Monday, September 25, 1989

Tears for Fears The Seeds of Love released

The Seeds of Love

Tears for Fears

Released: September 25, 1989

Peak: 8 US, 11 UK, 5 CN, 18 AU

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.3 UK, 4.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Woman in Chains (Orzabal) [6:31] (11/6/89, 36 US, 32 CB, 37 AC, 27 MR, 26 UK, 11 CN, 39 AU)
  2. Badman's Song (Holland/ Orzabal) [8:32]
  3. Sowing the Seeds of Love (Orzabal/ Smith) [6:19] (8/21/89, 2 US, 1 CB, 4 RR, 29 AC, 4 AR, 1 MR, 5 UK, 1 CN, 13 AU)
  4. Advice for the Young at Heart (Holland/ Orzabal) [4:50] (2/19/90, 89 US, 62 CB, 24 AC, 36 UK, 25 CN)
  5. Standing on the Corner of the Third World (Orzabal) [5:33]
  6. Swords and Knives (Holland) [6:12]
  7. Year of the Knife (Holland/ Orzabal) [7:08]
  8. Famous Last Words (Holland/ Orzabal) [4:26] (8/6/90, 83 UK)

Total Running Time: 49:40

The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, guitar, keyboards, etc.)
  • Curt Smith (vocals, bass)
  • Ian Stanley (keyboards)


4.022 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)

Quotable: “Dynamic, poignant pop [that] took Tears For Fears to new levels of artistry.” – Eric Aaron,

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The Seeds of Love completes a trilogy familiar to many careers: the tentative debut, the fully realized follow-up, and the grandiose third album.” HE The album, which took more than four years to make, and “reportedly cost over $250,000 to produce,” WK “bears all the scars of struggle and indecision” HE of a band in limbo. “The musical landscape had changed…so there are a few differences here.” AD “The songs feature expansive melodies instead of blatant hooks” SS and “the pounding drum patterns that were a feature of both their 'synth' albums are gone.” AD Instead, the band “dramatically extended their range of musical textures, shying away from the dark rock edges of prior albums and embracing richly layered elements of jazz, soul” EA and even gospel.

The album’s “dynamic, poignant pop…took Tears For Fears to new levels of artistry.” EA The Seeds of Love “shows [their] soulful pop glory in its fullest bloom;” EA “the songs stick in the listener's head in almost subliminal fashion.” MA While this album lacks “the compelling immediacy of Songs from the Big Chair, The Seeds of Love was an ambitious attempt to establish themselves as pop craftsmen of the highest order, and it succeeded brilliantly.” EA

“Like their other albums, The Seeds of Love continues the concept of moving from hurting to healing to beginning anew (the hit “Sowing the Seeds of Love”) to growing apart.” SS Each of the “eight sprawling tracks” MA “is a five-minute-plus mini-drama with moments of delicacy and discomfort, restraint and excess, inspiration and creative exhaustion.” SS “Curt Smith and Roland Orzabel are clearly perfectionists – the record is heavily produced, but not to the point that all the life is produced right out of it.” MA

“As the last album to feature…Smith, it is a fitting end to an era.” HE Tears for Fears was becoming “more a platform for…Orzabal than a true band.” SS “Ian Stanley was replaced by Nicky Holland as a keyboardist and Orzabal's songwriting partner” SS while Smith only gets co-writing credit on “Sowing the Seeds of Love.” Even guest “vocalist, Oleta Adams…gets more parts than Curt does.” AD Not surprisingly, “Orzabal and Smith…parted on bad terms during the album, ensuring yet another change in the band's direction thereafter.” SS

But, back to this album for now. The “lush, atmospheric” EA and “solemn” HE Woman in Chains “could simply be a women's-lib anthem, but like everything else about this album, there's another level or two – an unearthing of the ‘feminine’ side of the male psyche and, by extension, an explanation of just why everybody wants to rule the world.” MA The song featured Phil Collins on drums and “demonstrated Orzabal’s affinity for melodic, moody soul, with [the aforementioned] Adams replacing Smith as his vocal sparring partner.” EO “Orzabal's passionate vocals are well matched by Oleta Adams' fervent contributions.” SS She “informs the entire record with her soulful pipes, adding a human vibrancy barely present in the band's earlier, highly automated music.” MA

The “eight-and-a-half-minute Badman's Song suggests a stylistic continuum from Little Feat to Weather Report.” MA The “polychromatic” EA song “opts for safety, reveling in a sophisticated lethargy.” HE There are some “good vocals and some…exciting musical parts [but they] almost gets lost by the time the song has finished. It ultimately tries your patience.” AD

