In 1982 guitarist-keyboardist-singer Roland Orzabal, and singer-bassist-keyboardist Curt Smith left the ska group Graduate to form Tears for Fears, an ambitious blending of synth-pop and primal psychology.
Their first single was “Mad World,” which combined odd, syncopated percussion with moody synths and Smith’s haunted vocals on killer lines to forge greatness:
“I find it kind of funny
I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying
Are the best I’ve ever had”
Other classics on their debut The Hurting include the thumping alterna-soul of “Change,” and the sweeping synth-and-acoustic guitar of “Pale Shelter,” one of the best sounding songs of the new wave era.
Producer Chris Hughes helped push the band along, widening their emotional palette and encouraging songwriter Orzabal to sing more. The result was the five-times-platinum Songs From The Big Chair. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is one of the best singles of the last 20 years: the propulsive, circular beat and strong dual vocals from Smith and Orzabal carry a superior melody that is augmented by tinkling keyboard filigrees and great guitar work from Orzabal and Neil Taylor. “Head Over Heels” and “Shout” also stand out.
As is typical, the push to bring Orzabal out of his shell ended up pushing Smith to the sidelines and the balance that created magic was lost – darn it. By the time of Seeds of Love, Orzabal was clearly in charge, and though the title track was a Beatlesque gem, that was more a last gasp than a continuation.
October 6 – Orzabal and Smith have reunited as Tears For Fears and signed to Arista:
- Tears For Fears founders Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith are back together after 13 years, and have signed an exclusive worldwide recording contract with Arista Records, it was announced today by Antonio “L.A.” Reid, President and CEO, Arista Records.
Their new album will be out in spring of 2004.