The Move

Roy Wood's pre-Electric Light Orchestra band, which, while plenty popular in the U.K., never made much of a dent in the U.S.

The at-a-glance overview: the Move evolved out of a few skiffle, beat, and garage bands, most notably the Nightriders, which Wood and Jeff Lynne were in, and the Vikings, which counted Christopher "Ace" Kefford and Bev Bevan as members.

The fellas that made the Move, in the end, had to make a lot of, erm, moves to do so, hence the name. Clever.

From jump, they came off as a loonier, more unhinged response to the Who, a sort of bluesier, folkier Zombies.

At least initially. With '68's eponymous debut and, even more so, '70's Shazam, they exposed their inner hard-rocking glam selves. And their weirder, brightly colored selves. Tracks like the eleven-minute-long "Fields of People" are out-there yet whimsical and well-articulated trips.

It's the final album, Message from the Country, that's most enthralling to me, though. By the time of its recording, the band, which had shifted towards a Lynne-helmed and -orchestrated direction, had already reconfigured as Electric Light Orchestra, but complications with and requests from their label demanded a final Move LP be cut. So they recorded the first ELO full-length at the same time they did the final Move one, and the result was... well, it was pretty damn awesome. A sprawling, ambitious gush of tightly-harmonized 60s pop converging with high-gloss 70s progressive indulgence and ostentation. In certain ways, it's more fun that peak ELO, perhaps because, despite its lofty aspirations, it was tempered and not strung out on its own charism. Later, Lynne would get a little high on his own supply, so to speak.

Wood wasn't in ELO for long (he left in '72), and the stuff he made after his departure is... inconsistent. He recorded some albums as Wizzard, which are mostly messy, sloppy, frustrating affairs, and some much better ones under his own name.