It is only fitting that Carl Wayne - one of the greatest vocalists to emerge from the Brumbeat scene - should be featured on BrumBeat.net. It is now more than a decade since the great man passed away and as a special tribute to him, some muso's from the sixties and Bulls Head Bob share their memories of him with us.
to read Bob's own tribute to Carl Wayne, go to www.bullsheadbob.blogspot.com
Charlie and I shared many a stage together, including those Birmingham Town Hall shows. We also shared two managers, John Singer and Don Arden. On hearing of our impending appearance on the TV show Opportunity Knocks, Charlie gave me some advice to have a spectacular gimmick like The Move did when they employed a dwarf to burst out of the bass drum when performing 'Night Of Fear' on TV which certainly made people sit up and notice! That sort of gimmick was far too outrageous for a band like The Starliners so I opted to grow my sideburns ridiculously long and when the presenter of the show, Hughie Green said I looked like a cross between Father Christmas and a werewolf - bingo! I had my trademark image and was recognised wherever I went after that.
The last contact I had with Charlie was many years later when I heard him on a BBC radio programme in Brum and thereafter, we corresponded by e-mail when I returned to South Africa. We hoped to meet up if he ever came to SA... sadly this was not to be. I will always have fond memories of Charlie who was a very likeable and talented artist who I had the greatest respect for.
Copyright © 2007 Johnny Neal
I didn't know Carl Wayne on a personal level but when I first started playing he was already an established front man with Carl Wayne and The Vikings which was a group that people looked up to. When learning the bass guitar I would go and see the group at The Springfield Ballroom and copy some of his bass players riffs. Although the group was playing music that was not of my taste, I could not help but be mesmerized by Carl's massive stage presence and a great voice that impressed everyone.
I next saw him when The Move had first formed and were playing a gig at The Silver Blades Ice rink, they had an awesome vocal line up and although each one of them could easily take the lead vocal, Charlie's powerhouse voice shone in the front. If there is a Rock and Roll afterlife, I'm sure that he would have been offered a good job already and will be rockin' away even now...
Copyright © 2007 Danny Gallagher
Charlie, Trevor Burton and Ace (I think?) had tagged along to an Uglys gig which, co-incidentally was on the day of my 20th birthday. After the gig we did our normal race back to the city to hit the Elbow Room for a couple of celebratory drinks. There was much booze flowing in my direction from the muso's and lurverly girls that used to hang out there and as the time for "last orders" approached we found ourselves a booth to sit in for a final drink before heading home to bed. Charlie disappeared off to the bar and returned a couple of minutes later with a CRATE of red wine! We had already consumed a fair amount that night but undeterred and with ten minutes legal drinking time left, we started on the first bottle.
The club emptied within half an hour of closing (2 a.m.) which just left the Move/Uglys gang and the owner Don Carless. He could see that we had a lot more booze to get through and so, rather than ask us to leave, he gave Charlie the keys for the door and went home. We continued ploughing our way through the crate when Charlie suddenly jumped up and went through to the back of the club. He emerged with a soda syphon in each hand and began spraying everyone. We all jumped up and tried to evade him and within minutes it had developed into a full blown soda fight and I stood my ground with another syphon from somewhere! I recall trying to hide underneath the roulette table as Charlie gave me both barrels, there were pools of soda water everywhere!!
The shoot-out was interrupted by the arrival of the 'Boys in Blue' who had been passing the club and had found the door open - they found themselves faced with a bunch of dripping wet, bedraggled muso's, all of us 'off our face' and screaming with laughter. My next recollection was hearing the "tutting" of disapproval from my mother as she stepped over my prone body that had been placed across the doorstep of the front porch, courtesy of Roadies Inc... "It was Charlies fault"
It took me a long time to get over Charlie's passing. Good on you mate!
Copyright © 2007 Will Hammond
Charlie asked me to form a band for his cabaret act some time after he and The Move had parted company. He was singing all the 'standards' at cabaret shows in the North of the country and loving it. He always leaned towards his early roots of being the front man to a backing band and was more than happy singing to the girls in the audience. Rick Price, Keith Smart and Charlie Grima were in the group too. We rehearsed for three months, learning all of Carl's set. One day he walked in and said "Sorry guys the gig's off". There had been a real change on the cabaret scene with dwindling audiences and most of the large clubs like Batley Variety closing down. "I was gobsmacked - three months rehearsal for nothing!" he said. "At the very least you now have a well rehearsed group" - that group became Mongrel (later evolving into Wizzard).
