Bev Bevan


Bev Bevan was born on November 25th, 1945 in Birmingham as Beverly Bevan. His father Charles (nicknamed Bev) was a drummer in various dance halls, so nobody was surprised that his son emulated him. As early as the beginning of the sixties Bev Bevan played with some school mates as Rocking Ronnie And The Renegades or Troy Satan And The Hellcats to name but a few titles for the band that changed their group name almost weekly. In September 1962 Bev formed The Senators with some friends, but they only managed to play four gigs - so in 1963 Bev gave it another try and formed his first professional band, Denny Laine And The Diplomats, which soon became a top act around Birmingham and even managed to be the support act for The Beatles at a concert in "The Plaza, Old Hill". They secured a recording contract with EMI and recorded some material in 1964, but none of it was ever released. When Denny Laine left to found The Moody Blues, the group changed its name to The Diplomats. Their new line-up wasn't very successfull either, so it was no wonder that the group finally split up when two of its members left to get married. Bev retired from the music business and worked as a salesman in a furniture store. Fortunately, he was saved by Colin David "Carl Wayne" Tooley, frontman of the well reputed Carl Wayne And The Vikings, who asked Bev to join his group to play a few gigs in Germany. Bev, who had never been abroad before, took the change, but he soon had to realise that he was going nowhere once again, as this live job wasn't easy - the band had to do seven 45-minute shows starting at 7 pm - with only a 15-minute break between each show!

Back in Birmingham, Bev Bevan, Roy Wood, Carl Wayne, Christopher "Ace The Face" Kefford and Trevor Burton talked for the first time about founding a kind of Birmingham super-group with the best musicians in town. The group was officially founded on January, 17th 1966 and they already knew which way they wanted to head: They wanted to be a Mod band with an image similar to The Who. Roy Wood proposed that they should call themselves The Move, because they were all moving in from other groups. The Move played their first gig in 1966 in a club in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham. Within a month the group got a terrific and elaborate stage act that was absolutely new and inimitable for the audience. Soon their manager Tony Secunda secured them a recording contract with Deram (Decca). Their first single "Night Of Fear" became a successful number two in the British charts in December 1966 - the first in a series of top ten hits that was to follow. In 1968 Bev was asked to join The Everly Brothers, but he preferred to stay with The Move. In April 1970 Bev married Valerie Taylor, a butcher's daughter from Great Barr, Birmingham who worked as a hairdresser. Best man was his longtime friend Robert "Jasper Carrott" Davis.

Over the years the line-up of the band changed several times, but the most notable change took place in March 1970 when Jeff Lynne who had only agreed to join them under the condition that they should try something else beside The Move finally became a band member. Bev was involved in both bands - The Move and their latest, experimental project The Electric Light Orchestra which co-existed for quite a while. When they recorded the Electric Light Orchestra's first album, Bev soon got frustrated, because he was hardly needed in the studio as Jeff and Roy literally worked for days on one single song and kept re-recording on and on. Thus Bev opened his own record shop in Spark Hill, Birmingham. The shop was called "Heavy Head Records" and even had his own football team "Heavy Head Records Eleven", which included Bev Bevan, Rick Price and Carl Wayne.

In 1975 Bev played the drums and sang backing vocals on Jasper Carrott's top ten single "Funky Moped" which also featured Jeff and Richard. In 1976 the first and last ever Bev Bevan single reached the shops: "Let there be drums/Heavy Head" was produced by Jeff Lynne and sold as Bev later put it "only about half a dozen copies". It featured most of his ELO mates, too, including Roy Wood who played saxophone on the B-side.

In autumn 1980 Bev released his book "The Story Of The Electric Light Orchestra" - a must for every ELO fan as it gives an insight into the life of a rock musician. In April 1981 Bev played at a "Brum Beat Reunion Concert" in Birmingham, a charity concert featuring all the big names of the Birmingham scene including The Move! Around the same time Bev also recorded two tracks as part of Taffy's Big Time Roll Band which never saw the light of day unfortunately. In the same year his wife Valerie gave birth to his first son Adrian. On ELO's "Time" tour Bev Bevan had to be replaced on drums by Peter "Pete" King, the drummer of their support act After The Fire, for fourteen gigs in February/March 1982, as Bev had been flown to a British hospital because of kidney stones. As no tour was planned after the release of "Secret Messages", Bev joined Black Sabbath to help them out on one European and two American tours in 1983/84 because their drummer Bill Ward had become seriously ill. Bev was an old mate of Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, so he didn't have to think twice when he was asked to join until Bill was back.

On March, 15th 1986 a charity show called "Heartbeat" was organised by Bev Bevan to raise money especially for the Children's Hospital in Birmingham. This sold-out show was to become one of the most successful and spectacular events in British rock music history, featuring big names such as The Moody Blues, Robert Plant, UB40, the Roy Wood Band and, of course, ELO. As there were no plans for another ELO album, Bev Bevan kept busy during 1987 by working on a book about the rock music of the fities and sixties and playing percussion on a few tracks of Black Sabbath's "album "Eternal Idol". There were also plans about playing a few gigs with them on drums again, but when he heard the group had agreed to play in "Sun City", in South Africa, he refused to tour with them. During the year 1988 Bev could be seen as part of the backing band for Beverly Craven and Bobby Womack on a BBC TV show.

Inspired by OrKestra's fascinating live set which he saw in 1988, Bev Bevan decided to continue with The Electric Light Orchestra and started looking for musicians who would be suitable to play in the group. But first he had to ask Jeff Lynne for the permission to use the name ELO because both had the rights on the band's name, each 50%, when they decided to re-form the band after Roy had left back in 1972: "Jeff didn't feel that way, and I couldn't persuade him to keep ELO going, so the only way around it was to form a new band and call it ELO Part II. This we did following an agreement between my lawyers and Jeff's lawyers which took about a year and several tons of paperwork. Jeff gets a cut of the action [50% of the money of the new group's first two albums] and everyone knows it's a band that doesn't include him." In the summer of 1990 Bev spent his time getting the band together and recording the debut album. From the members of the old ELO, Louis Clark, Mik Kaminski, Hugh McDowell and Kelly Groucutt agreed to join, though most of them did not play on ELO Part II's debut album and only joined the live band later. This new band also saw Bev as a songwriter (mainly lyricist), giving him the freedom to have more creative input and control than ever before.

Following the success of "Heartbeat '86", Bev Bevan organized another charity concert at the NEC in Birmingham to raise money for a national charity organisation. This very successful event called "Barnardos Bandwagon" took place on October 8th, 1992 and featured acs like Edwin Starr, Ian Gillian, the Roy Wood Band and, of course, ELO Part II who headlined the gig. At the end of that year Bev could also be seen making several TV appearances supporting other artists and performing with his spare time group Belch (featuring Jasper Carrot and Tony Iommi).

Information compiled by Dirk M. Hoffmann, based on the book "Unexpected Messages"
by Marc Haines, Patrik Guttenbacher and Alexander von Petersdorff.

last modified: 26.02.2000