Led by multi-instrumentalist pop genius Roy Wood, The Move were one of the very best bands of the sixties – but also one of the most underrated. And despite having loads of hit singles, they seem to have somehow been airbrushed from British pop history. This may be because they were primarily a singles, rather than an album, band and because they singularly failed to make any dents in America. Classic rock sniffiness about pop may also have something to do with it.
Written and sung by Wood, (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree was the b-side to Flowers in the Rain, their 1967 second single. Ostensibly a piece of nursery rhyme pyschedelia, it’s beefed up by some muscular playing and sterling harmonies. It also features one of Wood’s recurring lyrical themes: mental illness. In his hands, however, mental illness wasn’t a debilitating disease but rather a condition that allowed for freedom, playfulness and loss of inhibition.
Both dark and light, it’s an exuberant, quirky song that is as good a representation of summer of love pop as anything produced by their more celebrated contemporaries.