Bev Bevan was, after John Bonham, one of the more successful rock drummers ever to come out of Birmingham, England. Born Beverley Bevan in 1944, in Sparkhill, he became interested in music as a boy and, by age 19, had turned professional as a member of Denny & the Diplomats. They were one of the more popular groups on the city's burgeoning music scene, although their history was cut short in 1963 when "Denny," as in Denny Laine, quit the band to become part of what was initially called the M&B Five, later known as the Moody Blues. Bevan was left high and dry by Laine's departure, though he quickly landed another gig as a member of Carl Wayne & the Vikings. That band managed to record three singles that went nowhere, but the gig still paid off when, in 1966, Wayne, bassist Ace Kefford, and Bevan became co-founders of the Move.
A legendary British band with an almost Beatles-like aura of creativity about them -- the latter mostly generated by composer and multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood -- the Move charted a string of hit records in England and Continental Europe between 1966 and 1970, without ever managing to make any impression in America. Bevan was a key member, not only as a drummer but also with his unique bass vocals on two songs, "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart" (a loving tribute to the Coasters) and "Ben Cawley Steel Company." Fellow members Wayne, Kefford, and Rick Price gradually fell away, and by 1970 the Move had been reduced to three core musicians, Wood, new member Jeff Lynne, and Bevan.
As the 1970s dawned, the members had devised a new approach to their work. Originally, the idea was to keep the Move going as an active group, while also engaging in a new group experiment, under the guise of the Electric Light Orchestra. But the initial ELO recordings proved more successful than anyone could have hoped, so much so that it drove Wood -- who had his own musical ideas, and tended to keep his own counsel -- right out of the lineup. And it was from there, as ELO scaled heights of international success (especially in America) that the Move never approached, that Bevan became an international pop/rock star, in tandem with Lynne, over the next 15 years. Lynne was the dominant musical personality, to be sure, as composer, producer, and vocalist, but Bevan was always there as a point of stability as the early group evolved and changed in configuration and personnel. Thanks to his work with both bands, his drumming is some of the most familiar in British rock, and his work on both the Move and ELO versions of "Do Ya" is right up there with some of Charlie Watts' and Ringo Starr's best-known performances.
During the late '80s, the ELO name was kept alive -- sort of -- through Electric Light Orchestra, Part II, following Lynne's departure for other projects. That group was eventually rechristened "the Orchestra" after Bevan sold off his share of the Electric Light Orchestra name to Lynne. And following Carl Wayne's death in 2004, Bevan tried to exploit another side of his musical past with "Bev Bevan's Move," a band that he took on the road performing the Move's '60s repertory. He has also worked with such diverse performers as American soul star Bobby Womack and the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, and in more recent years has been known in England for his work as a radio DJ and record reviewer. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi