Song of the Day #5,171: ‘Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)’ – Flock of Seagulls

Why do so many one-hit wonders come from the 80s new wave scene? Is it just that there were so many of these acts recording at the same time, so individual songs had a better chance of finding success than whole bands?

It’s debatable whether Flock of Seagulls should be considered a one-hit wonder. They placed four songs on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, though only ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ reached the top ten. And ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ is actually the fifth highest-charting song in their native UK, suggesting it might not even be the one hit.

But from my thoroughly American perspective, they fit the bill.

Flock of Seagull’s second-best performing song in the U.S., and their only top ten hit in the UK, was ‘Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You).’ This is the first song on their second album, 1983’s Listen.

I like this song quite a bit. It’s not as instantly catchy as ‘I Ran’ but it cuts a little deeper, tapping into a melancholy vein but buoyed by the persistent synths. Like so many 80s pop songs, this one still slaps.

[Verse 1]
It’s not the way you look, it’s not the way that you smile
Although there’s something to them
It’s not the way you have your hair, it’s not that certain style
It could be that perfume

[Chorus]
If I had a photograph of you
Or something to remind me
I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing

[Verse 2]
It’s not the makeup and it’s not the way that you dance
It’s not the evening sky
It’s more the way your eyes are laughing as they glance
Across the great divide

[Chorus]
If I had a photograph of you
Or something to remind me
I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing

[Bridge]
It’s not the things you say, it’s not the things you do
It must be something more
And if I feel this way for so long, tell me is it all for nothing
You’ll still walk out the door

[Chorus]
If I had a photograph of you
Or something to remind me
I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #5,171: ‘Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)’ – Flock of Seagulls

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Oh, that cat’s ears hair! Welcome to the 80s.

    I’m not familiar with today’s song, though I do know “Space Age Love Song.” Can’t say I was much of a fan of Flock of Seagulls, so one or two hits from them is quite enough for me.

    Meanwhile, I’m not sure the 80s produced more one-hit-wonders than other decades. I just think those from the 80s are more on your radar, probably mostly due to you watching MTV back then, and then the more recent renaissance and trendiness of that decade’s music, aided most recently by shows like “Stranger Things.”

  2. Amy says:

    This song isn’t familiar at all. Was “I Ran” featured in a film? Sometimes that soundtrack feature made all the difference.

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