Meet Tears For Fears [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]
Tears For Fears are a “New Age” band from England, formed in 1981 by Roland Orzabal (August 22, 1961), and Curt Smith (June 24, 1961).
Orzabal and Smith met as teenagers in Bath, England. They were both session players in the band Neon. This is where they met future Tears For Fears drummer Manny Elias.
Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel were influences for Orzabal and Smith in 1981, as they formed a band called “History Of Headaches.” This soon became “Tears For Fears.”
The band was signed by Phonogram Records, in England, in 1981. Their first two songs (“Suffer The Children” and “Pale Shelter”) were not successful. The third single, “Mad World” went to #3 in England in 1983, the band’s first taste of success.
The release of the song “Shout” in England in late 1984 paved the way for the album “Songs From The Big Chair,” and international fame in 1985.
The synthsizer feel of the band’s earlier works was gone by this time, replaced with a more sophisticated pop sound. “Songs From The Big Chair” went triple-platinum in the UK, and quintuple-platinum in the US. It was the #1 album for 5 weeks in the summer of 1985, stateside.
“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” was #1 for 2 weeks. “Shout” was #1 for 3 weeks. “Head Over Heels” went to #3 in the fall of 1985. “Mother’s Talk” stalled at #27 in 1986.
Tears For Fears embarked on a world tour, that lasted most of 1985. They released a video collection/documenary called “Scenes From The Big Chair.” They performed “Shout” at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards. They were also honored at the 1986 Brit Awards, where they won best British single for “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
In 1989, the band released their third album “The Seeds Of Love.” It was made up mainly of recordings from jam sessions, that were then edited down. Jazz and blues were growing influences in the album’s overall sound. It was a #1 album in England, and shot into the top 10 in the US.
“Sowing The Seeds Of Love” went to #2 in the US.
“Woman In Chains” featured Tears For Fears discovery Oleta Adams (who would have a solo hit ”Get Here” in 1991), and Phil Collins on drums. It went to #36 on the US pop charts.
Orzabal and Smith parted ways in 1991, for personal and professional reasons. Another contributing factor: the band’s management went bankrupt!
In 1992, Orzabal kept the band’s name alive, issuing the single “Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down),” and a Best Of Tears For Fears (1982-1992) CD (see the contents at the end of this article).
The following year, Orzabal, along with long-time collaborator Alan Griffiths, realeased “Elemental.”
The single “Break It Down Again” became an international hit (#25/1993 here in the US).
Sadly, the above video is only a portion of the “official” video…enjoy it for what it is. By the way, the 1993 version of the band went on a world tour to support the “Elemental” album.
Albums of new material were released through the 1990s, but with little notice. Earlier “TFF” albums were re-mastered and re-released in 1999.
Orzabal and Smith reunited in 2000. The new album “Everybody Loves A Happy Ending” changed labels a few times, and was finally released in 2004 in the US (2005 in the UK).
“Closest Thing To Heaven” became the band’s first hit in England in 10 years. It got little notice, here.
Further album re-issues and Best Of compilations have been released through the 2000s.
In 2010, Tears For Fears joined a reformed “Spandau Ballet” on tour, and then toured on their own in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and the United States (17 dates).
Roland Orzabal can be found on Myspace.
Curt Smith has an official site, too. Get official “Tears For Fears” and his solo work news, and his latest blogs here!