I’ve mentioned previously that A Flock of Seagulls proved to be the worst headline band it’s ever been my misfortune to see.

Here’s the thing.   I saw one of their singles in a charity shop a while back going for 25p.  I decided to buy it and give it a listen.  Turns out that while it is ridiculously derivative of its time, it is also a cracking synth-pop mid-tempo tune:-

mp3: A Flock of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)

Before placing it on the turntable, I couldn’t quite work out if I actually knew it or not.  I thought the song title was familiar, but I couldn’t come up with a tune, chorus or lyric.  But that all changed within a few seconds of the needle hitting the groove.  Memories of actually dancing to it came flashing back…..

I still had to look things up for the info, details and facts.

It was released as a single in October 1982, climbing all the way to #10.  It would also be included on the album Listen, which was released in April 1983.

The version on offer today is ripped straight from the 7″ vinyl.  If you don’t like it, then be grateful that I didn’t seek out the album version, as it is about a minute and a half longer. And be truly thankful that the 12″ version wasn’t on offer in the charity shop as it comes in at a whopping nine plus minutes, and I’m guessing had all sorts of the electronic beeps and blips that were the fashion back in 1982.

But if you do like it, then I am simply pleased, as usual, to be of some use.



  1. As derivative as AFOS may have been, the provided a bridge for more and more Synth and New Wave to get radio exposure – and in the early 80s THAT was how you sold records. AFOS curated a particular sound that worked for 2 albums and gave them time to find popularity all over the world.
    I have a soft spot for Wishing – just because of that midtempo approach. The other night I was catching up on Netflix/Ryan Murphy Docu-Miniseries The Andy Warhol Diaries and just where it made perfect sense, AFOS’s Space Age Love Song was used to accompany footage around Andy Falling in love with Paramount Pictures executive Jon Gould. It was kind of transporting to those early years of the 80s that actually made it a decade.

  2. I liked Wishing and owned I Ran 12″ (yet another piece of vinyl that is absent). The sound can be argued as derivative now but was it derivative then? My recollection is that synth music (synth pop hadn’t yet been coined) was pushing boundaries – even the poppier sounds, even the ones with the wacky clothing and haircuts. The sound did become commercial and very quickly but most of the originators had moved on by then.

    The bands longevity in the pop sphere is due in no small part to a later American market where the band is very much seen as an integral part of what is now termed synth pop.

    Neither Wishing or I Ran are favourite songs of mine from that time but I’m still fond of both and the memories they evoke.

    This is a nice way to start a frosty morning with bright, clear, blue skies.

  3. Scouse synth bands with preposterous hairstyles were something of an epidemic in the early 80s (see also Lotus Eaters) and were mildly appealing at the time, but the decades have dimmed their charm. Originals and best were obviously OMD, who made four great albums and whose 80-83 stuff still sounds brilliant.

  4. AFOS are remembered as a synth pop outfit with trendy hairdos but they did have a very competent guitarist, at least for their popular years. A live drummer, too. (The song that broke “synth pop” in the States was ‘Cars’ by Gary Numan, but he had a full band as well.) AFOS were okay, I guess, but the thing I liked most about them was they got their band name from a Stranglers lyric.

  5. I picked up the first AFOS single initially because of the Bill Nelson connection. I bought subsequent singles and found them quite good. There were a number of things I liked about them, one of which was a recurring lyrical theme of regret over lost love, a love which one was likely never to experience again, and which called for stewing in one’s memories and pining away in solitude and introspective thought (shades of The Paris Match!). I was at that emo stage of life where such things were oh so important, and seemed fated to be permanent, rather than transitory. So singles like this, combined with a more poppy electronica than bands like OMD provided, really hit the spot. I’d almost venture to say that, along the lines of what FlimFlamFan says above, this single and others by AFOS sound derivative because they defined the derivation…they took that nascent electronic movement and pushed it into the mainstream…and made themselves derivative caricatures in the process. Sadly, unlike DEVO who always remained cognizant of the joke they were playing a role in, AFOS seemed to get lost in it, and by their second album most of their efforts were pretty pedestrian as far as I was concerned, and I stopped paying attention to them after that.

    I still really like this song (and, yes, even the 9 minute long version!) though I doubt anyone today of the age I was when I first heard it could ever conceive of NOT having a photograph of someone they had such serious feelings for. If they remade it today it would have to be “Wishing (If I Didn’t Have so Many Photographs of You)”

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