|Single by The Move|
|from the album Message from the Country (2005 reissue)|
|B-side||"Do Ya", "Ella James"|
|Recorded||1971 at Philips Studios, London|
|Genre||Rock and roll|
United Artists (US)
|Producer(s)||Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne|
|The Move singles chronology|
Written by Roy Wood, this was The Move's last officially released single; it was released in April 1972, bearing "Do Ya" and "Ella James" as a double B-side. A pastiche of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Larry Williams, the composition is recorded in a high-energy rock and roll style, with lead vocals by both Wood and Jeff Lynne, who were at the time jointly leaders of both the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and The Move. "California Man" reached number 7 on the UK Singles Chart in May 1972. The ELO, originally conceived as a side-project of The Move, issued its first single, "10538 Overture", a month after this track.
In the U.S., "California Man" was issued on the United Artists record label. It was flipped after release, when Lynne's "Do Ya" B-side proved more popular. It became The Move's only U.S. charting single, peaking at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1972. Only Wood, Lynne and drummer Bev Bevan appear on the recording. The picture sleeve has an older picture of The Move, including bassist Rick Price, who was no longer a member of the group by then. The Move's version of the song never originally appeared on one of its studio albums; however, it does appear as a bonus track on the reissue of Message from the Country.
"Ella James" was a song written by Roy Wood and taken from the band's final album Message from the Country.
It was first released as a single in the UK in 1971, with "No Time" from the same album on the B-side, but was quickly withdrawn in favour of "Tonight". When it was again released as a single in 1972, it was backed by a double B-side of "California Man" and "Do Ya".
"California Man" was later covered by Cheap Trick, who included it on their 1978 album Heaven Tonight and also released it as a single that year to follow up "Surrender". The Cheap Trick version incorporated an instrumental break based on the riff from another Move song, "Brontosaurus". It has also been included on several Cheap Trick compilation albums. Cliff Richard has performed it live on occasion, as has Italian glam rock band Giuda. Drake Bell covered the song on the 2014 album Ready, Steady, Go!. Comedian Jim Davidson covered it on his 1985 LP The Jim Davidson Album. Ryan Roxie has covered the song as well on the 2018 album Imagine Your Reality with Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander adding a guest vocal appearance.
- "The Move - Chart history: Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
- "Jeff Lynne on Top Of The Pops: Comments and Observations". jefflynnesongs.com. November 2018. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
- Hayes, M.; Sharp, K. (1998). Reputation Is a Fragile Thing. Poptastic. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-9662081-0-8.
- Swanson, D. (May 23, 2014). "35 Years Ago: Cheap Trick's 'Heaven Tonight Album Released". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2014-02-15.
- "California Man Cheap Trick". allmusic. Retrieved 2011-03-28.