Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)

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"Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)"
Single by The Icicle Works
from the album The Icicle Works
B-side"In the Cauldron of Love"
Released10 June 1983[1]
GenreNew wave
LabelBeggars Banquet
Songwriter(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 eponymous album The Icicle Works, and re-released in March 1984. The song was written by Ian McNabb, the band's lead singer, and produced by Hugh Jones.

UK releases[edit]

The recording was initially released as a single in the UK in June 1983 as "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" on the Situation Two label.[2][1] This initial release hit #2 on the UK independent charts, and scraped the lower reaches of the UK singles chart at number 89.

After the Icicle Works' next UK single "Love Is a Wonderful Colour" hit number 15 on the UK charts in late 1983 and early 1984, Beggars Banquet Records rereleased "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" in March 1984 with a new cover and B-side. This release climbed to number 52 in the UK. John Peel was an early advocate of the single and played both the A and B side on his show during June and July 1983.

American release[edit]

The group's American label Arista Records refused to release the record unless some changes were made. The track was remixed slightly in order to remove a brief spoken-word overdub in the opening bars of music (the woman performing this intro was identified only as "Mariella" on the original Situation Two single sleeve). As well, the song title was reversed, becoming "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)"[3] and Arista shortened the band's name to Icicle Works. With changes, the song reached number 37 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart,[4] and number 34 on Cashbox's singles chart in the summer of 1984. The song also reached number 18 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, number 13 on Billboard's dance chart and number 15 on the Radio & Records AOR chart.[5][6]

Canadian release[edit]

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

Track listings[edit]

1983 release[edit]

7" vinyl

  1. "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" (3:46)
  2. "Reverie Girl" (3:54)

12" vinyl

  1. "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" (3:52)
  2. "Reverie Girl" (3:55)
  3. "Gunboys" (3:44)

1984 release[edit]

7" vinyl (UK)

  1. "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" (3:48)
  2. "In the Cauldron of Love" (3:50)

7" vinyl (Canada)

  1. "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)" (3:48)
  2. "Scarecrow" (3:06)

12" vinyl (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" vinyl (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" vinyl (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)


Chart performance for "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)"
Chart (1983–1984) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[7] 19
UK Singles (OCC)[8] 53
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 37
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[10] 13


  1. ^ a b "Full DISCOGRAPHY The Icicle Works and Ian McNabb". Retrieved 28 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly) (European Version)". Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  3. ^ "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)". Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955–2012. Record Research. p. 403.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 126.
  6. ^ "Whisper To A Scream (Birds Fly) (Extended Club Remix)". Retrieved 24 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6737." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  8. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  9. ^ "Icicle Works Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2023.
  10. ^ "Icicle Works Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 June 2023.

External links[edit]