Covering A Flock of Seagulls

The top two options when you type A Flock of Seagulls into google are A Flock of Seagulls I Ran and A Flock of Seagulls hair.

 

This came out during the Golden Age of music videos(for me). I loved MTV. I had always loved music, and the combination of music with visual images, combined with the chemical cocktail of puberty coursing through my veins made MTV the most compelling entertainment I had ever experienced. 1982 was very early on in MTV’s conception, and there was not a great deal of music videos available. They were almost all low budget and arty and very few of them were actually songs that were popular on American pop radio at the time. Promotional videos were not seen as a major part of music marketing yet. A Flock of Seagulls were able to hit the exact sweet spot of weird(but not too weird) artiness and a weird(but not too weird), compelling, futuristic sounding song. This video has the distinction of being the most played video ever on MTV, benefiting from both popularity and the relatively small number of available videos to play at the time. I have seen this video many, many times, as I was glued to MTV whenever I had a chance.

“I Ran” has achieved a sort of immortality that few songs achieve and A Flock of Seagulls is still a touring, money-making operation to this day, despite “I Ran” having barely reached the top ten when it was released.

Being an avid MTV watcher, I remember their follow up song,  “Space Age Love Song”, which did not receive constant airplay for very long and was a  minor hit.  I liked it a lot though, and because I wasn’t bashed over the head with it constantly, it holds a more important place in my mind than their big hit. I can’t even post the original video because it is not available in America.

I really loved the title, and the general “spaciness” of the song, the lyrics, the delay on the vocals in the last verse, and the general feel-good poppy teenaged emotions of it(I suppose, I was only 12 or 13). In my own mind this was their immortal song, and since I had never bought this album or single, it was almost a mythological thing to me, and private really, self-contained.

I became aware, a decade later, when I started making music myself, that there was(to me) a surprising amount of affection for A Flock of Seagulls by people making very different sounding music, and that ‘Space Age Love Song’ was a secret ‘hit’ for a lot of other like-minded people. Turned out that my favorite band at the time had even covered it! So really, they have two immortal songs, one in the mainstream and one in more indie circles. Their music is really simple, but they were actually pretty good.

Once I started making my own music and figuring out how that was actually done, I realized that ‘Space Age Love Song’ was something that would have been in my power to create, that it was in fact the type of song I’d like to have created. The idea of making my own version of it was born a very long time ago, but I never ended up doing it.

I was recently reminded of A Flock of Seagulls, and my mostly forgotten love of ‘Space Age Love Song’, and the cover of it that I never made. I shortly after realized that there wasn’t actually a reason not to do it.

When I first started recording music, there was pretty much zero chance that anyone besides my girlfriend and a few other friends were ever going to hear it.

I think the possibility of lots of people hearing it in the current internet environment can actually be somewhat of a hindrance to creation, because unrealistic expectations come with it. The satisfaction of making something you think is good is lessened some. People caring about what you are doing is not what makes you an artist, making art is what makes you an artist, this is an important thing to remember. The odds of any particular artist making a living with original art are so long, there is no reason to do it outside of your own motivation and love of creation.

All artists have a mother’s love for what they make, and it is pretty hard to be objective about your own creations in the moment, but I am very excited about my latest thing, which is my long time coming cover of ‘Space Age Love Song’.

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