The Move “Shazam”


The Move are more of a household name in the UK, unlike in the US where most folks have never even heard of the Move or Roy Wood. Shazam is a prog rock/power pop tour de force that skyrockets to 11 from the opening lick and teeters at (and nearly over) the top throughout; you can hear a theatricality in Shazam that would hint at the band The Move would become, ELO.

This record comes off as a blueprint for heavy metal, glam rock, hair rock and all its derivatives (I can picture Jack Black singing these tunes), and as it was released in 1970, it most likely was used as such, though the album is definably progressive rock. The magic is in the album’s transitory sound: it’s probably one of the heaviest albums that still retains the glimmer and style of the 60s.

Hello Susie busts it open like a Yes climax, right off the bat, and lead vocalist Carl Wayne sets the tone with his gnarly shout. Beautiful Daughter is probably my favorite track from this set, with it’s clever phrasing and chamber orchestra. Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited is the real eye opener, it always catches my attention when this album plays. If you can’t make it past the first few minutes (this album is NOT for everyone) just wait until the middle where there’s an excellent prog reworking of Bach’s Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and other classical melodies (can’t quite peg them, anybody know?). The 2nd side of the album consists of three cover songs, with The Last Thing On My Mind sounding surprisingly byrdsian.

Shazam was considered a snapshot of the eccentric Move’s live act. You can allow yourself to judge this one by the cover.

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“Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited”

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  • Michial

    One of the interludes is “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Not sure who composed it.

  • Brendan

    that’s by Grieg but I’m not sure I recognize the melody in here

  • Hazy Dave

    If I remember correctly, in addition to the guitar and vocal attacks on Bach, there’s a bass-heavy bit from Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (well known from Disney’s ‘Fantasia’) and some of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’ – the “Chinese Dance” section, I believe (also in ‘Fantasia’!).

    Listening… Go to 4:13 for Dukas, and 5:37 for Tchaikovsky. The rest of it that isn’t Bach just seems to be Cherry Blossom Clinic riffing. “Just,” he says. Great tune on an amazing album.

    The production deserves kudos, too – heavy but crisp, perhaps unmatched until “Who’s Next” the following year. “Distortion becomes somehow pure in its wildness…”

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