Electric Blue (I Davies/ J Oates) – Icehouse 1987

 The second single lifted from the Man of Colours album, after Crazy, and co-written by Iva Davies and John Oates (Hall and Oates, further below), was Electric Blue which peaked at #7 US, #10 in Canada, and went all the way to #1 here and in NZ in August 1987. The album was also a huge local hit, climbing to #1 in Aust and NZ, selling over 700,000 copies, and picked up the 1988 ARIA Awards for Album of the Year and Highest-Selling Album of the Year.Icehoue 6Iva Davies had forsaken his Fairlight synthesizer and segued from icy cool electro-synth chart topper to guitar-slinging, globe-conquering rocker, complete with one of the most extravagant mullets in the business. John Oates had contacted Iva Davies in 1982 when their paths crossed at Adelaide Airport and indicated that he would like to write some songs with Davies, four years later when Icehouse toured the US, the two again discussed future collaboration.The next year Oates arrived in Sydney and the awkward process of the two working out just how they would pool their talents and write hit songs together commenced.Icehouse9This song gradually emerged from Oates singing the backing vocals and Davies chiming in with “it’s all over you” and imitating Hall’s falsetto to produce what sounded like a Hall and Oates song. The lyrics were finalised by Davies who sent them to Oates who recorded his backing vocals, adding his trademark harmonies, but the song needed a title, and the inspiration for Electric Blue is disputed. Davies recalls a lyric in the T. Rex song Jewel as his inspiration for the title “ her thoughts are gold, her eyes electric blue,” while Oates recalls being on the Lady Jayne nudist beach in Sydney thinking of a porno TV show he had seen called Electric Blue, which was the actual name of a Playboy soft porn channel in the UK. It has also been suggested that Oates did in fact have his favourite groupie Amanda Qualitza in mind and that the song and the title were a tribute to her, as she had already been the inspiration for the Hall/Oates hit Maneater five years before.

The promo video for Electric Blue was shot on the roof of 23-33 Mary Street, Surrey Hills (Syd), the headquarters of the Teachers Federation in NSW. The actress is Paris Jefferson (Xena:Warrior Princess, Janis Joplin, Anna Karenina) who also featured in the Icehouse music video, Crazy. The clip is a time capsule of 80’s music and fashions, Iva Davies rocks the most luxurious mullet in the business, and plays guitar with a dangling whammy bar (tremoloe arm) while wearing a leather trench coat, Simon Lloyd delivers the obligatory sax solo halfway through the song silhouetted against a sunset sky, Paul Wheeler on electronic drums and Stephen Morgan on bass drive the beat along, and Andy Qunta (co-composer of Your’re The Voice for Farnham) does the business on keytar – throw in a wind machine, and helicopter shots, and it would have every 80’s video gimmick available, but great memories nevertheless.icehouse8Electric Blue was the eighth best-selling record in Australia in 1987, Icehouse performed Electric Blue on stage at Madison Square Garden (NYC) in October of that year and were joined onstage by John Oates (below). Icehouse were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2006.icehouse5

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