Friday, February 25, 2022

Tears for Fears released The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point

Tears for Fears

Released: February 25, 2022

Peak: 8 US, 2 UK, 20 CN, 7 AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


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

  1. No Small Thing (Orzabal/Smith) [4:42] (12/2/21, --)
  2. The Tipping Point (Orzabal/Pettus) [4:14] (10/7/21, 17 AA, 37 UK)
  3. Long, Long, Long Time (Smith/Orzabal/Pettus) [4:32] (8/18/22, --)
  4. Break the Man (Smith/Pettus) [3:56] (1/13/22, --)
  5. My Demons (Orzabal/Skarbek/Reutter) [3:08]
  6. Rivers of Mercy (Orzabal/Pettus/Petty) [6:09]
  7. Please Be Happy (Orzabal/Skarbek) [3:06]
  8. Master Plan (Orzbal) [4:37]
  9. End of Night (Orzabal) [3:24]
  10. Stay (Smith/Pettus) [4:37]

Total Running Time: 42:25

The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
  • Curt Smith (vocals, bass, keyboards, backing vocals)


3.749 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)

Quotable: The Tipping Point is a strong, fantastic return for a fabled and often undervalued band.” – Lori Gava,

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

After 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, it would be 18 years before Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith cam back together for an album – 2022’s The Tipping Point. The result is album that is “one part commentary on our sorry condition as a society and second part analyzing the duo’s personal journeys, including Orzabal’s searing experiences with the death of his wife, Caroline, in 2017.” XS

The pair’s strained relationship that led to their initial breakup during 1989’s The Seeds of Love reemerged during the recording of this album. “The two went through a long list of today’s hit-making producers who attempted to recreate Tears for Fears’ past glories, leaving the duo with a lot of snappy lifeless songs. The songs lacked what the band thought should be artistry, vitality or deep meaning.” XS Smith walked away from the project mid-way through recording. WK

“No Small Thing”
However, the two patched things up. By “putting aside all the outside forces, the two rediscovered a working relationship that went back to basics. They began again simply in a room with acoustic guitars in hand.” XS They started with the song No Small Thing. It ended up as the opening track on the album and the second single. WK

The song is “a beautiful stripped-down acoustic track filled with swirling Wurlitzer organs. It mirrors the familiar harmonies of Tears for Fears’ classics while displaying mature men informed about life’s pathways. The selection is a heartfelt discussion about loss, comfort, and your response when the person you always turn to is gone. The song reflects everything Tears for Fears does best.” XS

“The Tipping Point”
The first single, however, was the title cut. Orzabal was inspired to write the song after his wife’s death in 2017. It “provides sensuous, flickering sonics that could be an updated offering off of Elemental. The narrative displays the protagonist watching someone crossing the threshold of life into what comes next while examining how we never really take in what is about to happen even when we know someone is dying. The selection is brilliant as Tears for Fears pulls off that almost impossible feat of producing alluring sonics while delivering a gut-punch of a theme.” XS

“Long, Long, Long Time”
This “speaks to age and the passage of time.” XS “Orzabal’s voice beautifully still holds its own. The summation of the song is that with death, there is no choice but to let go, again referring to his wife’s passing. Overall, the song captures what makes Tears for Fears unique while modernizing their approach.” XS

“Break the Man”
The third single, Break the Man, marked the first time the band released an original song as a single which was not co-written by Orzabal. Curt Smith first released a snippet of the song via a tweet in 2018. At the time, the chorus said “kill the man” instead of “break the man.” WK The song “effectively marries synthesizers to horn elements on another engaging track. Discussed are personal relationships, not being fooled by alluring imagery, and the realization that time is not infinite.” XS

“My Demons”
“The frenetic My Demons” is an example of “masterfully balancing an energetic sonic with serious introspection. The lyrics examine if our modern world is any better than the past when the same problems still exist. However, it is not all outward examination as inner demons are examined along with the problems of self-absorption. Instead of Orzabal and Smith seeming to have all the answers like when they were younger, they now wonder if there are any answers.” XS

“Rivers of Mercy”
Rivers of Mercy “first is a starkly beautiful track containing swirling trademark piano work and a heart rendering dialogue about sorrow and loss. Realizing the only comforts are provided by family, friends and belief. These provide the ability to be dropped in rivers of mercy as faith turns fear into hope.” XS

“Please Be Happy”
Please Be Happy “is truly a personal outing for Orzabal, as he tracks his wife’s depression which started her ultimate unravelling. He watches his wife go through depression and then fall into the illness that finally takes her into its undertow. He confesses to guilt as he pleads for her to overcome the unsurmountable. The sonics reflect a wave starting starkly, then turning orchestral and ending in sombre quiet. The two tracks are masterworks.” XS

“Master Plan”
Master Plan is a pixelated rocker that avows the realization that you ‘Need a lot of rage to get by these days… you need a lot of faith to reach the sun.’ The song is filled with classic Tears for Fears sonic/narrative drama.” XS

“End of Night”
End of Night is notable for the synth roar and Orzabal delivering some righteous operatic vocals in the closing moments.

