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Wizzard

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Wizzard were a Birmingham-based band formed by Roy Wood, former member of The Move and co-founder of Electric Light Orchestra. The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits states, « Wizzard was Roy Wood just as much as Wings were Paul McCartney. »[1]

Biography

Not long after the release of Electric Light Orchestra’s first album, Wood found himself at odds with co-leader Jeff Lynne. He decided he wanted to head off in a different musical direction and left, taking band members Bill Hunt (keyboards and french horn), Hugh McDowell (cello), and ELO’s sound engineer, Trevor Smith, with him, to found Wizzard. Also in the line-up were former Move bassist Rick Price, drummers Charlie Grima and Keith Smart (all taken from Birmingham group Mongerel), plus saxophone players Mike Burney and Nick Pentelow; son of actor Arthur Pentelow. Hunt was later replaced by Bob Brady.

The band made their live debut at a rock and roll festival at Wembley Stadium on 5 August 1972,[2] followed by an appearance at the Reading Festival later that month. With Wood’s distinctive warpaint make-up and colourful costume,[3] not to mention regular appearances on BBC Television’s Top of the Pops in which members and friends variously appeared in pantomime horses, gorilla costumes or as roller-skating angels, often wielding custard pies for good measure, they were one of the most picturesque groups in the British glam rock era.

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