IR Music: Tears For Fears – Songs From The Big Chair – 30th Anniversary

Tears For Fears Cover

by: Adam Glass

The year was 1984 and the music charts were ruled by the likes of Madonna, Van Halen, Prince, Tina Turner and Billy Joel. It was at this time that UK music was all the rage and the second British invasion was in full force in the USA. Bands such as Duran Duran, Culture Club and Depeche Mode had already broken through thanks to MTV. British music seemed so much cooler than the typical fare in America. The Brits had style and the music was fresh and catchy. It was around this time a little known band with only one album behind them was about to conquer the world and especially the US.

Tears For Fears (Roland Orzabal – Guitar/Vocals, Curt Smith – Bass/Vocals, Ian Stanley – Keyboards and Manny Elias – Drums) and had barely made a dent in the USA with their first album “The Hurting”. The album peaked at #73 in 1983 and the only single to chart at the time “Change” peaked at 22 on the single charts. In the UK it was a #1 album that spawned three top 10 singles and eventually went Platinum.  “The Hurting” was a somber study of youth with its thoughtful lyrics and mellow synth arrangements. I still listen to it quite frequently today. It was WAY ahead of its time and probably one of the best debuts of band ever.

They were big in their home of England but how was Tears For Fears going to conquer the rest of the world? Instead of following up right away with another album (in the 80’s, bands usually released an album a year) they took their time carefully writing and recording for almost all of 1984. What they came up with was as close to perfect as they would ever get.  An album of only eight tracks called “Songs from the Big Chair” (#1). The title came from the 1976 television film “Sybil” about a woman with multiple personality disorder who only feels safe when she is sitting in her analyst’s “big chair”. The songs were again thoughtful but now had a much bigger drum and guitar sound.

Tears for Fears Live

SFTBC spawned five hit singles around the world (not bad for an album with only eight tracks) and was certified 5X Platinum in the USA.  Tears For Fears had arrived. For all the sales and videos making them a household name they ended up staying pretty well grounded and never followed what a big band of this caliber should do and act like. Their live shows were anything but spectacle. With just a plain backdrop, minimal lighting and their instruments they took the album on a sold out world tour. They never wanted to be rock stars with a flashy stage show. They just wanted to play their music to anyone who would listen. Songs such as Everybody Wants to Rule The World” (#1), “Shout” (#1), “Head Over Heels”(#3) and “Mothers Talk” (#27) were staples of radio and MTV for all of 1985 through January of 1986.

On November 11th the album with get the 30th anniversary Super Deluxe treatment when its re-released in all its glory. The four CD/2DVD box set comes with a plethora or content including the original album remastered along with all the original b-sides, remixes and live tracks and a few of these never before released.  The DVD’s include a 5.1 mix by Steven Wilson and tons of music videos along with the original documentary “Scenes from the Big Chair” and most of their TV appearances.

In honor of the 30th anniversary, Tears For Fears will be appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” this Wednesday November 12. They are also finishing up work on their seventh album due in 2015.

Tears For Fears Box Set


Disc One

1.”Shout” – 6:31
2.”The Working Hour” – 6:29
3.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – 4:09
4.”Mothers Talk” – 5:04
5.”I Believe” – 4:54
6.”Broken” – 2:38
7.”Head Over Heels” – 5:02
8.”Listen” – 6:54
9.”The Big Chair” – 3:20
10.”Empire Building” – 2:41
11.”The Marauders” – 4:13
12.”Broken Revisited” – 5:15
13.”The Conflict” – 4:02
14.”The Working Hour” (Piano Version) – 2:08
15.”Pharoahs” – 03:42
16.”When In Love With A Blind Man” – 2:22
17.”Sea Song” – 3:51

