Gregory Gray

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Scottish-born singer/songwriter Gregory Gray released three fine albums of quirky, danceable pop from 1986 to 1995. However, his story goes back further than that and involves both a brief involvement…
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Scottish-born singer/songwriter Gregory Gray released three fine albums of quirky, danceable pop from 1986 to 1995. However, his story goes back further than that and involves both a brief involvement with a second-string group of Northern Irish bubblegum popsters and a name change to disassociate himself from that chapter in his past. Gregory Gray was born Paul Lerwill in the village of Coleraine, Northern Ireland, on May 20, 1959. Lerwill picked up the guitar as a teenager and at the age of 19, he joined Rosetta Stone, a bubblegummy pop group led by Ian Mitchell, formerly of the Bay City Rollers. Known as "Flash" during his stint in Rosetta Stone, Lerwill stayed with the group until 1982, long past their brief notoriety amongst the pre-pubescent crowd. Following that, Lerwill changed his name to Gregory Gray to disassociate himself from his sugary past and formed an obscure group, called Perfect Crime, who were in more of a Waterboys-meets-U2 vein.

Finally signing a solo deal with CBS in 1986, Gray released his first album, Think of Swans, later that year. An artsy, often obscure record that maintains the Waterboys influence from his Perfect Crime days, Think of Swans was a complete commercial stiff and Gray was dropped after its release. After woodshedding for several years, Gray signed with Atco Records and released his much poppier second album, Strong at Broken Places, in 1991. That album was produced by Gray's friend Davitt Sigerson, who later became the president of EMI Records. Sigerson signed Gray to EMI in 1995 and released the Stephen Hague-produced Euroflake in Silverlake, a Pet Shop Boys-like album of quirky electro-pop. Unfortunately, it followed his previous two albums into commercial oblivion and Gray gave up on his solo career, moving from Northern Ireland to New York in the late '90s and forming an Underworld-like dance rock group, Mary Cigarettes.