I Ran (So Far Away)

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"I Ran (So Far Away)"
Single by A Flock of Seagulls
from the album A Flock of Seagulls
B-side"Pick Me Up"
Released20 March 1982[1]
StudioBattery, London
  • 5:07 (album version)
  • 3:58 (video version)
  • 3:43 (radio edit)
Producer(s)Mike Howlett
A Flock of Seagulls singles chronology
"I Ran (So Far Away)"
"Space Age Love Song"
Music video
"I Ran" on YouTube

"I Ran (So Far Away)",[2] also released as "I Ran", is a song by English new wave band A Flock of Seagulls. It was released in 1982 as their third single and it was the second single from their self-titled debut album. It topped the chart in Australia, and reached number seven in New Zealand and number nine in the United States. It was not successful in Europe and only reached number 31 in Germany.[3] In the band's home country of the United Kingdom it reached number 43.[4] However, the song was certified silver by the BPI.

In an article for Rolling Stone titled, Anglomania: The Second British Invasion, Parke Puterbaugh wrote of the impact of the song's music video on its US chart success, "Fronted by a singer-synth player with a haircut stranger than anything you'd be likely to encounter in a month of poodle shows, A Flock of Seagulls struck gold on the first try."[5]

Recording and composition[edit]

Lead vocalist Mike Score says that there were two main sources of inspiration for "I Ran (So Far Away)". The members of A Flock of Seagulls would regularly visit Eric's Club in Liverpool, where one of the bands had a song called "I Ran". Score noted that because A Flock of Seagulls would rehearse right after returning from Eric's, the song title and chorus may have got stuck in his head. Another idea came from a poster at a Zoo Records office. The band had gone there with the intent of securing a recording contract, and they wanted to use the poster, which featured a man and a woman running away from a flying saucer, as the cover for their first album, A Flock of Seagulls (1982). This depiction also helped spark the song's unusual space-like lyrics.[6]

"I Ran (So Far Away)" was recorded at Battery Studios in London with producer Mike Howlett.[7] It is a new wave[8][9] and synth-pop song,[10] with a run time of five minutes and seven seconds.[7] According to the sheet music, the song moves at a quick tempo of 145 beats per minute. With a chord progression of A-G-A-G in the verses and F-G-A in the choruses, the song is written in the key of A minor.[11] During the song's introduction and musical interludes, short guitar riffs are played, which make use of echo.[6] Guitarist Paul Reynolds had joined the band after the music was already written, so the short guitar riffs were added for Reynolds to play.[6] Lyrically, "I Ran (So Far Away)" is about a man who sees an attractive woman and attempts to run away from his feelings. Before this happens, the man sees an aurora in the sky, and he and the woman are abducted by aliens.[12]

Music video[edit]

In an interview for Greg Prato's 2011 book, MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video, Mike Score had recalled of his memories filming the "I Ran" music video: "[The 'I Ran' video] is just basically being stupid. [Laughs] You know, 'Stand here, the camera is going to be in the middle, and you're going to try and do something.' And, of course, we had no idea what to do in a video. Videos were not the 'mini-movies' yet. If it was up to the band, we probably would have just stood there in our wild gear and gone, 'OK, we'll just pretend to play.' But they wanted a little bit more, a little bit more angular and quirky. It seems to me that all the early videos had to be quirky. I guess nobody was taking them seriously until somebody dropped a million dollars on one."[13]

Track listing[edit]

7" Jive VS 102 (US) – 1982[14]
1."I Ran (So Far Away)"3:56
2."Pick Me Up"3:06
12" Jive T14 (UK) – 1982[14]
1."I Ran (So Far Away)"5:02
3."Pick Me Up"3:07
CD August Day 40 (UK) – 2018[15]
1."I Ran (So Far Away) [Orchestral Version]"6:22
2."I Ran (So Far Away) [Main Version]"5:03
3."I Ran (So Far Away) [Long And Expanded Remix]"7:32
4."I Ran (So Far Away) [Orchestral Extended Remix Instrumental]"7:52
5."I Ran (So Far Away) [BRS Vocal Remix]"7:26
6."I Ran (So Far Away) [Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca Hypno Vocal Mix]"6:04
7."I Ran (So Far Away) [Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca Presto Instrumental Mix]"6:08
8."I Ran (So Far Away) [Long And Expanded Remix Instrumental]"7:32
9."I Ran (So Far Away) [Main Version Instrumental]"5:01
10."I Ran (So Far Away) [Situation Dubside Remix]"6:00

Single release and legacy[edit]

The single was promoted by a distinctive music video directed by Tony van den Ende in which the band members performed in a room covered in aluminium foil and mirrors. The cameras used to film the video are clearly visible in many of the background reflections, their stands also covered in foil. The video is an homage to Brian Eno and Robert Fripp's (No Pussyfooting) album cover, which was also portrayed by the Strokes in the video for their single, "The End Has No End," two decades later. The video received heavy rotation on MTV in the summer of 1982,[2] and helped the single to become a hit.

