THE CARL WAYNE INTERVIEW
By Martin Kinch
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio - September 1992
The 25th anniversary of BBC Radio 1 - "Flowers in the rain" by The Move was the first record to be played
Martin Kinch: First of all Carl, thanks for giving up some of your spare time.
Carl Wayne: Pleasure.
MK: And did you know it was ten years since the last interview you did for Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio?
CW: Cor blimey, is it really? Ten years?
CW: That's right, in Twickenham. You came down mob-handed, I remember.
MK: There was about six or seven of us, wasn't there?
CW: That's right.
MK: And it's 25 years since "Flowers in the Rain" was first heard on the BBC's new pop station Radio 1. What do you think about that now, looking back?
CW: It was a great thrill at the time, to be the first record on Radio 1, and of course it's been wonderful in one way, in as much as it reminds people of who the Move were. It's been sad in another way because being the most played of the Move's hits it should generate the most income, but unfortunately because of the publicity stunt which surrounded it regarding Harold Wilson, we don't get any money from it. But it's always nice to hear it.
MK: All the royalties were sent to charity, weren't they?
CW: They were indeed, yes, and still are.
MK: Did you know it was going to be the first record on the radio station?
CW: No, I hadn't got a clue. I don't think anybody had.
MK: OK, let's have a listen to those first few historical moments on BBC Radio 1, 30th September 1967.
MK: There they go then, The Move, fading away there. "Flowers in the Rain", the very first record played on the new BBC Radio 1, and not only famous for being the first record played on that station, but managed to get a lot of publicity for the other reason we've just spoken about. What was the actual publicity stunt that was pulled?
CW: It was actually rather tragic that we should have lost so much money on it, because it was a publicity stunt over which we had no control. There were certain salacious stories, rumours about the then Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and our manager commissioned an artist to draw up a postcard based upon those stories which he then circulated to the press. The result was that Mr Wilson, Lord Wilson as he now is, obtained what they call an interlocutory injunction which then became a full injunction to stop us ever talking about it or releasing it or sending any more. We were sued for libel and lost not only the costs of the case plus a fine, but all the royalties to this day. As we speak, it's funny that you should mention it, because I am just now approaching Lord Wilson and his solicitors to see if that order can now be stopped and if the money could be returned to us, as I think that 25 years is a severe enough penalty for anything.
MK: OK, good luck with that. 1967 must have been a really exciting year for you, have you got really fond memories of that year?
CW: Yes, I think 1966 and '67 were great years, certainly '67 because of the hits and the strength of those hits. When you've worked in the business for what seems an eternity, even at the time we were very young men, we'd been in the business for a long time, struggling round the various pubs and clubs. It's just a wonderful feeling that you can't explain, to have a hit record. Something that I'll never forget, it really is.
MK: So the Move were formed about 1966?
CW: We were formed in '66, yes, it was the brainchild of the younger members of four different groups in Birmingham who were playing in clubs and cabaret at that time. Danny King and the Mayfair Set, which had Trevor Burton in it, Mike Sheridan and the Nightriders, which had Roy Wood in it and Carl Wayne and the Vikings which had me, Bev and Ace Kefford in it. All the young guys got together and discussed forming a band with a different view to the music they played. We were doing cover versions and hits like a club band, a function band. Ultimately, they needed somebody to get them work, and they needed a singer. There were two choices, either me or a chap named Danny King. Danny was one of the finest singers I've ever heard. He was certainly a far better singer than me, but he didn't really have the motivation that I had. So they asked me if I'd do it as a dual-purpose role, really, a - to sing and b - to get them work. That's where it started.
MK: You mentioned Carl Wayne and the Vikings. I've actually been down into the dungeons of the hospital and we're going to play a track called "What's The Matter Baby" do you like that track?
CW: Yes, it's a great song, Timi Yuro did the original which you failed to mention. I did an absolutely horrendous job of this great song, ruined it. But, (laughs) thank you Martin.
