Today, as David Howell Evans–aka The Edge from U2–celebrates his birthday, I put forth a theory on how his unique guitar style evolved.
It’s easy to dismiss The Edge as some guy who lets a chord ring out and then proceeds to tap a dozen different switches on his pedal board. Sure, there’s a bit of that in The Edge’s sound, but he’s also the only guitar player (sorry, Bono) in a band known for lush, anthemic rock songs. So while he’s not known for whaling out leads and solos, he’s certainly an innovator when it comes to creating soaring soundscapes with his guitar. And I think the inspiration for his innovation comes from a particular source.
At the tender age of 17, Paul Reynolds joined 80s new wave force A Flock Of Seagulls just before the release of their breakthrough self-titled album, which featured the smash hit singles “I Ran” and “Space Age Love Song.” Revisit the clips below and, while you’re marveling at the hair styles, pay close attention to Reynolds’ guitar work.
Again, these songs were everywhere in 1982. When you listen to what The Edge does guitar-wise on U2’s 1983 and 1984 albums–War and The Unforgettable Fire–there’s a noticeable difference from what he was doing on the band’s first two albums. What I’m saying is that it’s not too much of a stretch to say that The Edge bit a little bit of Paul Reynold’s style, and the timeline backs my theory up. I hear the influence loud and clear on “Pride (In The Name Of Love).”
So, The Edge ripped off the guy from A Flock Of Seagulls. There. I said it. Now, what do you say?