1987 found Icehouse making their inevitable “big commercial move” album that so many acts were also doing in the mid 80s. It speaks highly for Icehouse’s taste that their “groomed for maximum selling potential” release walks a finer line than most I can think of. “Man Of Colours” was unreservedly commercial, but not to the insulting levels that so many others plumbed. Was is simplified? Yes. Did it still have recognizable Icehouse DNA? Also yes. Did it have many differing single releases in many territories? Need you ask?
Icehouse Rarities 1987
• Crazy [US 12″ mix/a.k.a. Manic mix – 7:15]
The US/UK territories got a longer 12″ mix by Michael Brauer called the “Manic Mix” in the UK.
• Electric Blue [OZ 12″ ver.]
• Electric Blue [OZ 7″ ver.]
• Electric Blue [OZ dub mix]
Once more, Michael Brauer got the nod for the OZ 12″ mixes. This was their biggest hit in the US and Australia.
• Electric Blue [US Dub mix – 5:03]
• Electric Blue [US Inst. – 5:46]
• Electric Blue [ST edit – 4:10]
When Brauer mixes one Hemisphere, you know it… Thompson + Barbiero got the other one. The US mixes on promo were all very different.
• Electric Blue [US ext. mix – 7:32]
• Crazy [manic mix – 7:17]
• Over My Head – 3:49
The US Ext. mix got released in the UK on CD, making this single the one to source from. The OZ B-side, “Over My Head” also showed up there.
Next: …More Colour
It’s interesting how the Thompson/Barbiero remix of Electric Blue manages to sound almost more Icehouse that the album version. The extended percussive intro adds an extra level of artistry to a song that has pop song written all over it. Now I have nothing against the album version, it is a mature and artistic pop song on it’s own, but it gratifying to find that the remixers took the level of care to enhance the song at a time when that was no the norm. Listen to the cd mastering from the 12″ Remix collection and you will feel a certain rumbling that anchors you right into the heart of the song and allows it to wash over you. If I have just one complaint with the remix, it’s that this remix is guilty of the use of the cow bell effect that was just SO over used at the time…at least to my ears.
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Echorich – I just found out that the US LP tracks of “Crazy” and Electric Blue” are longer edits than what is on the OZ CD of MOC. I learn something new every day. Lots of love for “Electric Blue.” Just a fantastic pop song that reeks of John Oates contribution; and I still enjoy it. Those H+O backing harmonies never sounded better.
Man Of Colours has risen in my estimation over the past decades. You hit on something Monk, this was the time, the later 80s, of make or break for so many bands which had been pushing their wares, so to speak for upwards of a decade. We know those bands that succumbed to the temptations of fame at the expense of their sound, we know those bands that faded away or fell apart from the continually harder and harder tasks put upon them to reach commercial success. Icehouse made a few adjustments, like a race car driver’s team trying to get the throttle right or tighten the clutch to reach the checkered flag first, and Man of Colours is that supercar, firing on all cylinders and reaching the finish line, burning rubber all the way. Ok, so that was a bit over the top, but so few that started at the opening of the decade saw the end of it and those that did were less and less distinguishable from their beginnings. Opening with a windswept, romantic, fixated love song and ending with the Sturm und Drang of Sunrise, it’s Big Music, but not heavy music. Maybe the most telling song on the album is Nothing Too Serious that reminds the listener, as well as the singer himself, to relax and go with it. It has the one of the late 80s great pop songs in Electric Blue and even an Antipodean Spaghetti Western epic in Heartbreak Kid. Davies and Icehouse threw their chips down on a red seven with Man of Colours and broke the house. Okay, now I am physically and obviously metaphorically exhausted…
Echorich – Wow. Just…wow! I can’t believe I didn’t immediately genuflect towards your direction after this comment almost two years ago! Don’t forget… chicks dig, dig, d-i-g, dig, dig metaphor!
Kudos for finding some Icehouse pix that I’ve never seen before. The last two were new to my eyes.