Charlie was a real pro though and loved to be on the front of the stage - centre of attention. Just like the old Vikings days.
Copyright © 2007 Roger Hill
I suppose we first met Carl in 1962, at the Town Hall, Birmingham. The Applejacks did a show with Johnny Neal and The Starliners, Keith Powell and The Valets and Carl Wayne and The Vikings. Charlie amused me by taking every opportunity to look at himself in the mirror!
We, as all groups at that time, were regulars at the Cedar Club and Charlie and our guitarist, Martin Baggott, when in each others company, became an impromptu comedy team. Since then, although our paths have crossed infrequently, I always felt that we had an understanding. Sometimes lads in bands looked upon me as a bit of a freak but I am happy to say that I always felt a certain sense of respect from Charlie (or was it tongue in cheek?). He took me to the Bromford Road house where I met his mother, so I felt like a real friend. I won't mention the time that he let me down with the 'Save Solihull Civic Hall' gig in 1998. There are times when I have cursed him I have to admit.
It was the sheer professionalism of the man that I so admired. He was a natural. What a special voice and he knew how to use it. He so loved his work and became very good at finding a good deal. I regret that I never saw him with the Hollies. I regret that I didn't say "Goodbye". God Bless, Charlie.
Copyright © 2007 Megan Davies
The 60's. It was a time to be gloriously and outrageously silly. Carl Wayne had a different take on glory to me though and one of the more outrageous things he used to do was to smash up TVs on stage: I thought having a Beatles haircut was revolutionary but smashing up a television set? Surely there must be a law against that - isn't it sacrilege or something? The way Charlie did it was akin to a religious experience. I know; I was part of the congregation at The Belfry - a posh hotel in the Sutton Coldfield countryside.
He was on stage with his recently formed super-group "The Move". The music had evaporated into a long solo with Roy Wood studiously thrashing his Fender and Trevor Burton standing like an angry sphinx, lasing the audience with his steely glare while, at stage front, Charlie stood fixed into a mean pose and lost in apparent meditation. At the same time lights were flashing (yes, that was new thing too, before the name 'strobing' was invented) and at the back Bev Bevan industriously flailed away at his drum kit. I swear I saw the slightest flicker of a grin pass across his face as a roadie shuffled by holding a table, followed by another roadie - 'Upsy' the chief roadie no less - grasping a television set. The table was placed ceremoniously at stage front and the telly placed on top. An altar and a sacrifice...
The crowd gasped as Charlie picked up an axe and began circling the table like David stalking a downed Goliath... going around and around first the one way then the other for what seemed like ages until... Suddenly he exploded into a manic rage. Wallop. The wooden cabinet split apart. More blows. Bang! - the tube went with a tinkly popping sound. Charlie smashed the axe down again... and again... and again - while the crowd, me included, stood transfixed in the symbology of it all - a public execution by an angry young axe man! Finally the ritual was complete and the roadies returned to retrieve the pieces of the TV set. I think The Move finished the song but I don't really remember. Maybe I was being treated for shock or something? I just remember thinking afterward "how very strange, what does it all mean?" Well of course it meant that The Move were bent on moving - up and out of Birmingham and the Midlands and anywhere remotely provincial and stepping up to the centre stage of our universe - London, the capital of the music world. With the help of their new manager, media locust Tony Secunda, Charlie had set The Move onto a trajectory that would make them a household name. It was a fact that unfolded before our Brummie eyes.
Life in the Brumbeat era of Birmingham was like one long fairground ride for me, the lights dazzled, the music blared and the carousel kept spinning until anyone with anything to say had been sucked up into its vortex of promise. And The Move? They played us out at the end of the sixties with Bev marking the beats, Roy splitting the atom, Trevor on Molotov cocktails and Carl - I guess Charlie was someone we all marched behind because he was the biggest guy around.
Copyright © 2007 Dave Scott-Morgan
Illustration Copyright © Bulls Head Bob
Special thanks to Rob Caiger at Face The Music (www.ftmusic.com) for permission to show some of Robert Davidson's terrific photos of The Move in this feature.