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A Flock of Seagulls (also known as Flock of Seagulls) are an English new wave and synthpop band originally formed in Liverpool by brothers Michael "Mike" Score (keyboards, vocals) and Alister "Ali" James Score (drums), along with Francis Lee "Frank" Maudsley (bass) and Paul Reynolds (guitar).
The group had a string of international hit singles including "I Ran (So Far Away)" (1982), "Space Age Love Song" (1982), "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" (1982), and "The More You Live, the More You Love" (1984). They became notable in the 1980s for their video for "I Ran (So Far Away)". The band has also won a Grammy Award.
Formation and success:
A Flock of Seagulls was started by Mike Score and his brother Ali in 1979 in Liverpool (The name was taken from The Stranglers song "Toiler on the Sea", according to Mike Score). Mike, who was previously a hairdresser, played keyboards, guitar, and vocals and Ali played drums. Also, their friend Francis Maudsley played bass. The band's original guitarist, Willie Woo, left and was replaced with Paul Reynolds from the band Cindysbeentrippin. After practising above Score's hair salon, the band started playing clubs and eventually got a recording contract.
Eventually, under the management of Tommy Crossan and Mick Rossi (Checkmount Limited), they began to release singles through Jive Records. The group released their debut single 'Talking' (produced by Nelson), on Bill Nelson's Cocteau label. They were then signed to major label Jive, distributed through CBS records, where they released their second single 'Telecommunication'. The single was also produced by Nelson and became a club hit. Their third release was the EP 'Modern Love is Automatic'. Originally released as a 4 track EP on both 7" and 12", the 12" edition was soon reissued adding 'Telecommunication'. This 5 track EP was also their first release in the U.S. In 1982, the group's fourth single 'I Ran (So Far Away)', produced by Mike Howlett, the former bass player of the band Gong, became a worldwide hit, reaching number 1 in Australia and the Top 10 in both the US and New Zealand. Their debut album and another single, 'Space Age Love Song', were both also successful. In late 1982, the band finally found major success in their home country with 'Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)', the first single from their next album Listen, which reached the Top 10. Later, the band was praised for having broken the ground for other musical acts during the advent of the video music area, but as it turned out, 1982 was the peak year of their commercial and critical success.
1983 and after:
Three more singles were released from Listen in 1983, including a re-recorded version of their debut single '(It's Not Me) Talking', but they were only minor successes in the UK and abroad. Faced with disappointment, the group changed direction from their Science Fiction themes and produced a more conceptual emotion based third album in 1984 called The Story of a Young Heart, with 'The More You Live, the More You Love' as the lead single. Despite heavy rotation on MTV and other music video shows at that time, the single was only moderately successful, but the album's other two singles - 'Never Again (The Dancer)' and 'Remember David' (released only in a few European counties) - did not make any headway. Faced with sliding sales and a loss of direction, with the departure of Paul Reynolds, the band waited and toured. Brothers Mike and Ali Score wanted to base the band out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With past success in the USA, both brothers thought leaving the UK and a new life in America was a perfect solution. With the popularity of the first two albums and the name "A Flock of Seagulls" still having some equity, they had 4 straight sell-out shows in Philadelphia. Mike, Ali and Maudsley all applied for and were conditionally awarded green cards based on celebrity status under the O-1 work visa. The conditional approval was granted to all three, who settled in Philadelphia.
Maudsley became disillusioned with living in a strange city; he had no family in the USA. Missing the UK, he returned to England. Mike and Ali stayed in Philadelphia and satisfied the terms of the visa. With Frank in Britain and the brothers in the USA it would appear the band was split into two camps. In fact, it was Frank Maudsley who kept the band communicating. Unfortunately, the brothers had a falling out that resulted in Mike becoming the sole remaining original member of the touring band and Ali moving to Boston. Ali played in a hard rock band and then worked for a computer company in Cambridge once his work visa turned into a permanent residency. In 1986, the band released a new album, Dream Come True. With Reynolds gone, the music focused more on a Mike Score's keyboards and a dance beat. The change failed and the album was panned by the critics and flopped commercially. To promote Dream Come True, two videos (for "Who's That Girl" and "Heartbeat Like a Drum") were filmed in quick succession, the last time the three remaining members were together in a recording or performance capacity until 2003.
