In 1982, A Flock Of Seagulls helped propel New Wave into the Top 10 worldwide by merging synthesizers and guitars on their debut single, “I Ran (So Far Away).” That mesh of synthesizers and guitars proved to be successful for the Liverpool quartet on several more singles, including 1983’s “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You),” from their second album, LISTEN.
“Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” entered the BILLBOARD Hot 100’s Top 40 in June 1983, and, after moving from No. 40 to No. 30 the following week, “Wishing” seemed headed to repeat the Top 10 success of “I Ran.” But, after a few weeks of inching up the chart, it stopped at No. 26 for a couple weeks in July 1983 and spent 14 total weeks on the Hot 100. It was the band’s second-biggest hit in America, but unlike “I Ran,” which was primarily a big hit just in the U.S. and Australia, “Wishing” had a more global reach, hitting No. 10 in their U.K. homeland, No. 6 in Ireland, No. 8 in South Africa and No. 19 in Canada. It was also a No. 3 hit on BILLBOARD’s Rock chart and No. 26 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart.
Chart stats aside, “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You)” has got some real layering and substance to it, and is not your traditional Top 40 song. You can’t really dance to it, it’s not the happiest song in the world, and it’s not surprising it wasn’t a big hit in America. It didn’t sound like anything out at the time. For example, the week it peaked at No. 26 on the Hot 100, “Maniac” by Michael Sembello,” Loverboy’s “Hot Girls In Love” and Bryan Adams’ “Cuts Like A Knife” all leapfrogged over “Wishing.”
But, not sounding like anything else out at the time only increased my love for “Wishing.” It’s not my favorite song by them (that would be “Space Age Love Song”), but I think it’s their best. I’ve always thought that…