You remember Icehouse, You just may not remember that you remember Icehouse. The Australian band had two Top 20 singles in 1987/88 and was a staple of rock radio throughout the ’80s, but right now not a single Icehouse album is in print in the United States.  You can’t even download any of their output.

This truly baffles me. Hold on a second, OK? I’m going to try an experiment. Be right back. While I’m gone, check out this Icehouse classic:

Man Of Colours

Icehouse: “Electric Blue” (Iva Davies/John Oates)

From the album Man Of Colours

Chrysalis Records, 1987

Electric Blue

Ok, I’m back. While you were listening, I tried to think of one of the most obscure one-hit wonder albums of the ’80s. My brain spit out soap star Jack Wagner’s 1984 album All I Need. Off to Amazon I went. Sure enough, you can buy a lovely brand-new remastered CD copy of All I Need for a mere $15.23. If you want to add Man Of Colours to your basket, that will cost you an additional $79.99.

As I said, I am baffled. Icehouse was a great band. If you are anywhere near my ripe old age of mid-fortysomething, I know you were singing along to “Electric Blue” within seconds. Why is it so hard to find this song? It’s not like it was a minor hit: “Electric Blue” made it all the way to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1988, and the video was all over MTV. It was even co-written by none other than John Oates, who apparently had a thing for working with guys with tremendous mullets:

daryl hall    ivadavies7

Daryl Hall                                                          Iva Davies

Iva Davies formed the band Flowers in Sydney in 1977, and by 1981 they had changed their name to Icehouse. From the beginning, they embraced the atmospheric synth sounds heard in the music of Roxy Music and Ultravox. Their first album produced some big hits in their native Australia, and this song that made it up to #62 in the United States:

Icehouse

Icehouse: “We Can Get Together” (Iva Davies)

From the album Icehouse

Chrysalis Records, 1981

We Can Get Together

In 1982, Icehouse released Primitive Man. It was at this point that I saw the video for “Great Southern Land” on MTV, and I was hooked. Primitive Man remains one of my favorite albums of the ’80s.

Primitive Man

Icehouse: “Great Southern Land” (Iva Davies)

From the album Primitive Man

Chrysalis Records, 1982

Great Southern Land

Another great atmospheric track from the same album:

Icehouse: “Hey Little Girl” (Iva Davies)

Hey Little Girl

1984’s Sidewalk didn’t produce as many hits as Primitive Man, but “Don’t Believe Anymore” gets me every time.

Sidewalk

Icehouse: “Don’t Believe Anymore” (Iva Davies)

From the album Sidewalk

Chrysalis Records, 1984

Don’t Believe Anymore

And here we are. “No Promises.” Simply put, one of the best songs of the ’80s. Pop music doesn’t get any better than this.

Measure For Measure

Icehouse: “No Promises” (Iva Davies/Robert Kretschmer)

From the album Measure For Measure

Chrysalis Records, 1986

No Promises

Brian Eno contributed keyboards to the Measure For Measure album, and the presence of one of their heroes clearly elevated Icehouse to new levels. They quickly followed up Measure For Measure with what was to become their most successful album: 1987’s Man Of Colours. In addition to “Electric Blue,” this song also hit the Top 20 in the United States.

Man Of Colours

Icehouse: “Crazy” (Iva Davies/Robert Kretschmer/Andy Qunta)

From the album Man Of Colours

Chrysalis Records, 1987

Crazy

“Crazy” made it all the way up to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Like “Electric Blue,” it was all over the radio and MTV in late 1987/early 1988. In 2013, you have to pay $79.99 to buy it– or can you listen to it for free on The Analog Kid blog. You’re welcome.

Here’s one more great song from the Man Of Colours album. The title track wasn’t released as a single in America, but it’s one of my favorite tracks from the record. Another moody masterpiece:

Icehouse: “Man Of Colours” (Iva Davies)

Man Of Colours

Look, I could go on all day about this band. I kinda like ’em a lot, so I’ll go ahead and save some songs for another future blog entry. Icehouse recently performed together for the first time in years in their native Australia, and they were greeted like conquering heroes. In America, we have to settle for an occasional airing of “Electric Blue” on Sirius.

Crazy.

About The Analog Kid

"I'm 5-foot-8, 123 pounds. I have, uh, brown hair, blue eyes. I enjoy surfing, backgammon and men who aren't afraid to cry."

3 responses »

  1. surpriseh says:

    Or random coffeehouses in our nation’s capital…

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