The song Stay was first released on the 2017 compilation, Rule the World. It “serves as a perfect closer to an offering that questions death, sorrow and loss. Its ethereal sonics serve the theme of the track and the album well. It Is a final examination of the contradictions of life, wishing loved ones to remain while not wanting them to suffer another moment in pain. The phantasmagoric signoff is mantra-like as the album drifts off into the ether.” XS

“When a fabled band returns to release new work, there is always a concern. The question of if a band should even attempt to reach for the pinnacle of their past success beckons. However, in Tears for Fears case, they affirmatively answer that question. Tragic events often spur artists to great creations, and this album certainly follows that construct.” XS

The Tipping Point is cathartic, searingly traumatic, soaring, wisdom-filled and transforms all those things into transcendent art. The undertone is mourning, but the duo does not abandon the listener; they also offer hope and recovery. The release should bring in new converts, and long-term Tears for Fears fans should be thrilled with this long-awaited return. The Tipping Point is a strong, fantastic return for a fabled and often undervalued band.” XS

Resources and Related Links:

Other Related DMDB Pages:

First posted 2/25/2022; last updated 8/18/2022.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Fish: A Retrospective, 1981-2022


A Retrospective: 1981-2022


Born: Derek William Dick
Date: April 25, 1958
Where: Edinburgh, Scotland

Known As:

neo-progressive rock singer/songwriter

Significant Bands:

On the Web:



The Studio Albums:

Hover over an album for the name and year of release. Click to see its DMDB page.


Tracks featured on the above compilations are noted on this page with the following codes:

Live Albums:


The Marillion Years (1981-1988):

Derek Dick, aka “Fish,” was best known for his work in the ‘80s with British neo-prog rock group Marillion. His nickname dated back to his pre-Marillion days when he was a forestry worker. He “stayed in the bathtub for hours” PF and his landlady became upset, “allowing him to take only one bath per week; threatening him with charging twenty pence for every extra bath. Fish thus stayed roughly two hours in the bathtub every time and brought beer, sweets, a book, and other leisurely objects with him!” PF

Marillion initially formed in 1979 as an instrumental band consisting of guitarist Steve Rothery, bassist Doug Irvine, keyboardist Brian Jelliman, and drummer Mick Pointer. Irvine started singing on the some of the group’s first demos in 1980, but then the band invited Fish to join as vocalist in 1981. JB

They released their debut album, Script for a Jester’s Tear, in 1983. Fish’s vocals and stage persona invited comparisons to Peter Gabriel and early Genesis. The band, however, carved out their own neo-progressive sound and grew their following over the next couple of albums, 1984’s Fugazi and 1985’s Misplaced Childhood. The latter gave Marillion a #1 album in the UK, fueled by the top-5 singles Kayleigh and Lavender.

Script for a Jester’s Tear (1983):

Fugazi (1984):

Misplaced Childhood (1985):

The band followed up with Clutching at Straws in 1987. It hit #2 in the UK, led by the #6 hit Incommunicado and a pair of singles that stalled at #22. That same year, Fish married Tamara Nowy, a German model who appeared in the videos for “Kayleigh” and “Lady Nina.”

Musical differences and Fish’s difficulty in coping with the band’s success led to his departure in 1988 after the band released the live album The Thieving Magpie. Steve Hogarth stepped in on vocal duties for Fish and Fish launched a solo career.

