Tears For Fears: The 80’s

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” What an amazing breakthrough single. It has that instantly familiar intro and then it gets even better.  It is hard to think of the 1980’s without this song.

The band would have trouble topping this single and album, Songs From the Big Chair (1985).  The album reached number one and stayed there for five weeks, and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” reached number one in the U.S. and in some other countries.

There were a total of five singles released from Songs From the Big Chair, including “Shout.”

Putting together another album would take time, Tears For Fears had raised the bar very high.  Four years later, they released The Seeds of Love.  The first single was “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” which reached number two in the U.S.  Three other singles including “Advice for the Young at Heart” were released from the album.  The Seeds of Love had a much more expansive and mature feel, and an even bigger production than the previous album.  The group incorporated jazz and blues, along with horns and strings.

“As a band, we came from the programmed pop era of the early ’80s and we had inherited a sense of structure that permeated almost all our music. The way we were working was becoming too sterile. We wanted to do something more colourful, something that sounded big and warm. You cannot get that from machines. You only get that with real musicians and real players.”

— Curt Smith

The band toured and toured, then broke up.  Elemental (1993) came as a solo album by Roland Orzabal using the group name. Curt Smith left the band. It is really more of a rock album than previous efforts.  “Elemental,” “Cold” and “Break it Down” are outstanding tracks, more guitar-based than past reliance on keyboards.  It sold enough to be a gold album in the U.S. and several singles cracked the top 40.

Raoul and the Kings of Spain was released in 1995.  “Raoul and the Kings of Spain,” “Falling Down,” “Secrets”and “God’s Mistake” were the singles.  Again, this was an Orzabal solo album and although it did not contain the big tectonic singles of the 1980’s, it was again a solid album, but performed less well in the U.S.

Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, an album with both Smith and Orzabal was released in 2004.  This is a fine effort, full of memorable songs, lush production and charting higher than the previous release.  “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending” has a Beatlesque quality, with big musical production. “Secret World” is the best song and ranks with the group’s best songs.

Tears for Fears tours occasionally but the only new song was released on a greatest hits collection (2017).

Maybe they will push forward with new materials. Let’s hope so.


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