For the next eighteen years, Mike Score worked with various musicians under the A Flock of Seagulls banner, playing live gigs and occasionally issuing new recordings. In 1989, the group released a single called "Magic" which didn't chart. The follow-up album The Light at the End of the World, which included the single, did not appear until 1996, and similarly did not chart as well.
In 1999, the band re-recorded the Madonna song "This Used to Be My Playground" for the 2000 Madonna tribute album The World's Greatest 80s Tribute to Madonna. In November 2003, the original line-up--Mike and Ali Score, Paul Reynolds and Frank Maudsley--reunited for a one-off performance on the VH1 series, Bands Reunited. In September 2004, they reformed again and did a brief tour in the United States. Though the tour continued to be advertised as the "original lineup", later shows no longer included the reunited band but was Mike Score with his previous backing band. Mike Score continues to tour with Joe Rodriguez (1999), Pando (2003), & Michael Brahm (2003) as A Flock of Seagulls.
On 4 February 2013, Score indicated via his YouTube account that he was pursuing his solo career. He released the singles "All I Wanna Do" in February 2013, and "Somebody Like You" in January 2014. On 1 March 2014, Score released a solo album, Zeebratta.
Due to their memorable and unusual style and appearance, A Flock of Seagulls are sometimes referred to with ironic appreciation. The New Musical Express wrote: "Of course, everyone remembers this group now for singer Mike Score's ridiculous back-combed haircut and the fact that they are mentioned in Pulp Fiction. So now they're kind of cool, but in the early '80s it was a different story." In a 2007 article for The Guardian, Alfred Hickling described the group as "dreadful", and unfavourably compared them to Liverpool new wave peers OMD and other acts of the time.
Their dramatic style has drawn much criticism and parody, but the band has also been recognized as a pioneering act, capturing the zeitgeist of their time, particularly with the guitar work of Paul Reynolds and sonically multi-layered hits such as "Space Age Love Song," "Telecommunication," and "Modern Love Is Automatic." The band also is noted for creating a successful concept album, their debut, which alludes to an alien invasion of earth. Billboard writer Robert Christgau applauded their "mechanical lyrics, about a mechanical end of the world," while noting the "aural pleasure" of both the band's debut album and the follow-up.
The band's lyrics have been noted to have allusions to both dystopian environments as well as dragons.
The video for "I Ran" was low budget (even for the time) but enjoyed enormous success, and is well remembered in part due to its heavy rotation on MTV. The group has the record for actual number of video plays, both due to the lack of other music videos available during the music channel's early years, and the demand for the futuristic look.
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Her voice is unique, unmistakable and timeless – The Los Angeles Times' Robert Hilburn called her "arguably the most charismatic female performer in rock." And about the Hollywood Bowl concert in 2012, The Hollywood Reporter wrote: Martha Davis, of the Motels, was still strong in voice and admirably delivered hits like "Only The Lonely" and "Suddenly Last Summer."
For Martha Davis, the most important thing has always been the songs she writes. Martha began writing songs at the age of 15. Born and raised in Berkeley, California, she moved to Los Angeles in the early '70s, along with the first incarnation of The Motels. The band, Marty Jourard,Jeff Jourard, Michael Goodroe, and Brian Glascock signed to Capitol Records in 1979.
The Motels recorded six records for Capitol. Their self titled debut was greeted with positive critical reviews in 1979 and exploded in Australia on the strength of the #2 Pop single, "Total Control" (which was later covered by Tina Turner for the We Are The World album). In 1981 their sophomore effort, "Careful," went Top 50. Then, in 1982, the Motels released All Four One; the smash single "Only The Lonely" rocketed into the Top 10, immediately propelled the album to gold status and truly broke The Motels in the United States. The group dominated the music scene and was voted Best Performance for "Only The Lonely" at the 1982 American Music Awards.
1983's Little Robbers album went gold on the Top 10 single "Suddenly Last Summer" and the second Top 40 hit "Remember The Nights." In 1985, the Shock album yielded the Top 20 hit, "Shame," and 1987 saw the release of Martha's first solo effort, Policy. In 1988, Martha took a sabbatical from the music scene, prompting the question, "where have you been?" "Looking for my sense of humor," she says. "I seemed to have lost it somewhere around 1984. It's not a business that one should be in without a sense of humor." Though constantly writing, Martha left center stage to work on various collaborations with artists including Ivan Neville, Arthur Barrow (Frank Zappa), Jeff Daniel, Kiki Dee, Richard Feldman, to write songs for a new musical for the Civic Light Opera, and author a new musical of her own entitled Rebecca.
