Tears For Fears
Synopsis of Pop Music
Let it all out..."
By the 1980’s most groups could be neatly filed away into singular niches like ‘synth-pop,’ ‘pomp-rock’ or ‘adult-contemporary.’ However, there were a handful of groups creating music that defied these classifications. One of the best and most successful of these genre-defying groups was Tears For Fears. During their career, they have racked up hits in all of the above niches while creating some of the most adventurous albums in recent pop music history.
Tears For Fears grew out of the childhood friendship of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. Both escaped the pain of broken homes through music and played together in a ska band called Graduate. In the early 80’s, the two formed Tears For Fears to explore synth-pop. Their first album, The Hurting, was inspired by the writings of primal scream therapist Arthur Janov. It became a massive hit in their native U.K. and spawned several hit singles, including “Pale Shelter” and “Change.” Like the rest of the album, these songs wrapped catchy melodies in moody synthesizer trappings.
Two years later, Tears For Fears moved from U.K. hitmakers to international stars with the release of Songs From The Big Chair. Though it had plenty of stylish synthesizer sounds, it also expanded the band’s sound with piano and guitar textures. The newly-lush sound soon produced several big hits: the primal-therapy-inspired “Shout” and the ethereal “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” both became #1 smashes. The clever yet emotional love song “Head Over Heels” did well and peaked at #3. All these songs were accompanied by stylish videos that soon became staples on MTV.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Tears For Fears did not rush to follow up the phenomenal success of Songs From The Big Chair. Instead they spent three years crafting Sowing The Seeds Of Love, an epic that cost over a million dollars to record and went through four producers and nine studios. However, the lavish, ambitious result gave the band another hit album. It explored everything from pure pop to jazz, and the Beatles-esque title track became a #2 hit. The soulful "Women In Chains," prominently featuring guest vocalist Oleta Adams, also went Top-10.
After Sowing The Seeds Of Love, Curt Smith decided to leave the band. He would later form the group Mayfield. Meanwhile, Orzabal continued on under the Tears For Fears banner in 1992 with Elemental and scored a Top-30 hit with “Break It Down Again.” In 1995, Tears For Fears released Raoul and the Kings Of Spain and launched a tour in support of the album. There has not been any new material from Tears For Fears since this time, but their ambitious legacy will continue to surprise and amaze listeners of all kinds for years to come.
Artist Release History1983 - The Hurting
1985 - Songs from the Big Chair
1989 - The Seeds of Love
1992 - Tears Roll Down: Greatest Hits 82-92
1993 - Elemental
1995 - Raoul and the Kings of Spain
2000 - 20th Century Masters - The Millennium...
Pop Sub Categoriesrock
Essential Music AlbumsSongs From The Big Chair (Mercury)
Tears Fall Down (Polygram)
Band MembersRoland Orzabal vocals, guitars, keyboards
Curt Smith vocals, bass