Lead-off single Sowing the Seeds of Love “manages to be insanely intricate as well as catchy.” SS It “carried by an over-the-top production that hauls out every last bell and whistle” MA and “updates the orchestral grandiosity” SS from the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour era.” MA It is a “pop masterwork of…intricate interplay between Orzabal’s thicker, Lennon-esque voice, and Smith’s high, clear McCartney-like singing.” EO The song is “completely different from the polished, atmospheric soul that surrounds it, but paradoxically, it's also the album's cornerstone.” SS “Full of arcane references, lovely turns of phrase, and perfectly matched suite-like parts” (Swihart,. it “is a joyous call to activism.” MA “Despite a dalliance with Sixties naiveté, even the hippie-dippiest line, ‘Every minute of every hour, I love the sunflower,’ alludes to the Green party, leaving one to wonder whether the song's flower-power sentiments (and sound) are really as dated as they seem.” MA It is “all lovingly produced by the duo and Dave Bascombe in a style reminiscent of both the Beatles of Sgt. Pepper’s and the Beach Boys of ‘Good Vibrations.’” EO

“Woman in Chains” and “the sweetly accessible” EAAdvice for the Young at Heart are sung with…care and attention featuring Smith's vocal contributions.” JL With its “updated Philly-soul strain,” SS this “lush and melodic [song] comes closest to a conventional pop tune.” MA It “sounds like…a perfect summer pop hit.” AD In reality, it was released at the tail of end of winter as the third single from the album and met with only moderate success.

On the next couple cuts, “the group…dabbles in jazz” SS although they may have “drifted a little too much into middle of road territory…when perhaps their audience weren't quite ready for them to do so.” AD Both “the bleak, harrowing Standing on the Corner of the Third World, [which] gains its strength from a remarkable collision of sound and idea,” MA and Swords and Knives “are 'smooth', things to admire rather than actively enjoy.” AD

The “slow-burning,” SS “lean, hard–driving Year of the KnifeEA “is perhaps the focal point of the tension. Its admirable flamboyance makes for more fun than could be expected from a half-live, three-part, seven-minute swaggering rock & roll track packed with guitar solos.” HE

“The very pretty and touching Famous Last WordsAD is a “poignant closer…about two lovers' bracing for the Big One, reveals what might happen if the machismo outlined in ‘Woman in Chains’ were to go unchecked.” MA It is “one of the most perfectly realised songs on the entire album; very beautiful.” AD

Throughout this album, there is an “unspoken assertion that popular music can also be outstanding music. That's something this remarkable record proves over and over again.” MA

Notes: A 1999 reissue of the album added “Tears Roll Down,” “Always in the Past,” “Music for Tables,” and “Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams.”

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/4/2021.

Marillion Seasons End released

Seasons End


Released: September 25, 1989

Peak: -- US, 7 UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): 0.1 UK

Genre: neo-progressive rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. The King of Sunset Town (Marillion, John Helmer) [8:01]
  2. Easter [5:57] (3/19/90, 34 UK)
  3. The Uninvited Guest (Marillion, Helmer) [3:50] (11/27/89, 53 UK)
  4. Seasons End (Marillion, Helmer) [8:08]
  5. Holloway Girl [4:27]
  6. Berlin (Marillion, Helmer) [7:43]
  7. After Me [3:19]
  8. Hooks in You (Marillion, Helmer) [2:54] (8/29/89, 49 AR, 30 UK)
  9. The Space… (Marillion, Woore, Dugmore, Harper) [6:14]

Music and lyrics by Marillion (Hogarth, Rothery, Kelly, Trewavas, Mosley) unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 50:55

The Players:

  • Steve Hogarth (vocals, percussion)
  • Steve Rothery (guitar)
  • Pete Trewavas (bass)
  • Mark Kelly (keyboards)
  • Ian Mosley (drums)


4.032 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After four albums with Marillion, their lead singer Fish departed for a solo career. His “distinct voice and poetic prose made him the defining member of the band. One can only imagine how record executives held their collective breath as Steve Hogarth was brought in to take the reins. His first outing with the band, 1989’s Seasons End, removed all doubts about the band's future. Hogarth’s unique, expressive voice fit Marillion perfectly.” AMG His “flexible range and beautiful phrasing shine on the entire album.” AMG

Whether “on the full-throttle rock assault of The Uninvited Guest or the emotional After You, Hogarth's singularity is unmistakable.” AMG Kerrang!’s Mick Wall called Hogarth’s voice “smooth as glass and emotive as hell…Steve Hogarth is no Fish clone…He doesn’t need to be. He’s got a voice of his own…you can almost forget the band ever had another singer.” WK

The band wrote most of the material before Hogarth joined. Some of the initial attempts with Fish on vocals appear on the 1999 reissue of Clutching at Straws. They also commissioned John Helmer to write lyrics to many of the songs. Still, Hogarth did write lyrics for a couple of the songs. One was the “beautiful” AMG and “heartfelt Easter with its imaginative electric-acoustic arrangement, is another showcase for Hogarth’s talents.” AMG The song is his “plea for peace in Ireland.” AMG