With its abbreviated title and beginning of its chorus matching how some Americans pronounce Iran (IPA: /ˈræn/ or eye-RAN), the song was heard by Americans as "punningly political at a time when Iran itself was making headlines around the clock".[16] The song, the music video, and the band were an "irresistible" package for American audiences, and by the summer of 1982, "America was clutching A Flock of Seagulls to its heart".[16] According to comedian Maz Jobrani, the release of the song was a "disaster" for Iranian-American children like himself (then 10 years old). They were cruelly teased by other American children with the song's misheard chorus: "I-ran, I-ran so far away."[17]

The band toured the United States extensively to promote the single, supporting Squeeze on their 1982 tour. As well as reaching number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, "I Ran" peaked at number 3 on the Top Tracks chart and number 8 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. Subsequently, the album reached number 10 on the Billboard 200.[18]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[34] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Gold 500,000

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hung, Steffen. "A Flock Of Seagulls - I Ran". hitparade.ch.
  2. ^ a b Demalon, Tom. "A Flock of Seagulls – Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  3. ^ "A Flock Of Seagulls - I Ran - ultratop.be". www.ultratop.be. Retrieved 4 September 2023.
  4. ^ "I RAN: Official Charts". Official Charts.
  5. ^ Puterbaugh, Parke (10 November 1983). "Anglomania: The Second British Invasion". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Behind the Vinyl – I Ran (So Far Away) – Mike Score from A Flock of Seagulls". CHBM-FM. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  7. ^ a b A Flock of Seagulls (liner notes). A Flock of Seagulls. Jive Records. 1982.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ Silberman, Jeff (13 May 2000). "Simply the Best: A Quarter Century of Arista". Billboard. Vol. 112, no. 20. p. 52. ISSN 0006-2510.
  9. ^ "Sept. 18 > Flock of Seagulls". Orange Coast Magazine. September 2008. p. 226. ISSN 0279-0483.
  10. ^ Tucker, Ken (11 February 1983). "Invasion warning (Adam Ant's on his way)". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  11. ^ "I Ran by A Flock of Seagulls – Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes. 28 April 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  12. ^ Allen, Craig (21 October 2017). "Craig Allen's Fun Facts: 'I Ran (So Far Away)' by A Flock of Seagulls". WKXW. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
  13. ^ Prato, Greg (2011). MTV Ruled the World: The Early Years of Music Video. Kindle Direct. p. 210. ISBN 9780578071978.
  14. ^ a b c "A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  15. ^ I Ran (So Far Away) (liner notes). A Flock of Seagulls. Zomba Music Publishers. 2018. ADAY040.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  16. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (2000). Alternative Rock: Third Ear – The Essential Listening Companion. San Francisco: Miller Freeman Books. p. 142. ISBN 9780879306076.
  17. ^ Jobrani, Maz (2015). I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One on TV: Memoirs of a Middle Eastern Funny Man. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 52. ISBN 9781476750002.
  18. ^ "A Flock of Seagulls – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  19. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. 7 August 1982. p. 61. ISSN 0006-2510.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6547." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  21. ^ "A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  22. ^ "A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  23. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  24. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. 23 October 1982. p. 80. ISSN 0006-2510.
  25. ^ "Dance/Disco Top 80". Billboard. 3 July 1982. p. 40. ISSN 0006-2510.
  26. ^ "Rock Albums & Top Tracks". Billboard. 28 August 1982. p. 24. ISSN 0006-2510.
  27. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending OCTOBER 23, 1982". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012.
  28. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1982". Kent Music Report. 3 January 1983. Retrieved 22 January 2023 – via Imgur.
  29. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  30. ^ "End of Year Charts 1982". Recorded Music New Zealand. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1982". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 12 January 2014.
  32. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1982". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012.
  33. ^ "Top Disco/Dance Singles/Albums". Billboard. Vol. 94, no. 51. 25 December 1982. p. 36. ISSN 0006-2510.
  34. ^ "Platinum and Gold Singles 1982". Kent Music Report. 28 February 1983. Retrieved 10 November 2021 – via Imgur.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 December 2023.