CW: I can, yes. I don't know if I remember the titles, but the Move's first recordings were in a studio owned by a chap named John Haines in Birmingham. It was opposite a curry house and it was in this little recording studio and there were four tracks I think we did which were very representative of what Roy was going to write later. Then we did some tracks with Cyril Stapleton at Pye studios in London. Then it was off to the serious stuff.
MK: What about the smashing of TVs and guitars on stage? Whose idea was that?
CW: We had a manager named Anthony Secunda, Tony Secunda, who'd also managed the Moody Blues at one time, and he just felt that any publicity you got was important, whether it was bad or good! There was no such thing as bad publicity. So he wanted an image for the group; instead of being a pleasant image like the Tremeloes, Marmalade etc, he wanted us to have more of a Rolling Stones image. So, it was his idea that we would smash up the one-eyed monster, the television.
MK: Did you enjoy doing that sort of thing, because you seem like a reasonably placid sort of chap to me.
CW: I quite enjoyed it, it was good. At the end of a show it was a great release of energy. I look back at it now and I shiver thinking how dangerous it was to the public in general, to use a big woodcutters axe to smash up not only one but maybe half a dozen televisions with all the glass flying around. I'm amazed that we got away with it.
MK: So how many singles did you record with the Move, can you remember?
CW: Singles, yes: Night of Fear, which I sang, I Can Hear The Grass Grow, which I sang, in fact several of us sang Night Of Fear, Ace sang a part of it and so did Roy. Flowers in the Rain, Fire Brigade, which Roy sang, Curly, Blackberry Way and Wild Tiger Woman.
MK: And most of those were hits. I think you had six hits with the Move.
CW: They were all hits, but only one of them didn't reach the Top 20 and that was "Wild Tiger Woman" My mother told me it wouldn't, "I don't like this", she said, and she was right.
MK: You released a live EP as well, recorded at the Marquee.
CW: We did, yes, a live one that you re-record later in secrecy.
MK: Was the whole concert recorded, do you think?
CW: Well, generally as with most live stuff, although the quality of live recording these days is different because you have things like Fleetwood Mac's Mobile which has got 48 tracks so you can take it away. But generally, what you are sold as a live record is not really a live record, it's always titivated after the event.
MK: It wasn't in those days, was it?
CW: No - we went into the Marquee studios and titivated it.
MK: It's a good word, that!
CW: It is isn't it.
CW: My favourite Move single is one I'm not on, it's called Chinatown, which is one of the ones they did after I left. I've always liked all the Move songs; although he'd never realise it, I've always been Roy Wood's greatest fan. I knew him from when he was a very young lad, and I've always been a great admirer of his.
MK: You did package tours with people like Jimi Hendrix, that must have been really exciting?
CW: It was in lots of ways. Youth is very exciting, it's very flippant. At the time you're having a wonderful time. I don't know, I think that very often one can look back at part of one's life and say "That was a great time, it must have been wonderful". I think when you were actually doing it it was more hard work than anything. I think playing with the Move for all of us was never the greatest thing because with hindsight I don't think any of us were that happy or that settled or comfortable with what we were doing. Which is probably why the Move broke up.
MK: So when do you think the Move were at their best?
CW: I think the Move were at their best before they ever made a record.
CW: Oh yes, that was the idea. You had five young, energetic guys, each with their own ego, each with their own strengths giving this enormous energy. I think once the first person left, Ace Kefford, it started to go down the tubes.
MK: Is it true that Hank Marvin was asked to join the band?
CW: Publicity stunt.
MK: Was it?
CW: Yep. Absolutely.
MK: And he refused to join, did he?
CW: He did, he was asked to join to revive what we considered to be a fading group.
MK: So why did you leave the Move then Carl; did you fall or were you pushed?
CW: Basically pushed. Roy always wanted to do ELO, he had that in his mind from the time we did Fire Brigade, and I kept saying "Roy we've worked hard enough to get the Move going, let's worry about that later on". Eventually Trevor left after Ace. Then at one stage Roy announced they were going to do ELO and it was basically made clear there was no point for me, so after threatening to sack the other three members I realised I had nowhere to go, so I left.
