With how loudly their influence resonates throughout popular music, culture, film, and television, it makes perfect sense Tear For Fears—Roland Orzabal [vocals, guitar, keyboards] and Curt Smith [vocals, bass, keyboards]—presciently nodded to primal scream therapy with their chosen moniker way back in 1981.
Beyond selling 30 million albums worldwide, performing to countless sold out audiences, and winning various awards, the duo’s DNA remains embedded within three generations of artists on both subtle and overt levels. Quietly casting a shadow over rock, hip-hop, electronic dance music, indie, and beyond, Kanye West interpolated “Memories Fade” on “The Coldest Winter” from the seminal 808s & Heartbreak, The Weekend infused “Pale Shelter” into Starboy’s “Secrets,” David Guetta sampled “Change” for “Always,” and Drake utilized “Ideas as Opiates” as the foundation for “Lust For Life,” while Ally Brooke Hernandez, Adam Lambert, and Gary Jules recorded popular covers of “Mad World” and Disturbed took on “Shout,” to name a few. Lorde cut a haunting cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” for the Soundtrack of the blockbuster The Hunger Games – Catching Fire, which Tears For Fears gleefully would use as intro music live and thus bring everything full circle. Meanwhile, classic songs figure prominently everywhere from The Wire and Donnie Darko to Straight Outta Compton and Mr. Robot. Long before, they became a cultural cornerstone Tears For Fears simply consisted of two school friends growing up in Bath, Somerset UK.
Representing an inimitable intersection of pop palatability, clever and cognizant lyricism, guitar bombast, and new wave innovation, their 1983 debut The Hurting yielded anthems such as “Mad World,” “Change,” and “Pale Shelter,” reaching RIAA Gold status in the United States. 1985’s Songs from the Big Chair became a watershed moment for the group and music at large. Boasting the signature BRIT Award-winning “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Shout,” “Head over Heels,” “Mothers Talk” and “I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording),” it went quintuple-platinum and captured #1 on the Billboard Top 200. Slant dubbed it one of “The Best Albums of the 1980s,” it featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and Consequence of Sound awarded it a rare A+ rating in a 20-year retrospective.
1989’s Seeds of Love proved to be Roland and Curt’s last collaboration together until Everybody Loves A Happy Ending in 2004, which rekindled the creative fire between them. Breaking another quiet spell, the boys engaged in a three-year touring whirlwind across North America, Japan, South Korea, Manila, and South America beginning in 2010. 2013 saw them return with their first recorded music in a decade: a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start.” It proved to be a welcome addition to their three-decade discography of immortal hits ranging from “Mad World,” “Change,” and “Pale Shelter” to “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” “Shout,” “Sowing The Seeds of Love,” and “Everybody Loves A Happy Ending.”
Now, 2017 marks the beginning of a new era for the band. Signed to Warner Bros. Records, they will release their seventh full-length album, fifth for Roland and Curt together, and first in 13 years following a summer co-headline tour with Hall & Oates.
Roland and Curt remain as loud as ever, while another generation gets ready to “Shout” with them all over again.