Disc Two: Edited Songs From The Big Chair

1.”The Way You Are” – 4:49
2.”Mothers Talk” (Single Version) – 3:53
3.”Shout” (Single Version) – 5:58
4.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Single Version) – 4:14
5.”Head Over Heels” (Remix) – 4:15
6.”I Believe” (A Soulful Re-Recording) – 4:39
7.”Everybody Wants To Run The World” – 4:30
8.”The Way You Are” (Short Version) – 4:21
9.”Mothers Talk” (U.S. Remix) – 4:14
10.”Shout” (U.S. Single Version) – 4:51
11.”Everybody Wants To Run The World” (Running Version) – 4:30
12.”Head Over Heels” (Radio Version) – 4.20
13.”Mothers Talk” (Video Version) – 4:37
14.”Shout” (Short Version) – 4:03
15.”Listen” (Clean Intro) – 6:50
16.”Interview with Curt & Roland” – 7:35

Disc Three: Remixed Songs From The Big Chair

1.”The Way You Are” (Extended Version) – 7:37
2.”Mothers Talk” (Extended Version) – 6:18
3.”Shout” (Extended Remix) – 7:40
4.”Everybody Want To Rule The World” (Extended Version) – 5:40
5.”Broken / Head Over Heels / Broken” (Preacher Mix) – 8:00
6.”Mothers Talk” (Beat Of The Drum Mix) – 8:54
7.”Shout” (U.S. Remix) – 8:02
8.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Urban Mix) – 6:06
9.”Mothers Talk” (U.S. Remix alternate) – 4:12
10.”Shout” (Dub) – 6:49
11.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Instrumental) – 4:21
12.”Shout” (Acappella) – 5:02

Disc Four: Unreleased Songs From The Big Chair

1.”Head Over Heels” (Radio 1, Richard Skinner session) – 4:14
2.”The Working Hour” (Radio 1, Richard Skinner session) – 6:06
3.”Broken” (Radio 1, Richard Skinner session) – 3:19
4.”Mothers Talk” (Live at Massey Hall) – 4:05
5.”Broken / Head Over Heels” (Live at Massey Hall) – 5:01
6.”Memories Fade” (Live at Massey Hall) – 6:50
7.”The Working Hour” (Live at Massey Hall) – 7:31
8.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Live at Massey Hall) – 4:19
9.”Shout” (Live at Massey Hall) – 7:50
10.”Mothers Talk” (Early Mix / Instrumental) – 4:39
11.”The Way You Are” (Early Mix) – 4:25
12.”Broken” (Early Mix) – 5:38
13.”Shout” (Early Mix) – 5:08
14.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Alternate Single Version) – 4.20

Disc Five: DVD audio 5.1 mix

1.”Shout” – 6:32
2.”The Working Hour” – 6:31
3.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – 4:11
4.”Mothers Talk” – 5:10
5.”I Believe” – 4:54
6.”Broken” – 2:38
7.”Head Over Heels” – 5:20
8.”Listen” – 6:49

Disc Six: DVD video

1.”Scenes From The Big Chair” (1985 Documentary) – 1:14:43
2.”Interview with Producer Chris Hughes” (2005) – 35:00
3.”The Way You Are” (Music Video) – 3:57
4.”Mothers Talk” (Alternative UK Video) – 4:00
5.”Mothers Talk” (Music Video) – 4.49
6.”Shout” (Music Video) – 6:31
7.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Music Video) – 4:52
8.”Head Over Heels” (Music Video) – 4:26
9.”I Believe” (Music Video) – 4:45
10.”Mothers Talk” (US Remix) (Music Video) – 4:52
11.”Everybody Want To Run The World” (Music Video) – 4:52
12.”The Way You Are” (Top Of The Pops) – 4:11
13.”Mothers Talk” (Top Of The Pops) – 3:48
14.”Mothers Talk” (Top Of The Pops) – 3:51
15.”Shout” (Top Of The Pops) – 4:20
16.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Wogan) – 4:08
17.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Top Of The Pops) – 3.35
18.”Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Top Of The Pops) – 3.45
19.”The Working Hour” (Wogan) – 4:28

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