Playing Pinball With The Man Under The Most Famous Hair Of The ’80s

July 18, 2008

For better or for worse, A Flock Of Seagulls was the first band that I truly adopted as my band. Hey, it is what it is. I Ran hit the airwaves and hooked me, the cover art for their debut album fascinated me, and I loved the name.

Their image was a relatively insignificant factor as MTV didn’t arrive for us until two years after the band. The infamous coif of lead singer Mike Score was memorable, but I simply loved the songs. They sounded like the future.

Before the ‘80s ended, but well past A Flock Of Seagulls’ brief burst of popularity, a desire to finally see them live led me to a dive in a rather dodgy area of Indianapolis. My girlfriend at the time – whose interest in music was limited and in the Lionel Richie, Air Supply portion of the dial – was a trooper.

And so, my reward was original lead singer Score and four other guys who could have been any anonymous hair metal band from the late ‘80s – they were three seagulls shy of the MTV-era flock.

Somehow, I ended up playing pinball with Score. He seemed quite miserable as the front man for White Lion and he told me how the rest of the original band was back in England because “they didn’t want to work.” Surprisingly, I don’t recall if he was good at pinball.

As for the infamous hair, it was not fussed over, but simply pulled back into a long ponytail and tucked under a baseball cap.

Now, despite popular perception that has labeled A Flock A Seagulls as fluff and snarky pop culture types who use them for target practice, I will defend my first band. True, although they, too, were from Liverpool, they were no Beatles, but they were certainly no Oxo, either.

A Flock Of Seagulls – A Space Age Love Song
Sure, I Ran was the bigger hit and, for the most part, only those who lived through 1982 could even name another song by the band. However, I’ve always preferred A Space Age Love Song to the former. It’s very wooshy in the best possible way.

A Flock Of Seagulls – Committed
Not even possessing a turntable, I would still browse the bins of vinyl in 1983, trying to find music by A Flock Of Seagulls which wasn’t available on cassette. This was how I discovered the twelve-inch single, specifically one for their song (It’s Not Me) Talking with the eye-catching cover featuring a giant seagull attacking a building. I can’t recall if Committed was on there or not, but it’s a delightfully manic little track which never appeared on an actual album.

A Flock Of Seagulls – Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)
This is the song – their Stairway To Heaven, their Free Bird, their Satisfaction. If Phil Spector had been born twenty years later, this is what it would have sounded like.

A Flock Of Seagulls – Transfer Affection
Most of the time A Flock Of Seagulls sang about aliens, Russian cosmonauts, technology, and aliens. However, Transfer Affection was one of their few ballads and even though it still has an icy cool about it, it’s actually rather sweet.

A Flock Of Seagulls – The More You Live, The More You Love
From the band’s third album (and ultimate swansong) The Story Of A Young Heart, The More You Love, The More You Love got a bit of radio play where I lived and, as MTV was available by 1984 for our community, I do recall seeing the video a handful of times. Not a bad way to go out.