Clutching at Straws (1987):

Best of Both Worlds


Released: February 1997

Recorded: 1982-1996

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock

Best of Both Worlds, Disc 1 (1982-1988): (1) Script for a Jester’s Tear (2) Market Square Heroes (3) He Knows You Know (4) Forgotten Sons (5) Garden Party (6) Assassing (7) Punch and Judy (8) Kayleigh (9) Lavender (10) Heart of Lothian (11) Incommunicado (12) Warm Wet Circles (13) That Time of the Night (14) Sugar Mice


3.752 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Best of Both Worlds:

The double-disc compilation featured one disc covering Fish-era Marillion (1982-1988) and another disc focused on Steve Hogarth-era Marillion (1989-1996). Only the Fish material is covered here.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Market Square Heroes BW1

Vigil (1988-90):

In 1990, Fish’s first solo album, Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors, was released in January 1990 by EMI Records. It generated three top-40 singles in the UK. It “continued the theatrical flair of Marillion’s quasi-concept albums.” JB

A contractual dispute with EMI took Fish out of the spotlight. He couldn’t record music or tour. It prompted him to build his own studio, which as he said, “proved an invaluable asset and is now my residence as well as my place of work.” CO

Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors (1990):

  • State of Mind (10/16/89, 32 UK) KF
  • Big Wedge (12/27/89, 25 UK) KF, BB
  • A Gentleman’s Excuse Me (3/5/90, 30 UK) KF, BB
  • Cliché BB
  • The Company BB

Polydor Records and a Covers Album (1991-93):

The studio was completed in 1991 and Fish signed to Polydor Records in time to record his second album with producer Chris Kimsey, who’d worked on Fish’s last two albums with Marillion. “Equipment was still being wired in as the tapes started to roll.” CO The resulting album, Internal Exile, was released in May 1991, but didn’t have the hoped impact. “The myriad of styles on Exile led to some confusion as to which direction he should follow.” CO

In his personal life, Fish and his wife Tamara had a baby girl, Tara Rowena, on January 1, 1991.

Internal Exile (1991):

  • Internal Exile (9/9/91, 37 UK) KF
  • Credo (12/2/91, 38 UK) KF, BB
  • Something in the Air (6/22/92, 51 UK)
  • Just Good Friends (Close) (8/15/95, 63 UK) KF, BB
  • Lucky KF

As a result, Fish’s next project was a covers’ album. As he said, “I needed to rediscover the magic that had pulled me into music in the first place. I needed to get rid of the cynicism and bitterness that had taken over my music during the last couple of years and opted to purge myself by recording an album of songs that were favourites of mine when ‘Fish’ was a dream and Derek William Dick was a teenager, songs I’d performed with a broom handle doubling for a mike stand in front of a large wardrobe mirror in the upstairs of my old family home in Dalkeith. Songs that had previously inspired me in some way or another.’” CO

Songs from the Mirror (1993):

  • Hold Your Head Up (12/12/92, --)
  • Solo BB

Dick Brothers Record Company (1993-97):

Neither fans nor the record label were enamored with a covers’ album from Fish. He was, once again, without a record label. However, thanks to a successful tour, Fish opted to start his own label, the Dick Brothers Record Company. He released Sushi, a double live album of the tour as the first of a series of “official” bootlegs. Fish “was one of the first artists to promote the idea of ‘official bootlegs.’” CO

They “enabled him to finance Suits, his first independent solo release.” COSuits proved the big man…could still write and repaired some of the damage done by the covers project.” CO It also gave him a #1 independent single with Lady Let it Lie. CO

Suits (1994):

  • Lady Let It Lie (4/5/94, 46 UK) KF, BB
  • Fortunes of War (9/19/94, 67 UK) KF, BB
  • Raw Meat BB

After the Suits album, Fish released Yin and Yang, a two-album “compilation of re-recordings and previously released material from both his solo and Marillion eras.” CO This allowed the touring to continue as far as South East Asia and South America but at the same time created an awareness of the limitations of being an artist and a record company.” CO The subsequent “tour would leave an impression that would light the fuse on what many fans would regard as the resurgence of Fish’s solo career.” CO

He released another studio album, Sunsets on Empire, on the Dick Brothers label in 1997. Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree served as producer and co-writer on the album. He “pulled him in a creative direction he had ignored for a long time and, with engineer Elliot Ness, they produced an album that defied his critics and signalled to the fans that he was back…Fish’s reputation as one of the great rock lyricists…was greatly enhanced as he welded his worldly experience with his strong sense of social justice and political awareness.” CO

The supporting tour took Fish to the United States and Canada for the first time in a decade, but it took a toll on his private life. As he said, “I returned home from tour in Christmas ‘97…I had practically lost my house, had distanced myself from my family but I had changed out there on the road. I would have made the same decision again given the chance as that experience on the Sunsets tour woke me up to life. The big problem was that I was now back in the eyes of the fans, but broke and in need of a major re-evaluation.” CO

Sunsets on Empire (1997):

