|"I Ran (So Far Away)"|
|Single by A Flock of Seagulls|
|from the album A Flock of Seagulls|
|"Pick Me Up"|
|A Flock of Seagulls singles chronology|
A 25-second sample of "I Ran (So Far Away)" demonstrating the guitar echo effect and the alien abduction lyrics.
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"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 was the band's most successful single, topping the chart in Australia, and reaching numbers seven and nine in New Zealand and the United States respectively.
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 give the sense of an 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.
Three different versions of the song exist:
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 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.
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.
Despite success in Australia, New Zealand and the US, the single did not enjoy similar success in the band's home country (United Kingdom), failing to make the top 40.
In an interview on the VH1 special 100 Greatest Songs of the '80s, Mike Score said that he resents the song, but plays it live because people enjoy it. "I Ran" was listed at #55 on the countdown. In VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s, the song was listed at #2, with Mike Score's interview played again.
Although considered a 1980s new wave classic, the song experienced somewhat 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.
"I Ran" has been covered by a number of artists: