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Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “I Ran (So Far Away)” by A Flock Of Seagulls

It's a "flock of hits" on CD from 1991 (Craig Allen photo).
It’s a “flock of hits” on CD from 1991 (Craig Allen photo).

“I Ran (So Far Away)” is the lead song on a “concept album” about an alien invasion of Earth. The whole album is a prime example of a “period piece” I call the 1980’s!

Wind-swept hair…got its start here!

“A Flock Of Seagulls” was a new-wave band…getting its start in Liverpool, England in 1980. It was formed by brothers Mike Score (keyboards and vocals) and Alister “Ali” James Score (drums).

The band name comes from the Stranglers song “Toiler On The Sea.”

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This is according to Mike Score (and he should know, right?).

Check out the flying seagulls at the 3 minute mark….and in words (song) at 3:37!

A Flock Of Seagull’s most famous (successful) lineup consisted of the Score brothers, along with Francis Lee “Frank” Maudsley (bass) and Paul Reynolds on guitar.

The "seagulls" as seen on the back of the "Listen" album from 1983 (Craig Allen photo).
The “seagulls” as seen on the back of the “Listen” album from 1983 (Craig Allen photo).

This is the lineup that practiced above Mike Score’s hair salon…before venturing out into the Liverpool clubs.

Oh…I forgot to mention that Mike Score was once a hairdresser.

To think that the guys are given such a hard time now, for their hair…then.

I remember seeing “Seagulls” hair in my college years…and later in the 80’s, in clubs including “Jukebox Eddie’s” in Green Brook and the “Feathered Frog” in Somerville!

Did YOU adopt the hairstyle…or know someone who did? And, when you were in the clubs…which Jersey clubs?

Now…back to our spotlight song!

Ready to play on New Jersey 101.5! (Craig Allen photo).
Ready to play on New Jersey 101.5! (Craig Allen photo).

While “I Ran (So Far Away)” is this English band’s first American hit…it is actually the band’s fourth single!

“I Ran” just made it into the top-10, landing at #9 on the Hot 100 in 1982 (it would ONLY go to #43 in England. More on that, later).

The song tells the tale of the singer seeing an attractive woman…he becomes anxious, and wants to run away from his new-found feelings…but he can’t forget about her. Then…they are abducted by the aliens.

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The video was very popular on the new music channel called MTV…and it introduced this “flock” of musicians to New Jersey, and America.

In my research, I found one source saying that this video’s “heavy rotation” on MTV earned the band the distinction of holding the record for video plays! This was due to “the lack of other music videos available during the music channel’s early years, and the demand for the futuristic look.”

The video was directed by Anthony Van Den Ende, who would later direct the video (most notably) for Melissa Etheridge’s “Like The Way I Do.”

This groundbreaking video (for the time) showed Mike Score sporting his distinctive hairstyle…resembling a seagull in flight.

Being a hairstylist, he used his skill and imagination to come up with the hairstyle that would define the band…and go on to represent 80’s pop culture…from a retro point of view.

Score, and the rest of the band, is seen in a room covered from floor to ceiling in aluminum foil…with floor mirrors that show the reflection of the video cameras.

The video cost 5,000 (UK) pounds to make…it was cheap…and it paid the guys back in…priceless…FAME.

Almost priceless.

The novelty wore off rather quickly for Mike Score…as the video made the hairstyle  more famous than the singer! He was often frustrated in interviews, seldom getting the chance to talk about the music. Most interviewers wanted to talk about…his hair.

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In a VH-1 interview a few years ago, Mike Score’s frustration came out, when he stated:

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“Every time I perform live, everyone just wants to hear ‘I Ran’…I’m sick of it!”

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In the years since, “I Ran” has entered into pop culture…as a part of TV shows, commercials, video games (Grand Theft Auto: Vice City), and more!

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Like the (above) TV clip (from “That 70’s Show”)…or, in a movie context (“Edge Of Seventeen” and the “Suburbans” for example), its used as a joke reference to the 1980’s…

“Pulp Fiction,” fans might recall that Samuel L. Jackson’s character gets the attention of a young man with an unusual hairstyle, by yelling: “Hey, Flock Of Seagulls!”

In “La La Land,” (which came out last year, and is currently showing on HBO), Ryan Gosling’s character is part of an 80’s cover band, and Emma Stone torments him into playing “I Ran.”

Where else have you seen or heard “I Ran” in everyday Jersey “pop culture?”

Go ahead…

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I KNOW that you want to sing along!

Let’s (briefly) continue the band’s timeline:

With the band’s success in America (particularly with live shows in Philadelphia), and declining fortunes at home in England…by around 1985, the Score brothers wanted to base the band just across the river from us…in Philadelphia!

Mike and Ali, and Frank Maudsley all applied for (and got) green cards, and stayed in Philadelphia. Soon, Maudsley got homesick and returned to England. Thus, the band essentially became made up of two parts, in two countries.

Ultimately, a fallout between the Score brothers led to a breakup in 1986.

But, that is not the end!

Mike Score reformed the band, along with Philadelphia musicians in 1988.Over the years, the band’s membership would change.

In 2003, the original lineup got together to perform on VH-1 (see the performance earlier in this blog). They would tour the US in 2004. In 2011, Frank Maudsley and Paul Reynolds performed in Liverpool as “A Flock Of Seagulls.” In 2014, Mike Score released a solo album called “Zeebratta.”

Mike Score’s version of A Flock Of Seagulls is listed as “active.”

One MORE “Fun Fact:”

While “I Ran (So Far Away)” was A Flock Of Seagulls’ biggest hit in New Jersey…it wasn’t their biggest hit in their native England!

That honor belongs to their NEXT single…

Do you have "Listen" in your home music library? (Craig Allen photo).
Do you have “Listen” in your home music library? (Craig Allen photo).

…off their followup album, “Listen”

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“Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” would be a #10 UK hit in 1982 (#26 in NJ).

And…that can be another story…for another weekend!

A Flock Of Seagulls…landed…then…

This seagull landed in Asbury Park! (Craig Allen photo)
This seagull (a mini-flock?) landed in Asbury Park! (Craig Allen photo)

…and now.

ENJOY their music on New Jersey 101.5, and here at nj1015.com!

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