Originally formed in 1980, Flock of Seagulls is an iconic English new wave band that was led by vocalist and keyboardist Michael “Mike” Score and his brother Alister “Ali” James Score as the drummer. This famous line up was completed by Francis Lee “Frank” Maudsley who played the bass, and Paul Reynold’s who played the guitar.
Flock of Seagulls had several international hit singles like “I Ran (So Far Away)”, “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)”, and “The More You Live, the More You Love. In 1983, the band won a Grammy for their instrumental single entitled “D.N.A”.
Started by Mike Score in 1980 in Liverpool, Flock of Seagulls got its name from The Strangler’s song “Toiler in the Sea” and from a book by Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The initial line-up of the band was Mike on keyboards and lead vocals, Frank Maudsley on bass, and Ali Score on drums. They eventually added Willie Woo on guitar and when the Score brother’s had a misunderstanding, they brought in Mark Edmondson to replace Ali on drums. But Edmondson’s stay with the band was short-lived, because Ali made a comeback and shortly after that, Willie Woo decided to leave the band and he was replaced by Paul Reynold’s thus creating Flock of Seagull’s classic line-up. They usually practiced above Mike Score’s hair salon and they started playing at clubs and eventually scored a record deal.
The band released singles through Jive Records under the management of Tommy Crossan and Mick Rossi. They were then singed by major record label Jive which distributed their songs through CBS records. They released their second single entitled “Telecommunication” which became a club hit. The band then released their third EP entitled “Modern Love is Automatic” in 1982. This five-track EP featured Flock of Seagull’s fourth single “I Ran (So Far Away)” that became an instant worldwide hit and reached number 1 in Australia and entered the top 10 in US and New Zealand. They then released their debut album, “Space Age Love Song” that became successful.
The band had their major success in the UK with their single “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” in 1982. Flock of Seagull has been praised for breaking the ground for other musical acts in the advent of the music video era. 1982 was a great year for the band because it was then where they reached the peak of their commercial but critical success.
In 1983, the band released three more singles from their album “Listen” but unfortunately, their songs only achieved minor success in the UK and worldwide. Disappointed by their album’s performance, Flock of Seagulls changed their concept from Science Fiction themes to emotion based songs on their third album The Story of a Young Heart in 1984. They released the album’s lead single “The More You Live, The More You Love”. Despite the exposure on MTV and other music video channels, the song was only moderately successful. The same goes with the other two singles “Never Again (The Dancer)” and “Remember David”.
Despite sliding sales and loss of direction, the band continued touring while looking for other options. This was also the time where Paul Reynold’s left the band and he was replaced by Gary Steadman. They also brought in Chris Chryssaphis as their keyboardist to augment their sound. And they recorded their next album “Dream Come True” that was released in 1985 in the UK and in 1986 in the USA. But after this, Chryssaphis and Reynold’s both left the band.
Because of their past success in the US, brothers Mike and Ali then decided to base the band out of Philadelphia. They had four sold out shows in Philadelphia and this was where Mike, Ali and Maudsley was awarded green cards that was based on a celebrity status. But shortly after moving to the US, Maudley got homesick and disillusioned by the fact that they are living in a strange new city. He decided to return to England after they completed the album. However, Mike and Ali stayed in the US to complete the terms of their visa. With the Score brothers in the USA and Frank in Britain, the band has appeared to be splitting into two. Frank kept communication with the band but unfortunately, the Score brothers had another misunderstanding that eventually resulted into the band’s dissolvement in 1986.
The band was continued by Mike Score in Philadelphia but its line-up also continued to change with Mike being the consistent member. In 1996, they recorded their album “The Light at the End of the World” but it failed to reach the charts. In November 2003, the band reunited with the original line-up and did a brief tour in the United States. The tour continued to be advertised to showcase the original line-up even if their later shows did not include the original band members.
In 2005, Mike Score’s continuation of the new band line-up starred in an American version of the entertainment show “Hit Me Baby, One More Time” and they performed their song “I Ran” and did their own version of Ryan Cabrera’s song “On The Way Down” for the chance to have 20,000 US Dollars to donate to their chosen charity.
In 2011, Frank Maudsley and Paul Reynolds both performed at a music festival in Liverpool under the name “A Flock of Seagulls.”
Mike Score pursued his solo career in 2013 and released songs “All I Wanna Do” and “Somebody Like You”. And on May 3, 2018, they announced that the Flock of Seagulls four original band members would be reuniting once again to record their new album titled “Ascension”. This 10 track album will be featuring the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and it will include unique renditions of their previous hits and a new song.
The Flock of Seagulls is not only iconic for their music, they are also memorable because of their unusual style and appearance. Everyone remembers this band because of Mike Score’s ridiculous back-combed haircut. Although their dramatic style garnered much criticism and parody, the band is also known to be a pioneering act that captured the spirit of their time. Which Flock of Seagulls song is your favorite?