Fire And Ice

Album: Precious Time (1981)
Charted: 17

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Pat Benatar sings to a capricious lover, letting him know she's on to him: He'll turn up the heat to get the girl, then leave her cold when he turns to ice.

    Benatar's songs often deal with redline relationships, subject matter that suits her voice as she sets up the story before exploding into the chorus. When she tells the guy, "You come on like a flame, then you turn a cold shoulder," there will be no rebuttal.
  • Pat Benatar wrote this song with her guitarist, Scott Sheets, and with the ace songwriter Tom Kelly. Sheets, Benatar, and her other guitarist (and future husband), Neil Giraldo, were the primary songwriters in her operation, but they used outside writers as well. Kelly typically wrote with lyricist Billy Steinberg, who contributed the album's title track. She also did a lot of covers around this time - there are two on the album: "Helter Skelter" (The Beatles) and "Just Like Me" (Paul Revere & the Raiders).
  • This was the first single from Benatar's third album, Precious Time. Her previous album, Crimes Of Passion, landed with the hits "Treat Me Right" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," so there was a lot of anticipation for Precious Time, which went to #1 in America in August 1981 soon after it was released. Benatar's music fit comfortably into both rock and pop formats, but rock radio showed just a wee bit of bias when it came to female acts (pop radio did too, but to a lesser extent), so it was harder for her to get her edgier songs on the air. "Fire And Ice" topped out at #17, a surprisingly poor showing that didn't reflect the song's appeal. The album went on to sell over 2 million copies in America.
  • Benatar was one of the few American artists who made videos before MTV. The videos for "Fire And Ice" and "Promises in the Dark" were shot back-to-back on the same soundstage with Benatar wearing the same outfit. Perhaps her label would have spent a few more bucks if they knew what kind of impact she would have on MTV, but it was hard to get a budget for videos when there was nowhere to show them. It was also hard to find a director in America to make them, so they enlisted the Englishman Keith MacMillan (Keef), who did many of Kate Bush's videos.

    MTV went on the air August 1, 1981, just weeks after the Precious Time album was released. Their second video, following "Video Killed The Radio Star," was Benatar's "You Better Run" from a year earlier. "Fire And Ice" and "Promises" quickly went in rotation and gave the album a nice boost, but it was the 1983 video for "Love Is A Battlefield" that made her a bona fide video star.

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