Dave Morgan

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Dave Morgan is a Birmingham, England-born musician who is best known for his work in association with the Ugly's and (on a more peripheral level) the Move during the 1960s. Born in 1942, he reached his…
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Dave Morgan is a Birmingham, England-born musician who is best known for his work in association with the Ugly's and (on a more peripheral level) the Move during the 1960s. Born in 1942, he reached his teens just as the rock & roll boom hit the Sceptered Isle, and by the end of the 1950s he was proficient on the guitar and the bass. Morgan became a member of the Mayfair Set, one of the top local band to come out of the late-'50s British beat boom -- not only were they popular regionally, but they were a great "farm team" for some much better-known bands that followed: included in their ranks were Trevor Burton, later of the Move; Keith Smart, later of Wizzard; and David Reay and Christopher Robin, both later members of World of Oz. Morgan subsequently joined the Ugly's, a promising band who never made it beyond local success, despite a decade of hard work. He was able to get signed up by Move lead singer Carl Wayne as a composer, to the latter's publishing company, with the result that in 1968, the Move recorded a pair of Morgan's compositions: "Something" became the B-side to the group's number one hit "Blackberry Way"; and "This Time Tomorrow" was the B-side of "Curly."

By this time, Morgan had so many opportunities put before him that it seemed as though something had to come of one of them. In late 1968, he became the bassist for the Ugly's, regarded as one of the most promising bands in Birmingham, who had been at it, in one form or another, since 1957 without success -- he wrote a single for them as well. But their lineup proved unstable, and then suddenly in 1969 his old Mayfair Set bandmate Trevor Burton joined, and the group members and management decided it was time for a change of name, image, and approach. They renamed themselves Balls, which was at least an attention-grabber, and they seemed no less promising than any band working at the time -- in addition to Morgan and Burton, ex-Ugly's Steve Gibbons and Richard Tandy were there, as were, at various times in the months to come, Denny Laine and Jackie Lomax, late of Apple Records and the Undertakers, but it all came to nothing, and Morgan was out before 1969 was over. He was then discovered by producer Lou Reizner, who put him to work as a songwriter for a progressive pop band called Wishful Thinking -- they scored a European hit with his song "Hiroshima," but that was his biggest musical success, although the contact with Reizner did lead to his recording of Morgan, his one and only solo album (released in the U.S. on the Ampex label).

In the early '70s, Morgan became a bassist/singer in the Birmingham-based hard rock/prog rock outfit Magnum, but he left prior to the recording of their debut album. He and songwriter Jim Cleary formed the Morgan-Cleary Band in the second half of the 1970s and recorded an album on the Jet Records label, produced by his onetime Mayfair Set bandmate Richard Tandy -- who, by then, was playing with the Electric Light Orchestra -- but the album was never released. Finally, in the early '80s, he joined a touring version of the Electric Light Orchestra, playing acoustic guitar and keyboards as well as singing backup. This was a period in which the group's recording activity had slowed, and he only participated in the making of one album, Secret Messages (1983), as a singer. He left ELO in 1986, and with Tandy formed the prog rock and pop/rock duo Tandy & Morgan.