Moving, released in 1989.

He went on to be become a longtime presenter on BBC Radio WM and was also a tireless fund raiser for leukaemia research, and ran several London marathons for charity.

In 2000, on the retirement of lead vocalist Allan Clarke, he joined The Hollies, touring Europe and Australasia with them as well as playing venues all over the United Kingdom. In addition to most of the Hollies’ songs, they also included “Flowers In The Rain” and “Blackberry Way” in their live repertoire. They recorded a new song, “How Do I Survive”, in February 2003, which appeared as the only previously unreleased item on a 46-track compilation CD of the Hollies’ greatest hits later that year.

He played his last concert with the group on 10 July 2004 at Egersund, Norway. Shortly afterwards he was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and he died a few weeks later on August 31, 2004 at the age of 60.

An exceptional stage performer and vocalist, Carl was The Move’s front man and spokesman during their most dynamic and controversial years. Their live shows, while musically thrilling and accomplished, have been remembered for Carl’s frenzied demolitions of televisions, instruments and stages with an axe, chain-sawing a Cadillac to pieces at London’s famous Roundhouse during Fire Brigade, resulting in Soho being jammed with fire engines. So shocking and fiery were The Move live, that, for a while, the group were banned from every theatre venue in the UK. They even threatened Harold Wilson’s 1960’s English Labour government with the furore surrounding Flowers In The Rain’s promotional campaign. Away from the controversy and violence, The Move scored top ten success in the UK and European charts with Roy Wood’s classic songs and performed with The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, The Pink Floyd and many more. Shazam, Carl’s final album with The Move, was described as “a masterpiece” by Rolling Stone magazine and contained one of his finest vocal performances on the Wood-penned Beautiful Daughter.  

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