Hogarth also wrote The Space. He explained that the song grew out of an incident in which he saw a car parked too close to a tram and the tram tore the side of it off when it came down the road. Years later, Hogarth thought, “I was a bit like that tram when I probably ripped the side of a few things I hadn’t even felt and I hadn’t slowed down either and I probably hadn’t noticed. So the words came from that realization.” WK

Several of the songs make political and social statements. The title cut addresses climate change while Berlin “describes the situation in the divided city of Berlin.” WK

Helmer originally wrote The King of Sunset Town about poverty, but Hogarth modified it to address “the brutal oppression of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.” WK The line “And everyone assembled here / Remembers how it used to be / Before the 27th came” refers to the 27th Army who was involved in the massacre. WK

“Marillion’s ability to write music whose ideals live and breathe in the listener continues…on the inspiring Holloway Girl, which dissects the injustice of incarcerating mentally ill female inmates (at England’s Holloway Prison) instead of placing them in appropriate psychiatric facilities.” AMG It specifically addressed “the imprisonment of Judith Ward in Holloway Prison for IRA bombings.” WK

Notes: A 1999 remaster includes a second disc with outtakes of "The Uninvited Guest," (also the 12" single version), "The King of Sunset Town," "Holloway Girl," "Seasons End," and "Berlin" as well as B-sides "The Bell in the Sea" (2 versions) and "The Release."

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 3/14/2008; last updated 3/6/2022.

Saturday, September 23, 1989

Neil Young “Rockin’ in the Free World” charted

Rockin’ in the Free World

Neil Young

Writer(s): Neil Young (see lyrics here)

Released: November 14, 1989

First Charted: September 23, 1989

Peak: 2 AR, 39 CN, 5 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 27.6 video, -- streaming

Awards (Neil Young):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Pearl Jam):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Indigo Girls):

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Some music fans don’t want to see politics in rock ‘n’ roll, but “artists like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan have woven politics seamlessly into the fabric of their music, chronicling the American condition over decades. And anger has always been part of the backbone of rock music, whether the singer’s angry at the government, another man, or a girl who’s done him wrong.” UCR

“When the result is a barnburner like Neil Young ‘Rockin’ in the Free World,’ it’s hard to deny the value of self-righteous rage when it comes to penning a classic tune.” UCR “Young captured that anger perfectly with ‘Ohio’ in the wake of the Kent State shootings in 1970, and he did it again in 1989.” UCR “There may be no better explosion of rage on record than ‘Rockin’ in the Free World.’” UCR “It feels like decades of rage over every betrayal of the American promise, spitting out line by line and lick by lick over three and a half minutes.” UCR

“Whatever your political leanings, there’s plenty to love about this track, not least of which is the simple gut-punch riff that churns throughout the tune. Young shreds away at his guitar with the ferocity of a pissed-off teenager in his garage, spitting out words that were a scathing indictment of America under George H.W. Bush, but seem timeless decades years later, especially when his attention turns to a baby in the arms of a poor drug addict living on the streets: ‘There’s one more kid / That will never go to school / Never get to fall in love / Never get to be cool.’” UCR

The song has been widely covered by other artists including the Alarm, Pearl Jam, Indigo Girls, and Bon Jovi. On my personal charts, Pearl Jam and Indigo Girls each got to #1 with their versions.


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First posted 7/31/2022.

Aerosmith “Janie’s Got a Gun” charted

Janie’s Got a Gun


Writer(s): Steven Tyler, Tom Hamilton (see lyrics here)

Released: November 8, 1989

First Charted: September 23, 1989

Peak: 4 US, 3 CB, 6 GR, 8 RR, 2 AR, 76 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 70.7 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The rock band Aerosmith formed in Boston in 1970. They released six studio albums in the 1970s, all of which have gone platinum. 1976’s Rocks was their highest charting album, reaching #3, while Toys in the Attic was their biggest seller generating nine million in sales in the U.S. They have some of the most celebrated album rock classics of all time in “Dream On,” “Sweet Emotion,” and “Walk This Way.”

However, they hit hard times in the 1980s. Drug problems and internal conflicts led to the departures of guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford. Both returned to the fold, but in 1985 it looked like the band would never come close to their glory days again. However, their fortunes changed when rap group Run-D.M.C. covered “Walk This Way,” taking it all the way to the top 10. The song featured Perry and singer Steven Tyler. Suddenly people cared about Aerosmith again.

Their 1987 Permanent Vacation album sold five million copies on the strength of three top-20 singles. The follow-up album, Pump, was even more successful. On the strength of three top tens and a fourth top-40 hit, the album sold seven million copies and reached #5 on the Billboard album chart.

