This is the opening song of the album, which is a concept piece about an alien invasion of Earth. The song itself describes a person seeing an attractive female - he becomes anxious and wants to run away from his feelings but he can't forget her. Then they are both abducted by the aliens.
The imaginative (for the time) video broke the band in the US during the early days of MTV. The video was directed by Anthony Van Den Ende, who later did Killing Joke's "Eighties" and Melissa Etheridge's "Like the Way I Do" and "Bring Me Some Water."
The video shows lead singer Mike Score in a room covered from floor to ceiling with aluminum foil and also floor mirrors in which you can see the reflection of the cameras.
Along with Duran Duran, Thompson Twins, and ABC, A Flock of Seagulls was a British pop band who owed their American success almost entirely to MTV. Mike Score, along with the band's bass player Frank Maudsley, were hairdressers, and they put their skills to use in creating that distinctive hairstyle that not only defined the group, but entered the pop culture landscape - witness Samuel L. Jackson's character Jules get a cleverly coiffed young man's attention by yelling "Hey, Flock of Seagulls!" in the movie Pulp Fiction.
The video cost just £5,000 to make, but it gave a huge return. For Score, the novelty wore off quickly, as his hair was much more famous than he was. He rarely got to talk about his music because interviewers were always asking about the hair.
Lead singer Mike Score recalled the day he wrote the song to Billboard:
"We'd just been to the Cavern in Liverpool and saw a band play a song called 'I Ran' and thought, 'What a great name,' although we didn't particularly like the song. And then the next day saw a picture from the 1950s of a flying saucer and two people running away from it. And because we had this sci-fi thing going on, it was like 'look at that! First 'I Ran' and now that!' So even though we had the basics of the music already, we went to rehearsal that night and the picture was in my head and we started to try to formulate words about that.
And when I'm playing live, that picture comes back into my mind. And of course movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the flying saucer coming out of the clouds, that contributed to lyrics, and all that comes through your mind and it makes you smile."
Flock leader Mike Score said in a VH1 interview: "Every time I perform live, everyone just wants to hear 'I Ran'... I'm sick of it!"
He softened his stance when he spoke with Songfacts in 2018. "I don't think it's the best song we've got, although it was the biggest hit. I have moments where I think 'Space Age" target="_blank">Space Age' is a lot better, or 'Wishing' is a lot better. It depends on the mood I'm in, or the emotional state I'm in at the time. But I like to play it live, because the crowd loves it. Especially at nostalgia gigs like this tour, you want to give people what they remembered, and they remember 'I Ran,' and they all get into it and have a great time. It puts a big smile on your face."
The band was not named after their hairstyles, but after a combination of a book title and a lyric. Mike Score was a big fan of the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and of The Stranglers, whose song "Toiler On The Sea" has the refrain: "A flock of seagulls."
When this song does appear in movies, it's often in jokey reference to the time period. It shows up in the 1998 film Edge of Seventeen, which is set in 1984, and in the 1999 film The Suburbans, about an '80s cover band. In the 2016 film La La Land, Ryan Gosling's jazz-snob character ends up playing keyboards in an '80s cover band, and Emma Stone's character torments him by requesting this song and dancing along to it as he's forced to play it.
The band Bowling For Soup covered this on the 2003 re-release of their album Drunk Enough To Dance. Other acts to cover it include Cranial Screwtop and Assemblage 23.
This is the theme song of the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and was used in the TV advertisements for that game.
A portion of the song was used as the opening for the cartoon Knights of the Zodiac.
John from Socal"The video shows the lead singer Mike Score sporting a distinctive hairstyle resembling a seagull in flight..."
Unless I'm wrong this video *doesn't* show that iconic hairstyle, but the more mundane 'Big 80s Hair.' I think the book by Lori Majewski and Jonathan Bernstein tells a story that the better-known style came about while they were all crowding in front of a small mirror prior to a show. Someone (Frank?) tried to push Mike out of the way and pushed his hair down. He'd just sprayed it with a lot of hairspray, and it stuck -- and he went with it.
Rico from The MoonThe song's simplistic keyboard line is referenced in the film "La La Land". The female lead requests that the male lead (an accomplished Jazz piano player) perform the song in public at a party.
Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 4th 1982, "I Ran (So Far Away)" by Flock of Seagulls entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #86; and on October 17th it peaked at #9 (for 2 weeks) and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100... And on August 2nd, 1977 it reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on the Australian Kent Music Report chart... The group had two other Top 100 records; "Space Age Love Song" (peaked at #30) and "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" (reached #26).
Doug from Ontario, OnThis is NOT the Vice City theme song, though it was used heavily in advertisments for the game, and certainly reminds me alot of it. Vice City had it's own original theme.
David from Syracuse, NyLove this song, listen to it on a good set of headphones, and you will appreciate it even more.
Claude from Kingston, MaI've never heard anyone talk about the guitar in this song. The little riffs between the lines are really well done.
Lisa from Nyc, Cahow exactly is this about witchcraftt? Somebody please explain why this is listed in the witchcraft section
Lester from New York City, NyI have never really been sure why, but this song reminds me of Psychotic Reaction
Vince from Salisbury, MdThis song has one of the sickest basslines ever.
Michael from San Diego, CaI really liked the VH-1 "Bands Reunited" episode where they got the band back together, and played this song with the two fueding Score brothers making nice and their Mom watching the performance with absolute glee.
Jeff from Nashville, TnThis song didn't win a Grammy, Jeff. It was the song "DNA" that won for best rock instrumental.
Jill from Decatur, GaLead Singer Mike Score has said on VH1 that he hates playing this song.
Ed from Incognito, IlThis song is so cheesey, that it has become cool.
Jeff from Liverpool, Englandthis song won a grammy award in the us in 1983
Mike from Hueytown , AlGreat Song. The video is hilarious. Those old cheap cheesy videos are classic.
Darrell from Williamsburg, KyAwesome drum roll!
Ave from Philadelphia, PaAurora Borealis is another name for the Northern Lights. Aurora is the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas is Greek for "North Wind".
Chris from Charleston, ScMany people have joked about the way Mike Score was playing keyboard in the video. There are some inconsistencies with the video and how the song was actually played. The keyboard we see in the video is a Roland SH-09 synthesizer. At some points, Score is seen playing chords (more than one key pressed) on the keyboard, when the SH-09 is monophonic (only one key can be played at a time). The RS-09 was not used on this track, despite being in the video. The playing style is just for show. The ridiculous one-finger theatrics that can be seen for most of the video are of course also just for show, but he appears to be pressing some of the correct note(s). The gear Mike Score used in reality were a Korg MS-10 and a Korg Delta. The MS-10 (monophonic) was used for the low, droning sounds in the background, and the Delta was used for the higher, string-like sounds that are heard near the beginning of the song.