Depending on your point of view, England’s Tears For Fears were either great or a band that was played so often on the radio that you can barely stand to hear them anymore. I can tell you I was in the latter camp for quite awhile, but I’ve made it back to the former with the passing of the years. Somebody handed me a copy of 1983′s The Hurting around the same time as 1985′s Songs From The Big Chair hit the charts. I remember hearing “Change” from The Hurting off and on at WBCN, but I was floored when “Shout” from Songs From The Big Chair hit the airwaves. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever heard…until I heard it three times a day for the next nine months. I still think it’s a good tune, but it’s not my favorite Tears For Fears song. Tears For Fears just blew through Boston about three months ago. Was I there? No. I have no doubt I would have enjoyed it immensely, but I either didn’t hear about it in time, highly doubtful if you know me, or I just plain didn’t prioritize the show. I’m sure it was on a Monday night or some such thing, but I regret not catching the show. I’ll live of course, but sometimes you just feel like it could be the final time…not in the way The Cure was done twice or The Who was done about seven times. When was the last time they came through Boston? A decade? We’re all getting old. I’m sure Ziggy will present himself one of these days even though David claims he’s done with that persona. When he does I’ll be there even though I’ve been there several time before. It’s ritual de lo habitual to coin a phrase.
So, I’ve been totally slacking around here lately, but it’s nothing compared to somebody named Giant. I don’t know if the Ground Hog saw his shadow or if hibernation has been extended for the Panther, but I’m naked. No cover. It’s me or nothing. Well, since my OMD outing about twelve days ago now, I’ve turned another year older, torched an NCAA bracket, took in some spring training baseball (on TV unfortunately), celebrated the Irish Holy Day and worked my ass off. What? You didn’t know Jay was an Irish name. Silly rabbit. I just can’t seem to find time to blog lately. It’s been brutal. I worked from 9 to 7 today, commuted home, changed clothes, jammed the equivalent of a TV dinner home and sat right back down at another computer determined to make good on my own internal promise. I missed several Rock Star Birthdays during my absence, but they’ll be there next year. Remember me telling about digitizing my catalogue? Sometimes it gets done by virtue of a post. I can’t go to press with inferior sound quality. I’m too much of a perfectionist. So I whipped through the big three Tears For Fears records before I began. Oops, lost another hour there. It’s 10 PM as I begin writing. I might not get to bed until 1 AM, but that’s par for the course. The problem is I won’t have an or so flat on my back to give it a rest. Did you know that backs don’t care for sitting 12-14 hours a day for months on end? Especially backs desperately in need of a good sports massage on a regular basis. My chiropractor would flip if she knew how much pain I’m regularly in. I don’t even notice the difference anymore. As long as my disk isn’t bothering me I can get through all kinds of tightly wound muscular trauma. Not very Rock & Roll is it? I came to say something and down yet another rat hole I go…
Tears For Fears had a lot more great songs than the average listener will ever know. The funny thing is it’s hard to tell the “B” cuts from the “A” cuts when you get down to it. I’m going to guess that most folks have heard “Change, Head Over Heels, Shout, Everybody Wants To Rule The World and Sowing The Seeds of Love.” If you don’t own a greatest hits package, you probably aren’t too aware of “The Hurting, Mad World, Pale Shelter, Mothers Talk and Suffer The Children.” I didn’t follow Tears For Fears after the 80′s ended. MAN that seems like a long time ago now. 1989′s Sowing The Seeds of Love seemed a wee bit commercial for me, but even though I tried like hell not to like it the truth is I do. I’m going to have to spend some time with their post 80′s output and add to this post some day, but as far as the two man partnership that represented the bulk of 80′s Tears For Fears, it was over after they sowed the seeds of love so to speak. Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith parted company in 1991and Orzabal became a party of one with side musicians. I understand they soldiered on some, but for a band once so huge, you hardly heard their name again after 1990 or so. It’s almost just as well. Their three records were 80′s mainstays. 22 million records sold all told according to our good friends at Wikipedia. Sound about right. I provided Tears For Fears with tons of cover, the way I bought, and still buy, records, but the radio just leaned on their five or six singles until most of us just couldn’t take it anymore. Those in the know though understood there was more to Tears For Fears besides a cool band name and six great songs. These guys were standouts in an era that wanted its MTV. The Thomas Dolby’s and The Thompson Twin types all seemed to blend together to a degree. It’s not a slight on any of these acts; it was just the times. A pretty face could bank a career on one song and it might have an expiration date of 1000 listens. No matter, on to the next video. It really seems wild to me now, what with Jersey Shore and all kinds of garbage so called Reality TV programming clogging up the once mighty hit making video channel. Duran Duran has got to be taking this pretty hard.
There isn’t much else to add about Tears For Fears. Smith and Orzabal met as teenagers, became competent session men, had a few false starts in different bands, struck out on their own, got signed to Phonogram Records in 1981 and the rest is history. Make no mistake; The Hurting and Songs From The Big Chair were fantastic records and turned these two men into international superstars in the space of about three years. It’s kind of cool, but I’ll bet it was plenty scary too. The pressure to repeat great records has got to be unbelievable. I can’t even write a lousy post and some bands kick out great music for dozens of records. I wouldn’t have cared if Tears For Fears just cut three records and called it a day. I would still remember them. They have a place in My Insipid Record Collection. Enjoy.
Buy or Download Tears Roll Down, Greatest Hits ’82-’92 From Amazon Here.