Paul Reynolds was the guitarist for A Flock of Seagulls, the outrageously coifed
new-wave band that had several hits in the early ’80s.
A Flock of Seagulls’ teased haircuts and electronic sound will forever be associated with
the new-wave movement.
Reynolds was born 37 years ago today in Liverpool, England. He joined A Flock of
Seagulls in 1980, a few months after the band was formed by former hairdresser Mike
Score (vocals, keyboards), his brother Ali (drums) and hairdresser Frank Maudsley
The band immediately put to use the members’ hairdressing expertise by designing
outrageous haircuts for themselves. Score’s waterfall coif, an exaggerated pompadour
that fell forward in a long, blond point toward his nose, was the most remarkable. Their
look greatly contributed to A Flock of Seagulls’ popularity with the fledgling MTV.
But the group also had a distinctive robotic sound that set it apart from the crowd, at least
for a few singles. A Flock of Seagulls’ first output was a 1981 EP that featured
“Telecommunication,” which became a club hit.
MTV broke A Flock of Seagulls into the mainstream by putting the single “I Ran (So Far
Away)” (RealAudio excerpt)
into heavy rotation. The video featured frequent shots of Score’s hairdo. The single
made the U.S. top 10 along with the band’s eponymous debut LP.
“Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You),” from Listen (1983), reached #10 in the
UK and became a top-40 hit in the U.S. “Space Age Love Song” performed similarly well
in the States.
The Story of a Young Heart (1984) was a commercial disappointment. After the
album’s release, Reynolds quit, and the band added guitarist Gary Steadnin and
keyboardist Chris Chryssaphis.
But without Reynolds’ participation, A Flock of Seagulls floundered. Dream Come
True (1986) didn’t make the charts on either side of the Atlantic and the band soon
called it quits.
In 1989 Score founded a new lineup of A Flock of Seagulls and released the single
“Magic.” This new band toured but soon split. Recently, however, Score has resurrected
the Seagulls name again and is touring small clubs and theme parks.
A Flock of Seagulls issued The Light at the End of the World in 1995 on Big Shot
Reynolds has spent his post-Seagulls time playing in jazz bands in England.
Score told Musician magazine: “Although it was a great time, most of the bands
that seemed to be doing well in the early ’80s seemed to have been swamped by their
own copies. The early ’80s were like the early ’60s, when a lot of original bands broke
through. It seemed like the whole jigsaw could be put together and finished. Then
suddenly someone lost a couple of the pieces. But I think it’s the industry that kills bands.
It builds them and then it kills them.”
Other birthdays: Frankie Ford, 60; David Carr (Fortunes), 56; Klaus Schultze (Tangerine
Dream), 52; Maire Ni Bhraonian (Clannad), 47; Ian Broudie (the Lightning Seeds), 41;
Graham Massey (808 State), 39; and Taj Jackson (3T), 26.