MK: Did you have any regrets about that?
CW: All my life. It was a great time; I was never a writer, and if I could have chosen to work with somebody in my career all the time it would have been Roy, a good writer.
MK: So the Move eventually split up into ELO and then Wizzard, what did you think of those two offshoots?
CW: I didn't think that much of Wizzard, I thought it was a great commercial band, at that time in the same vein as people like Mud and Gary Glitter. ELO I thought were brilliant. Funnily enough, I think ELO Part II are just as good. But Jeff Lynne had a very special kind of magic, if you'll excuse the pun.
MK: So what did you go and do then, cabaret and things like that?
CW: Yes, I went back into that and became what I always was before I joined the Move, which was a jobbing singer earning a living. I couldn't write songs, there was no band for me to join. I had to go out and get work, so that's what I did. I worked for many, many years in cabaret, did a lot of television work, series. Eventually in 1975 I went into the commercials business singing radio and TV commercials.
MK: Well we're going to have a listen to some of the most famous ones, OK ?
CW: Yea good.
MK: OK Carl. We've just heard some of your most famous jingles. While they've been playing you've been on and done the first half of the show you're in at the moment called "Blood Brothers". We'll come back to that in a minute, but we're basically in the '70s and the '80s and while Roy had gone off with Wizzard and Jeff with ELO, you were doing commercials like that. One of the top jingle singers, I believe.
CW: So they tell me. I was very lucky, I got in about 1975 and a friend of mine suggested that I do them, a chap named Tony Macaulay who wrote about 70 hit records for people like David Soul and The Drifters, and it seemed, to be very honest, something I was very suited for, I could use my ability to mimic within the jingles. When they wanted somebody to sound like Sinatra or Louis Armstrong or Elvis Presley I was able to give them a reasonable interpretation. I found it, in absolute honesty, the most enjoyable part of the business, even as enjoyable as being in a rock band. It's great, you work at a very high level with some great people, you get well paid, you get paid quite promptly, and it's a very happy medium. You go in for an hour, sometimes an hour and a half, two hours, you always have a laugh, good people, and I've enjoyed it.
MK: What do you think are the most famous ones you've done?
CW: I suppose the most famous one that people would remember was Caledonian girls which was British Caledonian to The Beach Boys track California Girls. I've done over the years literally hundreds and hundreds. Things like Tetley Tea, Maxwell House, Kelloggs, everything.
MK: And did you do "Try a taste of Martini" and all that?
CW: I did that one yes. It was my first one, actually that I did and I flunked that one! I think in those days I had a very, very deep broad Birmingham accent and I think it was sort of (sings in thick Brummie accent "Try a taste of Martini" It was my first one I tried with the chap who wrote it. In fact, incidentally, the chap who wrote the jingle for Martini is the same chap who writes the music for Poirot, Chris Gunning.
MK: And as well as all this, you were also recording solo singles.
CW: I did, I made some pretty poor singles, in fairness. It's always very easy to look back and say "one should have done this" I think one should avoid the word "should" and use the word "could". But after I left The Move people often wonder why I went into light entertainment and into this kind of balladeering type thing. It's just that when you look back, at the time I left the Move the biggest people in the business were Englebert Humperdink and Tom Jones. It seemed the natural thing to do, to go that way to Vegas to become the big lounge star.
One of the records your listeners would probably remember was "You're a Star" which was the theme to "New Faces" which I sang for five years.
CW: I've been lucky; I've done a lot of television. My first series was with Terry Wogan back in 1972ish called "Lunchtime with Wogan" That lasted over a year. I've since done a mini-series with Rod who remains a very close and good friend called "Emu's World" I've done many live shows with him, pantomimes, worked many times with Jim Davidson on the Jim Davidson show, in pantomimes and summer seasons. I worked with the late and great Benny Hill, did two or three shows with him. I did a series called "Ask No Questions" for Yorkshire television, I did "Hi Summer" with Leslie Crowther. I've been very, very lucky, I've had a lot of television work - "Wogan", "Wednesday at 8", Pebble Mill at one, all sorts of things.
