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Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)

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Title: Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)  
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Language: English
Subject: The Icicle Works, Permanent Damage, Blind (The Icicle Works album), If You Want to Defeat Your Enemy, Sing His Song, Ian McNabb
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)

"Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)"
Single by The Icicle Works
from the album The Icicle Works
B-side "In the Cauldron of Love"
Released June 1983 (UK)
March 1984 (US/UK re-release)
Recorded 1983
Genre New wave, alternative rock
Length 3:45
Label Beggars Banquet
Writer(s) Ian McNabb
Producer(s) Hugh Jones
The Icicle Works singles chronology
"Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)"
"Love Is a Wonderful Colour"

"Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)", given the reversed title "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)" in some markets, is a song by the British band The Icicle Works. It was released in 1983 as the first single from the band's 1984 debut album The Icicle Works. The song was written by the band's lead singer, Ian McNabb and produced by Hugh Jones.


  • UK releases 1
  • U.S. release 2
  • Track listings 3
  • Canadian release 4
  • Covers and use in media 5
  • External links 6

UK releases

The recording was initially released as a single in Britain in June 1983 as "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" on the Situation Two label. This initial release hit #2 on the UK independent charts, and scraped the lower reaches of the overall UK national charts at #89.

After The Icicle Works' next UK single "Love Is a Wonderful Colour" hit #15 on the UK charts in late 1983 and early 1984, Beggars Banquet Records re-released "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" in March 1984 with a new cover and B-side. This re-release climbed to #52 in the UK.

U.S. release

In the U.S., Arista Records refused to release the record unless some changes were made. First, the track was remixed slightly in order to remove a brief spoken-word intro that was heard over the opening bars of music. (The woman performing this intro was identified only as "Mariella" on the original Situation Two single sleeve.) Then the song title was reversed, becoming "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)". This change was made so that the record's primary title would match the words sung repeatedly in the chorus, making it easier for radio listeners to track down the record in the stores.

Finally, Arista shortened the band's name to "Icicle Works", removing the initial "The". With these changes made, in the summer of 1984 "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)" by Icicle Works reached #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #34 on Cashbox's singles chart.

Track listings

1991 release

7" Record

  1. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:46)
  2. Reverie Girl (3:54)

12" Record

  1. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:52)
  2. Reverie Girl (3:55)
  3. Gunboys (3:44)
1984 release

7" Record [UK]

  1. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:48)
  2. In The Cauldron Of Love (3:50)

7" Record [Canada]

  1. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:48)
  2. Scarecrow (3:06)

12" Record (BEG 108T)

  1. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:48)
  2. In The Cauldron Of Love (3:50)
  3. Scarecrow (3:06)
  4. Ragweed Campaign (4:12)

12" Record (BEG 108TD)

  1. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:48)
  2. In The Cauldron Of Love (3:50)
  3. Birds Fly (Frantic Mix) (5.20)

12" Record (BEG 108TR)

  1. Birds Fly (Frantic Mix) (5:20)
  2. Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream) (3:48)
  3. In The Cauldron Of Love (3:50)
  4. Scarecrow (3:06)
  5. Ragweed Campaign (4:10)

Canadian release

The Canadian version of the single (credited to The Icicle Works) used the original UK mix with the spoken word intro, but the revised US title "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)". This was the most successful commercial release of the single, reaching #19 on the Canadian charts in the summer of 1984.

Covers and use in media

  • The band Acumen Nation covered the song under the title "Whisper To A Scream" on the 1997 new wave cover compilation Newer Wave and again on their single for the song "Unkind".
  • A cover of the song by Soho was used in the 1996 film Scream.
  • The song was also covered in 2004 by Edmonton, Alberta-based band Social Code on A Year at the Movies.
  • The popular Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation, which is known for naming each episode after a hit 1980s song, named an episode after this song. The episode faced the issue of self-mutilation.
  • Used as the title for an episode of Grey's Anatomy, which also uses song titles for episode titles.
  • The song appears in the videogame Saints Row: The Third.
  • The opening of the song is used in a Group B rally tribute video called The Rally Supercars.
  • The song is played in the 2008 movie Garden Party in the drive down on Sunset Blvd. scene.

External links

  • Ian McNabb website
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