The second of those top-10 hits was “Janie’s Got a Gun.” In an usual departure for the band, this wasn’t some feel-good party tune. Tyler saw a Time magazine article about handgun deaths in the United States and heard a woman talking about how often children are attacked by their parents. WK He put the ideas together to create a story of a young woman who shoots her father because he sexually abuses her. The video was shot by David Fincher, who later directed Se7en, and depicts the murder and subsequent crime scene investigation. SF The song earned them their first Grammy – for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.


Related Links:

First posted 12/27/2022.

Sunday, September 17, 1989

50 years ago: Frank Sinatra recorded “All or Nothing at All”


All or Nothing at All

The Harry James Orchestra with Frank Sinatra

Writer(s): Arthur Altman (m), Jack Lawrence (w) (see lyrics here)

Recorded: September 17, 1939

First Charted: June 19, 1943

Peak: 12 US, 3 GA, 11 HP, 8 RB (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.28 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Frank Sinatra started singing professionally as a teen in the 1930s. In 1939, he contracted with bandleader Harry James and released his first commercial record, “From the Bottom of My Heart,” in July. It sold less than 8000 copies. They also recorded “All or Nothing at All.” Arthur Altman wrote the music for the song and turned to Jack Lawrence, who later wrote the Ink Spots’ “If I Didn’t Care,” for lyrics. Harry James, Freddy Martin, and Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestras all recorded the song, but none had a hit with it. SF

Nonetheless, “All or Nothing at All” proved an important stepping point in Sinatra’s career. He said it gave him his start. CR It’s “the song I used to audition for Tommy Dorsey, who signed me on the strength of it.” CR In November 1939, he left James to join Dorsey’s band as the replacement for singer Jack Leonard. Dorsey was “the most successful bandleader of the early ‘40s.” SF From 1940 to 1942, Sinatra was featured on 39 top-twenty singles SF including the #1 hits “I’ll Never Smile Again,” “Dolores,” “In the Blue of the Evening,” and “There Are Such Things.”

Sinatra became “a heartthrob sensation, headliner, and show business icon. He was the most talked-about performer in the music industry” SF when he signed as a solo artist with Columbia Records in 1943. Unfortunately, a strike by the American Federation of Musicians left record companies desperate for product to release. Columbia “had the hottest new singer in show business and could not record him.” SF

Music publishing mogul Lou Levy came up with a solution. The strike from the musician’s union only restricted current recording. Columbia could still release older recordings. They decided to reissue “All or Nothing at All.” The song, “effectively a Sinatra solo,” CR was rebilled as “Frank Sinatra accompanied by Harry James Orchestra” instead of “The Harry James Orchestra with vocal by Frank Sinatra.” SF The song gave Sinatra his fifth trip to the top of the charts.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Frank Sinatra
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Harry James
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 743.
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 8.
  • SF Songfacts
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 200, 373.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Pages 133-9, 391.
  • WK1 Wikipedia page on Frank Sinatra
  • WK2 Wikipedia page for “All or Nothing at All”

First posted 3/29/2021.

Saturday, September 16, 1989

Bonnie Raitt “Nick of Time” charted

Nick of Time

Bonnie Raitt

Writer(s): Bonnie Raitt (see lyrics here)

Released: May 19, 1990

First Charted: September 16, 1989

Peak: 92 US, 10 AC, 82 UK, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 2.2 video, 15.28 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Bonnie Raitt was nearly two decades into her recording career before breaking through with Nick of Time. After being dropped by her previous record label, she got clean and sober and got a new deal with Capitol Records. It resulted in one of rock history’s greatest career resurgances. Even then, it wasn’t a hit out of the gate. The album was released in March 1989 and had three songs chart that year, but it wasn’t until a year later that it took off – thanks to the Grammys.

In February 1990, Nick of Time won the Grammy for Album of the Year. It soared up the charts, hitting #1, and would go on to sell five million copies. While the title cut had already charted back in September, it was now officially released as a single. While it barely scraped the Billboard Hot 100, it was a top-10 hit on the adult contemporary charts. The song won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Raitt wrote “Nick of Time” while on retreat at a cabin in Mendocino, California, offering her observations on aging. She talked about a friend who was middle-aged and wanted a baby and sang about her own parents getting older. As she said, I “could really feel what it was like for a body to age. This whole idea of time and it being more precious as you age, I realized this would be what I’d write about.” WK

When recording the demo for the song, she had to get creative. Her keyboard was balanced on a chair, she hung a microphone from a lamp, and she used an old compact drum machine. When it came time to record the actual track, Raitt wanted a beat like the heartbeat pulse on Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” Because there were not hand drums in the studio, drummer Ricky Fataar miked a burlap sandbag used to hold down the mike stands and played the heartbeat of the song with his hands. SF


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First posted 9/4/2022; last updated 12/27/2022.