Have you listened lately to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” or “Sowing the Seeds of Love” or “Mad World” or “Change”? Do they sound like songs that were recorded more than 30 years ago?
Exactly. They sound as fresh today as they did in the MTV era. They only did six albums (and supposedly another is in the works), but the English duo left a lasting impression on the pop-rock world, regardless.
Good songs matter.
Their impressive debut album included their first four singles – “Suffer the Children,” “Mad World,” “Change” and “Pale Shelter.” The band’s synth-pop sound influenced many artists, and “Mad World,” in particular, has yielded many cover versions.
Producers: Chris Hughes, Ross Cullum
There was no sophomore slump – in fact, they scored one of the year’s best and biggest-selling albums. It went No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada and No. 2 in the U.K. It spawned the hits “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” “Shout,” “Head Over Heels” and “Mothers Talk.”
Producer: Chris Hughes
Their ambitious third album was costly and time-consuming to record; creative differences surfaced with producer Chris Hughes and longtime keyboardist Ian Stanley. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith wanted less of a programmed sound and something more organic (with real musicians). It sold well and garnered three hits – “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” “Woman in Chains” and “Advice for the Young at Heart” – but it would be the last Orzabal-Smith album for more than a decade.
Producers: Tears For Fears, Dave Bascombe
The 12-song hits collection featured the previously unreleased “Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down).”
Smith left the band in 1991, so Orzabal kept the moniker alive for the fourth TFF studio album. It was recorded at Orzabal’s new home studio, Neptune’s Kitchen.
Producers: Orzabal, Tim Palmer, Alan Griffiths
Highlights: “Break It Down Again,” “Cold,” “Goodnight Song,” “Elemental”
Still essentially a solo artist, Orzabal found himself on a new label, but his fifth album (a more personal one) did not fare well.
Producers: Tim Palmer, Orzabal, Alan Griffiths
An 18-song collection of B-sides and rarities, including “The Way You Are” and “New Star.”
Career-spanning, 17-song collection.
After ending a long-running feud, Orzabal and Smith reunited for a sixth TFF album. They were signed to Arista by L.A. Reid, but when he left the label, the album was delayed for several years. They finally landed at New Door, a subsidiary of Universal. The first single, “Closet Thing to Heaven,” drew heavy comparisons to “Sowing the Seeds of Love” (FYI, that’s actress Brittany Murphy in the music video). The album, however, was a commercial failure.
Producers: Tears For Fears, Charlton Pettus
Other highlights: “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending,” “Call Me Mellow,” “Secret World”
This 16-song hits collection included previously unreleased tracks “Stay” and “I Love You But I’m Lost.”
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