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Oldies 30/08/2003

RETRO: Tears For Fears

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Gillingham, Kent, UK (By Mikey)

New Beginnings Tears for Fears is best-known for its unique blend of synth-pop that transcended the typical ear candy generally released in the genre, and offered deeper, more mature productions, rife with psychoanalytical questions.

Vocalist and bassist Curt Smith and guitarist and vocalist Roland Orzabal came together in 1979, when they performed together in a schoolboy band called Graduate. The band, famed only for one single titled "Elvis Should Play Ska," fell apart in 1981, and the duo renamed themselves Tears For Fear. Bath-based band at the forefront of the mid-1980s 'British Invasion' of the US. Line-up Roland Jaime Orzabal de la Quintana and Curt Smith. Also had 2 U.S. No.1 singles with 'Shout' and 'Everybody Want To Rule The World'. 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World', also won the 1986 Brit Award for the Best Single. The "Tears For Fears" name was derived from the book "Primal Scream" by Arthur Janov - "tears as a replacement for fears". Both Roland and Curt were heavily influenced by Janov's book.

Two TFF song titles from their first album "The Hurting" were taken from chapters in Janov's book; "Ideas As Opiates" and "The Prisoner". Roland and Curt made the album so they could afford to take Janov's "Primal Scream" therapy, but after the success of the album and singles, they didn't have the time! Roland eventually took six years of British Primal psychotherapy, which he said was more of "a primal whimper".

Tears For Fears quickly signed with Mercury and after a bit of experimentation, hit it big with their synth-pop single, "Mad World," which charted at No. 3 in the United Kingdom in 1983. Their No. 1 album, The Hurting, followed soon after. The pair drew a heavy fan base with their snappy tunes and their teen-idol looks, and the gold discs began to pour in.

At the same time, however, Tears for Fears was also becoming known for lyrics and interviews that bordered on psychobabble. Even their videos showcased some of that rumoured pretension, with featured existential images of windows, boats, and swarms of paper airplanes and killer bees.

In 1985, the band reappeared with a single called "Shout," which reached the U.K. Top 5. Their second album, Songs From the Big Chair, hit the music scene later that year, and quickly sold eight million copies. The album is known today as one of the biggest blockbusters on the then-new CD format.

After a successful international support tour, the band disappeared for a while and began work on a third album. During this process, several producers joined - and left - the band, and rumours of an impending split began to circulate. But three years later, The Seeds Of Love appeared in a storm of publicity and high expectations. The effort quickly shot to the top of the British charts, but it fell just as rapidly, and lost money. To add to the band's misery, Smith decided to call it quits, and left the band, although a retrospective album called Tears Roll Down was released with his voice in 1992.

Going Solo
While the band's publicist rushed to portray the split as a friendly one, interviews with Orzabal and Smith painted a much different, much less friendly picture. In fact, on the first post-Smith album, a 1993 effort called Elemental Orzabal took musical digs at Smith in the lyrics of his songs. Roland Jaime Orzabal de la Quintana carries on as the solo lead of "Tears For Fears" after splitting with partner Curt Smith in 1990.

In the meantime, Smith was trying to make it as a solo artist and released Soul On Board in 1993, to the loud boos of critics and fans alike. Orzabal continues to perform under the Tears For Fears name, but his latest album, Raoul and the Kings of Spain, has largely failed.

TFF topped the charts in the '80s with worldwide hits such as - "Shout" (#1 in US), "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" (#1 in US), "Sowing The Seeds Of Love" (#2 in US), "Head Over Heels" (#3 in US), and "Advice For The Young At Heart". TFF has sold over 17,000,000 albums.

Sport Aid
'Everybody wants to rule the world' was re-recorded in 1986 as 'Everybody wants to run the world' in aid of Sport Aid '86, all proceeds of the single were donated to the Sport Aid Relief Charily Fund.

Where are they now?
Recently they have started to collaborate together, the new upcoming TFF album (on Arista) may not be released until the fall of 2003. Roland and Curt continue to work on it, and Roland has confirmed that the titles of two tracks are, "Closest Thing To Heaven" and "Killing With Kindness". The working title for the album is: "Everyone Loves A Happy Ending"

Bootleg Version - Mad World
There is a bootleg version of Mad World going round, which features on the Donnie Darko Motion Picture Soundtrack Album by an unknown artist.

Single Discography
02 October 1982 Mad World, peaked at No.3, 16 weeks on chart
05 February 1983 Change, peaked at No. 4, 9 weeks on chart
30 April 1983 Pale Shelter, peaked at No.5, 8 weeks on chart
03 December 1983 The Way You Are, peaked at 24, 8 weeks on chart
18 August 1984 Mother's Talk, peaked at No.14, 8 weeks on chart
01 December 1984 Shout, peaked at No.4, 16 weeks on chart
30 March 1985 Everybody Wants To Rule The World, peaked at No.2, 15 weeks on chart
22 June 1985 Head Over Heels, peaked at No.12, 9 weeks on chart
31 August 1985 Suffer The Children, peaked at No.52, 4 weeks on chart
12 October 1985 I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording), peaked at No.23, 4 weeks on chart
31 May 1986 Everybody Wants To Run The World, peaked at No.5, 7 weeks on chart
02 September 1989 Sowing the Seeds Of Love, peaked at No.5, 9 weeks on chart
18 November 1989 Woman In Chains, peaked at No.26, 8 weeks on chart
03 March 1990 Advice For The Young At Heart, peaked at No. 36, 4 weeks on chart
22 February 1992 Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down), peaked at No.17, 5 weeks on chart
25 April 1992 Woman in Chains (ft. Oleta Adams), peaked at No.57, 1 week on chart
29 May 1993 Break It Down Again, peaked at No.20, 5 weeks on chart
31 July 1993 Cold, peaked at No.72, 1 week on chart
07 October 1995 Raoul And The Kings Of Spain, peaked at No.31, 3 weeks on chart
29 June 1996 God's Mistake, peaked at No.61, 1 week on chart

Album Discography
1983 The Hurting
1985 Songs From The Big Chair
1989 The Seeds of Love
1993 Tears Roll Down: The Greatest Hits
1993 Elemental
1995 Raoul and The Kings of Spain
1996 Saturnine, Martial & Lunatic (rarities and b-sides)

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