  • Brother 52 (4/28/97, --) KF, BB
  • Change of Heart (8/11/97, --)
  • Goldfish and Clowns (8/11/97, --) KF, BB
  • The Perception of Johnny Punter BB
  • Tara BB

Kettle of Fish


Released: October 28, 1998

Recorded: 1989-1996

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock

Tracks: (1) Big Wedge (2) Just Good Friends (3) Brother 52 (4) Chasing Miss Pretty (5) Credo (6) A Gentlemen’s Excuse Me (7) Goldfish and Clowns (8) Lady Let It Lie (9) Lucky (10) State of Mind (11) Mr. Buttons (12) Fortunes of War (13) Internal Exile


3.506 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Kettle of Fish:

After 1997’s Sunsets on Empire, Fish signed a contract with Roadrunner Records which included his back catalog. In 1998, they released the compilation Kettle of Fish which highlighted his solo career up to that point and included two new tracks.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Chasing Miss Pretty KF
  • Mr. Buttons KF

Roadrunner Records (1998-99):

After releasing Kettle of Fish, Roadrunner Records released Fish’s next studio album, Raingods with Zippos. Fish said, “I started to work on Raingods after returning from a writing sabbatical…Sessions gave me a lot of confidence as a singer/songwriter and working with other respected writers in focused situations showed me a different approach to creating music. It was a great experience overall.’” CO The album included the 20-minute epic Plague of Ghosts, “yet another return to form.” CO

Unfortunately, Fish’s relationship with Roadrunner Records soured when the greatest-hits package didn’t meet expectations and Zippos sold “as many as Sunsets with greatly reduced income.” CO

Raingods with Zippos (1999):

  • Incomplete (3/22/99, --) BB
  • Plague of Ghosts BB

Another Label, Another Album (2000-03):

In 2000, Fish got his back catalog returned and launched a new label, Chocolate Frog Record Company, named after a lyric from “Plague of Ghosts.” CO He explained, that a “head full of chocolate frogs is a Scottish term used for someone who isn’t quite with it, who’s drunk, out of it or acting weird. It seemed appropriate for someone who’s considered a ‘bit strange’ in the current manifestation of the music industry.” CO

“Inspired by the neosurrealism of Italian movie director Federico Fellini,” CO Fish named the next album Fellini Days. Fish “took the works of the director and laid them alongside his own experiences to create ‘a movie for people's ears.’ It threaded Fish’s now intense personal life with the surrealism of road experiences in a feast of images.” CO

Fellini Days (2001):

  • Our Smile BB
  • Long Cold Day BB
  • Clock Moves Sideways BB

The album was made available through mail order several months before it was available, which gave Fish the finances to “record with the production values his followers had come to expect.” CO This allowed Fish “to make albums on his own terms, to the standard and quality he wanted, with material he was in control of, under no serious commercial pressure.” CO

As Fish says, “It doesn’t really bother me, the fact that I don’t sell millions of albums these days.” CO “I don’t need the fame fix that is the current ‘junk’ of the modern music industry. I had that in the 80’s with Marillion.” CO Now “I have a private life and the ability to choose what I want to do and when, while at the same time I can earn a living doing things that I love.” CO

“Fish’s personal life was thrown into chaos when his wife Tamara decided to return to Berlin with their daughter Tara shortly before the tour began in early 2001. Huge debts forced the sale of the farmhouse and Fish ‘regrouped’ in the studio which was now separated from the main property.” CO “2002 was spent working on converting the studio into a home while still maintaining the integrity of the sound rooms so that he could continue to write and record albums.” CO

Personal Turmoil and Field of Crows (2003-04):

Fish and Tamara divorced in 2003. That same year, Fish started work on his new studio album, Field of Crows. The inspiration for the album came from “visiting the monument to ‘The Field of Blackbirds,’ a 15th century battle between the Ottoman Empire and the Christians who were mainly Serbian, and where so many men were killed on the field that both armies had to withdraw, that Fish got his principal image to work with.” CO

Fish explained that the album was “a life cycle. The main character ‘crow’ leaves behind what he knows, driven by dreams, desires and a legacy and heads to the open fields and the ‘big city.’ He joins the hunt and ends up being hunted and eventually caged where he’s left to dream of what he lost. Eventually he returns and so another circle begins. The field represents conflict, be it as a battle or a sports game or a shoot.” CO

Field of Crows (2004):

