Tears for Fears


Formed by British musicians Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith in 1981, Tears for Fears was founded after Smith’s and Orzabal’s first band, Graduate, disbanded. In the early 1980’s, Tears for Fears was known for being one of the new wave synthesizer bands but later they changed their genre into mainstream rock and pop which gave them chart topping songs and international fame.

Their most popular songs includes “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Shout”. Tears for Fears have won several awards and has sold over 30 million records worldwide and was one of the greatest bands from the 80’s


Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith was teenage friends that met in Bath, Somerset, England. There, they decided to become session musicians for a band named Neon. But later on, Orzabal and Smith formed their own mod/revival and new wave band Graduate. And in 1980, they released their own album entitled “Acting My Age” and dropped their first ever single entitled “Elvis Should Play Ska”. Even If the song did not enter the UK top 100 charts, it performed well in other countries such as Switzerland and Spain.

In 1981, Smith and Orzabal decided to leave Graduate and form their own band named History of Headaches. But later on they changed it to Tears for Fears which was inspired by a primal therapy that was popularized by American psychologist Arthur Janov. Smith and Orzabal met Ian Stanley who helped them in recording their demo album in his home studio. Tears for Fears recruited Ian Stanley and Manny Elias to be their keyboardist and drummer. After sending out their two demo albums, Tears for Fears landed a recording contract with Phonogram Records.

Hit Singles

  • Everybody Wants To Rule The World
  • Head Over Heels
  • Shout
  • Mad World
  • Sowing The Seeds Of Love
  • Mother’s Talk
  • Woman in Chains
  • Pale Shelter
  • The Working Hour
  • The Big Chair
  • Break It Down Again
  • Goodnight Song
  • The Way You Are
  • I Believe
  • Listen
  • Change


The Hurting- Tears for Fears first achieved their success in November 1982 when they released  their third single entitled “Mad World” which reached number 3 in the UK top charts. And the next year, they released their first album entitled “The Hurting” which featured their new members Ian Stanley who played the keyboards and Manny Elias who played the drums. Their album “The Hurting” became a huge success that it stayed for a total of 65 weeks in the UK giving the album its platinum status. This album featured other international hit singles such as “Change” and “Pale Shelter”.

Songs from the Big Chair- Prior to this album’s release, Tears for Fears first dropped their single “Shout” which paved their way into achieving international success. In February 1985, they released their album “Songs from the Big Chair” which debut at the top two in the UK chart album and remained at the upper part of the chart for twelve months. This album became one of 1985’s best-selling album and a certified triple platinum album in the UK and reached quintuple platinum status in the U.S. This album carried one of Tears for Fears most notable song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”.

The Seeds of Love– Released in 1989, “The Seeds of Love” was Tears for Fears’ third studio album that featured Ian Stanley for the last time. This album featured hit singles like “Sowing the Seeds of Love”, and “Woman in Chains”. The album proved to be another worldwide success by entering at number one at the UK album charts and made it in the top ten in the U.S and other countries. It sold millions of copies worldwide. They also released a 64-page companion book entitled “Tears for Fears—The Seeds of Love” in 1990. The book features insights by Orzabal, Holland and Adams, and are photographs of the band.

Break-up and Solo Careers

After the success of their third album “The Seeds of Love”, the band’s original members Orzabal decide to call it quits because Orzabal was taking the production process a little too complicated and frustrating while Smith on the other hand, wanted to take things slow. This resulted into Tears for Fears disbandment in 1991.

After Smith’s exit, Orzabal kept Tears for Fears alive and released a hit single in 1992 entitled “Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)” to promote Tears for Fears’ greatest hits album. The album “Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92)” featured their hit singles that reached the top 20 in the UK and international charts. Tears for Fears greatest hits album debut in number two at the UK and became a certified double platinum album.

Curt Smith on the other hand, had relocated in New York and released his first solo album in 1993 entitled “Soul on Board” but unfortunately, the album became a flop.

Orzabal continued to make music under the name Tears for Fears and released an album in 1993 entitled “Elemental” with Allan Griffiths. The album had the international hit single “Break it Down Again” which entered the top twenty charts in several countries. Elemental was a huge hit in UK which reached the top 10 in the UK charts, earned a gold status and sold over half a million copies.


In 2000, Orzabal and Smith both signed a business document which led to an agreement that they will  work on an album together. This resulted to a reunion album entitled “Everybody Loves a Happy Ending” which featured their comeback single “Closest Thing to Heaven” that became their first UK top 40 hit after ten years. In 2006, they re-released their “Songs From the Big Chair” album under Universal Music. This two-disc deluxe album came with a 24 page booklet that contained rare photographs and liner notes.

In 2010, Tears for Fears embarked on a seven-date tour with Spandau Ballet in Australia and New Zealand. It was followed by a four-date tour in Southeast Asia and a 17-date tour in the United States.

In 2011 and 2012, they played in Japan, South Korea, Manila, South America and the United States.

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