Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another. This issue we will cover "Electric Blue" by Icehouse. The Australian band formed in 1977 and adopted the name Icehouse in 1981. Icehouse has been quite successful in Australia producing eight Top 10 albums and twenty Top 40 singles there. The biggest success was 1987’s album Man of Colours which was #1 on the Australian album charts for 11 weeks and even cracked the U.S. album charts. Man of Colours included the single “Crazy” which would reach #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, but also included "Electric Blue" which would become their biggest U.S. hit.
“Electric Blue” was released as a single in August of 1987. It reached #1 on the Australia pop chart in November of 1987, but wouldn't make its way over to the U.S. until a little later. The single peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at #7 in May of 1988 and is one of my personal favorites from that year. The song was actually co-written by Iva Davies with John Oates (from Hall & Oates). Oates became involved with Davies after contacting him to state he was a fan. The resulting collaboration produced “Electric Blue” and Oates has stated that if Davies had not released the song with Icehouse that it would have been a Hall & Oates track. I think it would be interesting to hear what it would sound like with Daryl Hall and John Oates performing it, but at the same time I am glad that Davies kept it for Icehouse. Here is the music video for “Electric Blue” by Icehouse…
Check out that outstanding '80s mullet! I had the pleasure of an interview with Iva Davies and asked him about the video and fashion image they were trying to convey at the time:
The video was one of a number from that time directed by U.S. director John Jopson. It was shot on a rooftop in central Sydney. I'm not sure that we were consciously crafting an image so much as enjoying the various clothes that were available at the time. I bought a lot of clothes in London, especially from designer Scott Crolla. I also bought a lot of leather clothing by Sydney designer Lynda Carr. I believe we tried fairly consciously to steer clear of a lot of the more "signature" '80s fashions. Although we were regarded as part of the Australian "punk" movement, we also avoided most of the clichés of punk fashion quite deliberately.
Surprisingly, Icehouse did not have another U.S. hit after "Electric Blue". Their last studio album was released in 1995, but Iva Davies and Icehouse are still performing (though his band-mates around him have changed over the years). In 2006, the band was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame and described as “one of the most successful Australian bands of the eighties and nineties.” And they had one of my favorite songs of 1988 in the U.S., too!
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!