  • Shot the Craw BB
  • Scattering Crows BB
  • Moving Targets BB



Released: September 25, 2005

Recorded: 1985-2004

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: neo-progressive rock

Tracks, Disc 1 (Balladeer): (1) Just Good Friends (2) Shot the Craw (3) A Gentlemen’s Excuse Me (4) Kayleigh (5) Solo (6) Incomplete (7) The Company (8) Fortunes of War (9) Our Smile (10) Lavender (11) Lady Let It Lie (12) Cliché (13) Scattering Crows (14) Tara (15) Caledonia (16) Raw Meat

Tracks, Disc 2 (Rocketeer): (1) Big Wedge (2) Credo (3) Incommunicado (4) Goldfish and Clowns (5) Long Cold Day (6) Brother 52 (7) Clock Moves Sideways (8) The Perception of Johnny Punter (9) Moving Targets (10) Plague of Ghosts


3.288 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

About Bouillabaisse:

The two-disc compilation covered Fish’s solo years from 1989 to 2004, but also included three cuts from his Marillion days. There was also the song Caledonia, which had previously appeared on the 2002 A Tribute to Frankie Miller.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Caledonia (2002) BB

Looking Back (2005-06):

2005 proved an important time for retrospection as Fish released a double album compilation (Bouillabaisse) that looked back over his entire career. Even more significantly, however, was the 20th anniversary of his most significant work, Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood. In celebration, Fish performed the entire album live, as well as a set of solo material. Recorded in November 2005, the concert was documented on CD and DVD – a must for fans who had followed Fish’s career since the beginning. It was released the following year.

13th Star and A Feast of Consequences (2007-13):

Fish released his ninth studio album, 13th Star, in 2007. It was first made available via mail order in September 2007 and then to retail in February 2008. The album title was a reference to Mostly Autumn, a singer who Fish referred to as the 13th female significant other in his life. However, when she left him, it became a metaphor for an unknown future relationship. It was also the thirteenth studio album of his career if you include his four albums with Marillion.

13th Star (2007):

  • Arc of the Curve (3/3/08, --)
  • Zoe 25 (10/6/08, --)

A long hiatus followed 13th Star. Fish finally returned in 2013 with A Feast of Consequences. It was yet another independent release through Chocolate Frog. Like its predecessor, this was co-written with bassist Steve Vantsis.

In his personal life, Fish married his second wife, Katie Webb, in April 2009. Sadly, they divorced after less than a year.

Feast of Consequences (2013):

  • Blind to the Beautiful (4/28/14, --)

The End? (2015-20):

After Feast, Fish took an even longer hiatus. In 2015, he announced that the album he was working on would be his last. Three years later, he finally released an EP, A Parley with Angels, which featured live songs and some of the material which would wind up on the 2020 double album Weltshmerz.

Because of failed romances and family bereavements, it looked at times like the album wouldn’t happen at all. His father died from bladder cancer and Fish underwent surgeries for his spine and shoulder and dealt with two potentially deadly bouts of sepsis. On a positive note, he married his third wife, Simone Rosler, in 2017.

Weltschmerz (2020):

  • Weltschmerz (3/12/20, --)
  • Garden of Remembrance (7/24/20, --)
  • This Party’s Over (9/11/20, --)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/26/2010; last updated 2/24/2022.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Tears for Fears: A Retrospective, 1978-2022

Tears for Fears

A Retrospective: 1978-2022


Tears for Fears is a new wave group from Bath, England, which formed in 1981. Band members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, both from broken homes, met as kids. The pair helmed three albums as Tears for Fears in the 1980s before Curt Smith departed. Orzabal continued the band for two more albums, although they were effectively solo projects at that point since there were no other members from the ‘80s heyday. They reunited for 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, but then went on another lengthy hiatus, only releasing an EP in 2014 and a couple of new songs on a 2017 compilation before finally reconvening for 2022’s The Tipping Point.

The Players:

  • Roland Orzabal (vocals, guitar, keyboards, rhythm programming, songwriting: 1981-1995, 2004, 2013-14, 2017, 2022). Born 8/22/1961 in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.
  • Curt Smith (vocals, bass, keyboards, songwriting: 1981-1990, 2004, 2013-14, 2017, 2022). Born 6/24/1961 in Bath, Somerset, England.
  • Ian Stanley (keyboards and computer programming: 1981-90)
  • Manny Elias (drums, rhythm programming: 1981-86)
  • Nicky Holland (keyboards: 1984-86)
  • Alan Griffiths (guitars, keyboards, songwriting: 1993-95)
  • Tim Palmer (instruments, production: 1993-95)
  • Jebin Bruni (Hammond organ: 1995)
  • Gail Ann Dorsey (bass: 1995)
  • Brian MacLeod (drums: 1995)
  • Jeffrey Trott (guitar: 1995)
  • Mark O’Donoughue (backing vocals: 1995)

On the Web:


Spotify Podcast:

Check out the Dave’s Music Database podcast Tears for Fears: The Best of. It debuted February 22, 2022 at 7pm CST. Tune in every Tuesday at 7pm for a new episode based on the lists at Dave’s Music Database.


