I Ran (So Far Away)
|"I Ran (So Far Away)"|
|Single by A Flock of Seagulls|
|from the album A Flock of Seagulls|
|B-side||"Pick Me Up"|
|A Flock of Seagulls singles chronology|
"I Ran (So Far Away)", 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 numbers seven and nine in New Zealand and the United States respectively, although the single did not enjoy similar success in the band's home country (United Kingdom), failing to make the top 40. 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."
Recording and composition
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 gotten 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.
"I Ran (So Far Away)" was recorded at Battery Studios in London with producer Mike Howlett. It is a new wave and synth-pop song, with a run time of five minutes and seven seconds. 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. During the song's introduction and musical interludes, short guitar riffs are played, which make use of echo. Guitarist Paul Reynolds had joined the band after the music was already written, so the short guitar riffs were added for Reynolds to play. 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.
- 7" Jive VS 102 (US) – 1982
|1.||"I Ran (So Far Away)"||3:56|
|2.||"Pick Me Up"||3:06|
- 12" Jive T14 (UK) – 1982
|1.||"I Ran (So Far Away)"||5:02|
|3.||"Pick Me Up"||3:07|
- CD August Day 40 (UK) – 2018
|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|
Three different versions of the song exist:
- The album version (5:07) features an introduction with swirling synthesizer noises imitating gulls which then segues into a lengthy instrumental passage by the band before leading into the main song. It concludes with a guitar solo and comes to a full ending. This version was featured on some pressings of A Flock of Seagulls and is featured on all CD versions of the album.
- The video version (3:58) omits most of the introductory section and begins with a cymbal crash but retains the full ending of the long version. This version was featured on some pressings of A Flock of Seagulls.
- The radio edit (3:43) begins with a cymbal crash and loops the song's final chorus, fading out at the end.
Single release and legacy
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, and helped the single to become a hit.
As Dave Thompson has pointed out, the song was "punningly political at a time when Iran itself was making headlines around the clock". The song and the band were an "irresistible" package for American audiences, and by the summer of 1982, "America was clutching Flock of Seagulls to its heart".
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.
In the VH1 special 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s, "I Ran" was listed at No. 55 on the countdown,[better source needed] while on the VH1 special 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s, the song was listed at No. 2.
Although considered a 1980s new wave classic, the song experienced something of a revival in 2002 as the signature theme for the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, being played during the game's television commercials and during gameplay as one of the songs in the playlist for radio station Wave 103.
The song's apparent references to Iran were highlighted again in the fall of 2007, when the long-running American television show Saturday Night Live ran a parody version of the song that expressly mocked current Iranian policies like Holocaust denial.
Charts and certifications
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- Tucker, Ken (11 February 1983). "Invasion warning (Adam Ant's on his way)". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
- "I Ran by A Flock of Seagulls – Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes. Retrieved 25 November 2017.
- 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.
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- Steinberg, Jacques (4 October 2007). "New Video Gives 'SNL' Another Hit on the Web". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
- "Hits of the World". Billboard. 7 August 1982. p. 61. ISSN 0006-2510.
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- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. 23 October 1982. p. 80. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Dance/Disco Top 80". Billboard. 3 July 1982. p. 40. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Rock Albums & Top Tracks". Billboard. 28 August 1982. p. 24. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending OCTOBER 23, 1982". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012.
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- "Top Disco/Dance Singles/Albums". Billboard. Vol. 94 no. 51. 25 December 1982. p. 36. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "British single certifications – A Flock of Seagulls – I Ran". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 18 October 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type I Ran in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.