There was a request made for this band, who were already on my list to cover, so, with all the craziness at the moment, I decided to jump them up and here they are. Nick Heyward, Les Nemes and Graham Jones were joined by Blair Cunningham, Phil Smith and Mark Fox made up the band for the first album, Pelican West. To put forth a brief history is a must, since in reality, there is scant history to be reported. The band came together in 1980, Heyward, Nemes and Jones being school buddies putting together a band. Two others were around, but did not last. They signed with Arista an got to work on the first album. First, however, was their first single, Favourite Shirt (Boy Meets Girl), which soared up the UK charts to #4 in October of 1981.
As the school chums worked on the debut album, they brought in Cunningham, Smith and Fox, making for quite the eclectic mix. Heyward, the lead vocalist and the creative force behind the group, had a strong rock/New Wave feel, drummer Cunningham, born in Memphis, had a soulful sound, sax player Smith added a cool jazz spice, guitarist Jones loved the punk sound of the Clash, and bassist had an affinity for the 60s California pop bands. Together, they made Haircut 100 a new and different sound, one that resonated with listeners. They completed Pelican West and set it free on the world in 1982. The next single released was Love Plus One, which hit the US Top 40, Top 20 on the Modern Rock chart, and even Top 10 in the club play chart.
In April of 1982, the band released Fantastic Day, a song written by Heyward when he was just 15, a pop tune elevated to something special by the collaborative efforts of the band.
Soon it was time to start working on the sophomore album, at the end of nearly a solid year of touring for the band, with fans following them everywhere. Heyward started having some issues, and attended the rehearsal and recording sessions irregularly. At the sound check for a gig they were playing, Heyward was said to have dropped his guitar and walked off, saying he couldn't do it any more. Soon Fox was recording the lead vocals. While the band thought he had left, the studio was keeping quiet the fact Nick was having a breakdown, some thought due to mental exhaustion, others attributed to the fast rise to stardom. But no matter, for Nick left the band in the beginning of 1983, leaving them to complete the second release. 1984's Paint And Paint did not fair well with either the critics nor the fans of the band, and was seen as a failure. I didn't think it was a bad album, just different without the influence of Heyward. I couldn't find an actual video for my favorite song, So Tired, so I include this clip.
Shortly thereafter, the members went their separate ways. Heyward went on to a successful solo career [which I hope to address in a future post], and several others stayed in the music business in some form or another. They have reunited a couple of times in the past 5 years, and there is always a buzz in the fanworld they might reunite with new music, but that has yet to happen. Until that happens, you can check out Nick Heyward at his official website here, or on MySpace here.