Capitol reissued an expanded and remastered edition of the All Four One album, which contained previously unreleased bonus tracks. In the Fall of 2000, The Motels Anthology was released, a first ever double disk of rarities, B-sides, soundtrack cuts as well as live performances. Additionally, Martha Davis had several independent publishing deals, including one with DreamWorks SKG, wrote a children's album and a jazz album.
In 2005, Martha released a solo record, So The Story Goes. Recording and touring for that record brought on 3 of the current members of the Motels, Eric Gardner, Clint Walsh and Nicholas Johns. The band then recorded the 2008 release This, followed by another Martha solo record, Beautiful Life. More touring brought them to 2012 where original member Marty Jourard once again brought his saxophone and synth skills to the band. Also joining was bass player Brady Wills. Shows included a landmark performance at the legendary Hollywood Bowl, where she and the band shared the bill with The Go-Go's, Psychedelic Furs and Bow Wow Wow.
2013 proved to be an exciting year for the band, with new recordings, a busy touring schedule in the US, and a return to Australia!! Martha began the year with the honor of performing at the NAMM convention in their "Living Legends" special concert series on their Main Stage with some of the most significant musicians of the 21st century backing her performance. Also a 4th of July headline show as the closing band for the final night of the San Diego/Del Mar County Fair.
The next 2 years brought more touring. 2014 -2015 the most shows since 1985 for the band. Thanks to a new booking agent (Flemming). Also in 2015 the band started working on their newest release. As well as Brady Wills getting married to his now wife Katie on Martha's Oregon farm.
The new album is highly anticipated, and details will be announced in early 2016.
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The Vapors were an English new wave and power pop band, that existed between 1979 and 1982. They had a hit with the song "Turning Japanese" in 1980, which reached No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart, and No. 36 in the US Billboard Hot 100.
Based in Guildford, Surrey, their members were David Fenton (songwriter, guitarist and vocalist), Howard Smith (drummer), Edward Bazalgette (lead guitarist) and Steve Smith (bass guitarist and vocals). (The band's two Smiths were unrelated.) The group's name was originally spelled "Vapours," but they removed the U to seem like an American band.
They were discovered and managed by John Weller (father of Paul Weller) and by The Jam's bassist Bruce Foxton. The song for which they are mainly remembered, "Turning Japanese", was produced by The Jam's producer Vic Coppersmith-Heaven and hit the Top Three in the UK at the same time that "Going Underground" was at number one. It was also a top ten hit in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and (just barely) a top 40 in the US, something The Jam never managed.
The song "Turning Japanese" was believed to euphemistically refer to masturbation, although Fenton (the song's author) denied that claim in an interview on VH1. He did, however, say he wished to thank whoever first came up with that interpretation, as he felt that the salacious rumour about what the song "really" meant may have been what made it a hit.
The band released two albums: New Clear Days (the pun on "nuclear" being intentional) and Magnets. The first was more clearly in the "traditional" new wave style of music, while touching on social issues such as the nuclear threat as well as love themes. The second album was more lyrically varied, with themes including alienation and many dark lyrics about apparently psychotic characters, including the opening track, "Jimmie Jones", about cult leader Jim Jones. Sales of the second album were poor and the band broke up soon after its release in 1982. Fenton alleged in a later interview with Record Collector magazine that lack of record label support was the chief reason; apparently their intended seventh single 'Red Flag' was cancelled without explanation. Follow-up singles "News at Ten", and the aforementioned "Jimmie Jones", both coincidentally reached number 44 in the UK Singles Chart. Record producer Harry Cowell was for a while the band's drum tech.
After the band:
A solicitor who specialises in music law, frontman Fenton has apparently retired from his days as a music creator and performer to concentrate on legal aspects of the music industry.
Edward Bazalgette has since become a television director, credits including a 2005 BBC documentary about Genghis Khan and two episodes of Doctor Who in 2015.
Howard Smith now runs an independent record shop, People Records in Guildford, the band's home town.