Omnibus by The Move: Great B-Sides

There was a lot of great pop music in the 1960s, and Birmingham psychedelic rock band The Move are overlooked among the rush. They never made an impression in the US where the band they morphed into, Electric Light Orchestra, were much more successful. A lot of British bands left their best material off studio albums, and only put it on singles. The Beatles had enough great material to get away with it, but The Move hurt their album legacy by never including gems like ‘Blackberry Way’ and ‘Night of Fear’ on LP.

Perhaps due to this policy, The Move were a very successful singles band, especially early in their career. Five of the first six Move singles placed in the UK top 5, with ‘Blackberry Way’ reaching #1.

The early Move single that failed to chart was ‘Wild Tiger Woman’. Released in August 1968 it was heavier than most of the band’s material, influenced by Jimi Hendrix. It was banned from BBC Radio One due to the line “tied to the bed, she’s waiting to be fed”. The group later stated that they should have released the single’s b-side, ‘Omnibus’, as the a-side.

‘Omnibus’ is enjoyably quirky, and distinctly English. Omnibus was originally the word for a large horse-drawn carriage, and the word bus is a contraction of omnibus. ‘Omnibus’ is sophisticated, with unexpected melodic twists, while the closing guitar solo hints at Bach’s ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring’. Like most of The Move’s material, ‘Omnibus’ was written by Roy Wood – along with The Move’s hits, he’s perhaps best known for the Wizzard’s seasonal glam song ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’.

The combination of loud guitars, pop melody, and vocal harmonies are surprisingly similar to the records that Cheap Trick would make almost a decade later. Cheap Trick are clearly fans of The Move – they’ve released their own covers of ‘California Man’, ‘Brontosaurus’, and ‘Blackberry Way’.

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  1. This is my second time commenting…I commented early today and it has vanished…all night I’ve head this problem every time I have tried to comment.
    Great song and the first thing I thought was The Raspberries but Cheap Trick works great. The vocals are complex and cool. This is great…it should have been the A side.
    If this comment is doubled…I apologize.

      • I’m sorry if you have like 5 of them. This has happened to me to on several sites tonight.

        • I went back and found your original comment too – it got buried under a mass of comments on my Aretha Franklin ‘A Rose is Still A Rose’ post from years ago. Maybe you had the bad timing to comment at the same time as a big spam attack. Normally, if someone’s commented before, it only flags it if there’s a link or something.
          I think it’s a crazy good b-side that could have been a hit – one of the very best in the series so far I think.

  2. One of their best songs, that I agree, would have made for a better A-side. I believe that this is one of the last of their songs to feature Ace Kefford before he departed the band in early-mid 1968. Fantastic psych-power pop song that features great lyrics, and a blistering psychelic guitar (assuming Wood/Kefford) solo at the end.

    • Thanks for writing in. I still barely know this band – their discography is pretty frustrating with lots of their key tracks on singles. I used to have a BBC sessions disc, but I wanted the studio versions.

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