the daily telegraph, 3rd september 2004

Carl Wayne, who died on Tuesday aged 61, was the singer with the Move, whose Flowers in the Rain was the first song played on Radio 1.

The Move had been formed in Birmingham in 1965 and its original members were drawn from a number of other groups from the city, including the Vikings, the Nightriders and the Mayfair Set. Wayne, the drummer Bev Bevan (who was later to set up the Electric Light Orchestra), Trevor Burton, Ace Kefford, and Roy Wood (later of Wizzard) banded together to form the Move's initial line-up.

Under the guidance of their manager Tony Secunda, who had been impressed by the popularity of the Beatles and the Mersey groups and was determined to emulate their success with bands from the Midlands, they abandoned their covers of soul songs, moved to London and signed to Deram, a subsidiary of Decca. They rapidly became one of the most industrious bands on the live circuit where, in emulation of the Rolling Stones' reputation for bad behaviour, they regularly destroyed television sets and cars on stage. They demonstrated their politics by burning effigies of Hitler, Ian Smith and Dr Verwoerd.

Their first hit, Night of Fear, which reached number 2 at the beginning of 1967, was promoted by a violent gig at the Marquee which generated headlines; it was quickly followed by the upbeat psychedelic ditty I Can Hear the Grass Grow, which reached number 5 in April. But Secunda's mania for publicity landed the band in hot water later that year, when he decided to promote Flowers in the Rain with a cartoon of the prime minister, Harold Wilson, naked in the bath. Wilson sued, and was represented by Quintin Hogg, QC, who secured an apology and the diversion of the royalties from the record to charity.

Wayne enjoyed the band's period in the spotlight, appearing - stripped to the waist - on the cover of Rave magazine to explain why he preferred older women ("you soon get bored with a face . . . I want a woman who knows her own mind, so when you ask her where she would like to go when you go out, she can suggest a place"). Further hits followed in 1968, with Fire Brigade, which made the top three, and Blackberry Way, the group's only No 1 single. But towards the end of 1969, Wayne became disenchanted with pop, reckoning that cabaret was the future. But the group's sally in that direction (with Curly in 1969) led to friction in the ranks, and he left the band in 1970.

Carl Wayne was born in Birmingham on August 18 1943, and became interested in music during his teenage years, becoming a fan of Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Eddy Cochran and Gene Vincent. He played music at school and eventually joined the Vikings, a local band, in 1960. Although the group already had a singer, Wayne soon displaced him and, as Carl Wayne and the Vikings, they released several singles, beginning with What's the Matter, Baby? before disbanding.

But after he had left the Move, Wayne's solo career floundered. Record Mirror hailed the quality of his demo material in 1970, but his first solo single, Maybe God's Got Something Up His Sleeve, was as good as its title. Annie Nightingale ventured the opinion that it had been recorded as a joke. His solo album, with backing vocals by Dusty Springfield, was released in Japan 30 years later, where some people liked it. Polydor declined to release his second solo album.

Wayne nonetheless soldiered on, appearing in a string of musicals and persisting with singles, none of which troubled the charts; though Love Your Dog (A Dog is for Life) derived some support by being taken from the children's television programme Barney. He continued to make appearances in the papers after his marriage, in 1974, to the actress Susan Hanson, who played Miss Diane, the waitress in Crossroads.

He maintained a regular presence on stage, making it to the West End in 1976, when he appeared in Emu in Pantoland, with Rod Hull and Irene Handel; a stint as the lead in Sinbad the Sailor, a panto at the Empire Theatre, Sunderland, in 1980, had a less happy conclusion, when Wayne - "in a moment of complete and utter madness", as his solicitor put it - stole a cut-glass decanter worth 49.50. He had wanted to present it as a prize in a competition organised by the cast of the show. He was fined 50 by Sunderland magistrates.

In the 1990s, he played the narrator in Willy Russell's hit musical Blood Brothers for six years, and featured on around a dozen albums of songs from the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. In 2000, he joined a revived version of the 1960s group The Hollies, with whom he toured regularly.

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