100 Greatest Songs of the 1980’s #86 Icehouse – Hey Little Girl

Released : 1982

Iva Davies – the creative fulcrum of Icehouse, one of Australia’s most successful bands of the pre-Hutchence era – arrived at rock via a training in classical music having begun at the age of six on the bagpipes, joining his local club in Wagga Wagga at the age of six.

Formed in 1977, Icehouse were at the start far more staid musically, a reflection of a continent still largely isolated from the hurricane force of punk emanating from Britain. Effectively dissolving the band at the end of 1981, Davies would go on to record the album Primitive Man as a solo project, working with Derek Forsey who subsequently would be responsible for Simple Minds Don’t You (Forget About Me) and incorporating synthesisers and the then cutting edge LinnDrum machine in place of people.

Recording alone, there are echoes in Hey Little Girl which reflect that change in process, of having a small circle with which to share ideas and take confidence. Davies sings like Bryan Ferry – this could almost be a cut from Roxy’s Avalon – but the combination of chilly, downtempo mood and vengeful lyrics made for a claustrophobic backdrop framed by a devilishly simple, bittersweet chorus. And no, the pipes don’t make an appearance.

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