MK: And back in the early '80s you teamed up with Roy Wood again and released a couple of singles on Jet Records, didn't you?
CW: Yes, I did a couple of good singles actually, one was one of Roy's songs and the other was a song from a band called Stoneground in America, it was called "Deeper than Love". Unfortunately the release of those was held up because of contractual problems between the record company and various other people, and they were delayed by a couple of years. I think they suffered from that delay. Otherwise, I might have had a hit with one of them.
MK: OK, we'll play one of the tracks you're talking about, "Aerial Pictures" which was written and produced by Roy Wood.
CW: It was, Roy and I did that together at the old Dick James music studio which is in fact not 200 yards down the road from where we sit.
MK: You've made no secret that you'd like to work with Roy again. Is there any chance of that, do you think?
CW: No, in a word. I've always had a great affinity and feeling for Roy Wood. His mother and my mother were great friends when we were children. I've always liked his stuff and I've always felt he was one of these people in life who were great creators, but probably needed somebody alongside them in order to push them through the business. Roy, as we all know, it's a well known fact is a wonderful talent, but he's not particularly well motivated in the business sense. It's very sad because a man with his talent should have been an enormously successful chap.
MK: And do you see any of the other ex-Move members at all?
CW: I do yes, I'm probably the only one in The Move that speaks to all the others in a strange way, which is funny, I went and had a drink with Ace Kefford a few years back, and I'd quite like to see him again, I always quite liked Ace, I felt very sorry for him, he came from a difficult background, difficult upbringing. It made him the way he was which was kind of a paranoid neurotic. Trevor, I spoke to quite recently, I like Trevor, I think he's very, very good, good singer, good player. Bev and I speak regularly, in fact we're about to do some work together. Roy and I very often speak, I phone him up, I'm trying to sort out the "Flowers in the Rain" situation at the moment for all of us, me, Roy and Bev. I went up and stayed with him recently and I'm going up again soon.
MK: You've certainly had your fingers in many different pies. Recently you've been featured on an album of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs.
CW: Yes, I'm rather a mercenary devil, which always seems strange when you're in show-business, people think that you should have a goal in show-business and go for it and that really earning a living is a secondary thought. But I've never looked at it that way. I have a lovely wife and a great son, and I feel I have to earn a living. So I go and do what people pay me to do. Hence I'm here in "Blood Brothers" at the moment, which is a wonderful show in the West End, Willy Russell piece. I was asked to do an Andrew Lloyd Webber album and ironically it's sold more than any Move record, would you believe. We're just approaching about 100,000 CD sales on that one now.
MK: Well, listen Carl, it's been great for you to give us a bit of your time. And you've got us a bit of an exclusive here at Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio haven't you?
CW: Oh yes, this is a new version of "Flowers in the rain" which I recorded about 3 or 4 years ago with a friend of mine, Craig Pruess . We really wanted to re-record all the Move stuff which we may get round to doing, but this was the first stab and we brought "Flowers in the Rain" sort of into the 1990s; exactly the same as the original, but made it harder and tighter I think. So I hope they like it. I'd also like to come to Stoke Mandeville one day, I'm a great admirer of the work you do. I'm also a great admirer of Jimmy Saville and the work he does. You might like to invite me sometime, I'd love to come.
MK: I'd love to invite you, and many thanks for letting us play the new version of "Flowers in the Rain" We're going to play that now, the first time it's ever been heard on any radio station.
CW: I believe so, it was heard on The Wogan TV show as you know.
MK: Carl, thanks very much indeed
CARL WAYNE 1943 - 2004
A few years after this interview, Carl became the lead singer
with The Hollies and was still touring with them up untill a few weeks before
his death on August 31st 2004 Martin Kinch