The Studio Albums:

In addition to Tears for Fears’ albums, this includes solo works by Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal. Hover over an album cover to see its title and year of release. Click on the album to go to its dedicated DMDB page.


Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.

Graduate: Acting My Age (1980):

Before forming Tears for Fears, Orzabal and Smith were in the ska-revival band Graduate from 1978 to 1981. The name came from the Dustin Hoffman movie The Graduate. They released one album and a few singles and started work on a second album that was never finished.

  • Elvis Should Play Ska (3/80, --)
  • Ever Met a Day (5/80, --)

Tears for Fears The Hurting (1983):

After Graduate, Orzabal and Smith formed Tears for Fears, a snyth-pop group who “were initially associated with new wave and the New Romantic movements, but quickly branched out into mainstream chart success.” WK The band’s name and first album were inspired by Arthur Janov’s primal scream therapy, which advocated for patients screaming, crying, and beating objects during therapy to express childhood feelings. The “lyrics reflected Orzabal’s bitter growing-up experiences with his parents.” WK

  • Suffer the Children [3:51] (11/2/81, 52 UK) SV
  • Pale Shelter [4:24] (3/31/82, 4 CO, 5 UK, 12 CN) TR, SV, RW
  • Mad World [3:46] (9/20/82, 2 CO, 3 UK, 12 AU) TR, SV, RW
  • Change [4:14] (1/24/83, 73 US, 22 AR, 6 CO, 4 UK, 23 CN, 29 AU) TR, SV, RW

Tears for Fears Songs from the Big Chair (1985):

For Songs from the Big Chair, Tears for Fears “broke out of the new wave mold; featuring instead” WK “a more streamlined and soul-influenced sound” STE “that would become the band's stylistic hallmark.” WK “Orzabal also took over the lion's share of lead vocal duty from Smith.” WK They shot to international success on the strength of #1 U.S. hits Everybody Wants to Rule the World and Shout.

  • Mother’s Talk [5:08] (8/6/84, #27 US, #14 UK, #87 CN) TR, SV, RW
  • Shout (11/19/84, 13 US, 12 CB, 13 RR, 6 AR, 1 CO, 4 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU) TR, SV, RW
  • Everybody Wants to Rule the World [4:13] (3/16/85, 12 US, 12 CB, 12 RR, 12, 2 AC, 2 AR, 1 CO, 2 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU) TR, SV, RW
  • Head Over Heels [5:24] (6/85, #3 US, #7 AR, #12 UK, #8 CN) TR, SV, RW
  • I Believe [4:57] (9/85, #23 UK) TR, SV, RW

Tears for Fears The Seeds of Love (1989):

“Instead of quickly recording a follow-up, Tears for Fears labored over their third album,” STE building up “a reported production cost of over a quarter-million dollars.” WK When The Seeds of Love finally emerged in 1989, it “retained the band’s epic sound,” WK while adding “psychedelic and jazz-rock-tinged” STE elements. There were also tinges of everything from the “blues to The Beatles, the last of which is extremely evident in the hit single ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love,’” WK “a joyous, profoundly Beatle-esque burst of rich melodic pop accompanied by an equally memorable video.” TF Second single featured Phil Collins on drums and Oleta Adams as a guest vocalist.

“Smith and Orzabal began to quarrel heavily” STE over “supposed creative differences and personal strenuous commitments.” MW “Following a charity performance at Knebworth in June 1990, Smith packed up and left Tears For Fears.” TF “’We had become hugely successful,’ he says. ‘And…with that comes a certain amount of pressure…Under pressure, I’m not very happy. I’m really not. And leaving was driven by pure unhappiness. I wasn’t enjoying it, it wasn’t doing anything for me anymore. I went through a marriage split-up at that point in time – I’d met somebody in America, my now wife, and we’d fallen in love and…I wanted to move to New York, I wanted to get away from England…To do that, Tears For Fears…couldn’t be part of that equation.” TF

