Tears For Fears 

Tears For Fears 

Driving the band ever since their formation has been the partnership of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, who met while they were teenagers at the same school in their native city Bath, in Somerset, England. Both of them were very musically talented and had chemistry together right away, performing together as The Baker Brothers around local pubs and clubs when they were a mere sixteen years old. However, they soon grew out of their band name, and since they opened their gigs with a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”, the duo decided to rename themselves after the film that the song was made famous in.

As the ska/mod revival band Graduate, the band secured themselves a publishing deal and an extra three members backing the original duo. They ended up releasing an album and a single in 1980 but both tanked in the U.K, despite making some small waves over Europe. By 1981, however, both Orzabal and Smith had moved on from what they were playing in Graduate, and wanted to start playing music influenced by the likes of Peter Gabriel, David Byrne and Brian Eno. They disbanded Graduate and formed a band influenced by the most cutting edge music of the time called History Of Headaches. They soon came to their senses and renamed the band Tears For Fears.

Using the connections they’d built with their previous group, the band secured a record deal with Phonogram Records the very same year they formed and expanded the group to a four piece with the addition of drummer Manny Elias and bassist Ian Stanley. Their first single came out in the November of that year, but “Suffer The Children” failed to chart despite it being play listed by the massively influential Radio One DJ John Peel, and their second single, “Pale Shelter”, didn’t do much better. Things looked bleak for the band, but their third single would prove to be their making as a band. In November 1982, “Mad World” peaked at number three on the U.K charts and is one of the most enduring hits of the 1980’s to this day.

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With a head of steam and masses of momentum, the band’s debut album, “The Hurting”, was released in March 1983 and spent 65 weeks in the album charts, peaking at number one and going platinum with ease. They had a further two top five singles in the U.K with “Change” and a re-recorded and re-released “Pale Shelter”, and the album, along with its three singles, saw high chart placements all over the world. Tears For Fears became one of the hottest bands in the world within the space of a single year, and they had the world at their feet. One would assume that this would be the point that they’d blow it, and truth be told, they nearly did.

Between late 1983 and early 1984, the band released two singles that were more experimental than most were expecting. The first of them “The Way You Are” stalled in the Top 30 and its follow up “Mother’s Talk”, did peak in the Top 20, but its release was delayed when the band had to re-produce the whole single from top to bottom after being unimpressed by the initial results. However, the bands fortunes were sealed in November 1984 with the single “Shout”, was yet another Top Five hit for the group in the U.K, and the album it came from “Songs From The Big Chair”, went to number two on the charts and stayed in the Top Ten for six months.

However, they’d done all that before. What they hadn’t done, up until that point, was make much of a commercial impact in America. “Songs From The Big Chair” did just that on its release in the U.S, hitting the number one spot on the Billboard 200 for five weeks and “Shout” topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks the following August. They had officially made it, and ever since then they’ve been one of the most acclaimed bands of the 80’s, with songs like the aforementioned singles and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” becoming pop standards for generations afterwards. They’re still a pretty unmissable live act to this day, and still come highly recommended.

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