  • Sowing the Seeds of Love [6:19] (8/21/89, 2 US, 1 CB, 4 RR, 29 AC, 4 AR, 1 MR, 5 UK, 1 CN, 13 AU) TR, SV, RW
  • Woman in Chains [6:31] (11/6/89, 36 US, 32 CB, 37 AC, 27 MR, 26 UK, 11 CN, 39 AU) TR, SV, RW
  • Advice for the Young at Heart [4:50] (2/19/90, 89 US, 62 CB, 24 AC, 36 UK, 25 CN) TR, SV, RW

Tears Roll Down

Tears for Fears

Released: March 2, 1992

Recorded: 1981-1992

Peak: 53 US, 2 UK, 19 CN

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Sowing the Seeds of Love (2) Everybody Wants to Rule the World (3) Woman in Chains (4) Shout (5) Head Over Heels (6) Mad World (7) Pale Shelter (8) I Believe (9) Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) (10) Mother’s Talk (11) Change (12) Advice for the Young at Heart

Total Running Time: 59:15


4.191 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Tears Roll Down:

With Tears for Fears’ future in limbo, this compilation served as a memento of their first decade, gathering up all the major hits which had turned them into international superstars.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) [4:44] (2/10/92, 10 MR, 17 UK, 28 CN) TR, SV

Curt Smith Soul on Board (1993):

After Smith and Orzabal parted ways, Smith released his first solo album while Orzabal continued on as Tears for Fears.

  • Words (3/93, --)
  • Calling Out (7/93, --)

Tears for Fears Elemental (1993):

In Smith’s absence, Orzabal collaborated with writer and musician Alan Griffiths, “pursuing more sophisticated and pretentious directions to a smaller audience.” STE “On the strength of the adult contemporary hit Break It Down Again, Elemental became a modest hit, reaching gold status in the U.S.” STE

  • Break It Down Again [4:31] (5/17/93, 25 US, 26 CB, 9 RR, 25 AC, 13 MR, 20 UK, 4 CN, 82 AU) SV, RW
  • Goodnight Song [3:53] (10/93, 44 CN) SV

Shout: The Very Best of

Tears for Fears

Released: September 25, 2001

Recorded: 1981-1993

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Mad World (2) Change (3) Pale Shelter (4) The Way You Are (5) Suffer the Children (6) Mother’s Talk (7) Shout (8) Everybody Wants to Rule the World (9) Head Over Heels (10) I Believe (11) Sowing the Seeds of Love (12) Woman in Chains (13) Advice for the Young at Heart (14) Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) (15) Break It Down Again (16) New Star (17) Goodnight Song

Total Running Time: 79:07


3.942 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

About Shout: The Very Best of:

This collection includes everything from Tears Roll Down plus two cuts from 1993’s Elemental. This set is also presented in chronological order – other than “Suffer the Children,” which was the band’s first single.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • The Way You Are (11/21/83, 24 UK) SV
  • New Star (6/19/93, B-side of “Cold”) SV

Tears for Fears Raoul and the Kings of Spain (1995):

“Orzabal and Griffiths released another Tears for Fears album in 1995, Raoul and the Kings of Spain, a more quiet and contemplative work that showed a new Latin music influence. (Raoul was originally the name Orzabal's parents wanted to give him.) It failed to perform well on the charts but featured more of Orzabal’s outstanding songwriting.” WK

  • Raoul and the Kings of Spain [5:15] (9/25/95, 31 UK) RW
  • God’s Mistake [3:47] (10/21/95, 61 UK, 48 CN)
  • Secrets [4:41] (1/96, --)
  • Falling Down [4:55] (2/96, --)

Mayfield Mayfield (1997):

“Curt Smith was getting on with his new life stateside.” TF He “hosted shows for MTV, started a syndicated college radio show, and, significantly, found an able music partner in guitarist/songwriter Charlton Pettus, with whom he formed the group Mayfield. ‘I guess I got the bug again,’ he says. ‘We started writing songs and then he persuaded me to start playing. So I just started playing clubs in New York and I had the best time ever. Because I would leave my apartment, walk to the club, play, and then walk home. It was basically rekindling my love of music, which was kind of for the right reasons-you do it because you actually want to do it, as opposed it just being a business, which is the side I didn’t really like.’” TF

In late 1997, Mayfield ”released its self-titled debut. The material caught a slight buzz in the college music scene but quickly fell out of the loop. Also during this time, Smith married longtime girlfriend Frances Pennington and had a baby girl, Pennington Diva Smith.

  • Reach Out [4:38] (1997 single)
  • Snow Hill [4:17] (2000 single)

Curt Smith Aeroplane (EP, 2000):

His second solo effort, the Aeroplane EP, followed in June 2000, featuring new versions of Tears for Fears’ ‘Pale Shelter’ and ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World.’” MW

Roland Orzabal Tomcats Screaming Outside (2001):

With “two young sons at home in Bath, [Orzabal] then did “the semi-retirement thing,” working at home on technology-based music and in 1999 co-producing a solo album by Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini.” TF “After a period of inactivity, Orzabal reteamed with Griffiths and released…Tomcats Screaming Outside as a solo project, under his own name. As Elemental and Raoul had essentially been solo projects, the sound is identical to Tears for Fears, combining big production values with varied songwriting influences.” WK

  • Low Life [4:38] (4/10/01, --)

Tears for Fears Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004):

“Still out on his own in the U.K., Roland notes, ‘every time I walked into a record company with any music, they were going, `Oh, this is great! Can you get back together with Curt?’ It was just on and on and on – market forces, and that kind of thing.’ Finally, the inevitable occurred – Curt and Roland again met, and the meeting was good. ‘We’ve always had business interests which have carried on after we split in ’90,’ says Roland. ‘So we’re always signing off on things together anyway. We have mutual friends, and it was just a matter of time, really, before so much water passed under the bridge. And it was like – well, what are we worried about? Let’s start chatting and see where it goes.’” TF

In a script they couldn’t have written better themselves, “the name of Tears For Fears re-emerged with some surprise at the end of 2003 when a dark, piano-only version of their debut hit Mad World, sung by Gary Jules and featured on the Donnie Darko soundtrack, reached the UK Number 1 spot for Christmas. Despite chart-topping success in the USA, Tears For Fears never themselves got to Number 1 in their home nation.” WK

In September 2004, the duo finally emerged with Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, their first collaboration in over a decade.” STE “Standout tracks like Closest Thing to Heaven, ‘Call Me Mellow’ and ‘Who Killed Tangerine,’ are spectacularly contemporary and unmistakably classic Tears For Fears.” TF “‘This is the album that should have followed The Seeds of Love in many ways,’ says…Orzabal.” TF

  • Closest Thing to Heaven [3:37] (2/9/04, 40 UK) RW
  • Call Me Mellow (9/18/04, 28 AA)

Curt Smith Halfway Pleased (2007):

Curt Smith’s second solo album included two cuts originally released on his 2000 EP Aeroplane.

  • Aeroplane [5:37] (2000 EP)
  • Where Do I Go [4:57] (2000 EP)

Curt Smith Deceptively Heavy (2013):

It took six years, but Smith finally returned with Deceptively Heavy, the follow-up to 2007’s Halfway Pleased. Meanwhile, Orzabal hadn’t released anything since Tears for Fears’ Everybody Loves a Happy Ending.

Tears for Fears Ready Boy & Girls? (EP, 2014):

A decade after Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, Tears for Fears were back – albeit only for an EP of three covers.

  • My Girls [4:36] (Animal Collective cover)
  • Ready to Start [3:24] (Arcade Fire cover)
  • And I Was a Boy from School [4:03] (Hot Chip cover)

Rule the World

Tears for Fears

Released: November 10, 2017

Recorded: 1982-2017

Peak: -- US, 12 UK

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK

Genre: new wave

Tracks: (1) Everybody Wants to Rule the World (2) Shout (3) I Love You But I’m Lost (4) Mad World (5) Sowing the Seeds of Love (6) Advice for the Young at Heart (7) Head Over Heels (8) Woman in Chains (9) Change (10) Stay (11) Pale Shelter (12) Mother’s Talk (13) Break It Down Again (14) I Believe (15) Raoul and the Kings of Spain (16) Closest Thing to Heaven

Total Running Time: 74:14


4.117 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About Rule the World:

This collection features all the songs on Tears Roll Down except for “Tears Roll Down (Laid So Low).” It adds one cut from each of the post-1992 albums and two new tracks.

Tracks Not on Previously Noted Albums:

  • I Love You But I’m Lost [4:21] (10/12/17, --) RW
  • Stay [4:29] RW

Tears for Fears The Tipping Point (2022):

Eighteen years after Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith reunited for this album.

  • The Tipping Point [4:14] (10/7/21, 17 AA)
  • No Small Thing [4:42] (12/2/21, --)
  • Break the Man [3:56] (1/13/22, --)

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 2/23/2022.