Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith saw 1983 in on the cover of Smash Hits 1. Having waited years for a Top 10 hit, now suddenly three are about to come along at once.
They met at school in Bath. Towards the end of the 70s, they joined mod-influenced band Graduate, releasing several singles from their only long-player Acting My Age; the album was entirely written by Orzabal save for one Smith composition. Graduate split having failed to chart, but the songwriters decided to continue working together and Tears For Fears was formed. The name was inspired by a line from Arthur Janov’ s classic psychology text which they had read at school, The Primal Scream: “tears as a replacement for fears”.
The first two Tears For Fears singles didn’t sell enough to chart, but by the time of their Smash Hits debut they had already scored their first hit, Mad World; Change will follow it in to the Top 10. There’s no sign of an album yet – the interview takes place at a studio in a converted farmhouse in Chalfont St Giles where recording sessions have been taking place over five months. “We wanted somewhere with no distractions,” Curt Smith explains to Johnny Black. “If you work in a big studio complex, you walk down the corridor and hear Mick Karn playing bass next door, and he’s so good you wonder why you bother.” Smith had been Graduate’s bass player, and Orzabal had contributed vocals and guitar. Neither was familiar with the synthesizers that characterize the Tears For Fears sound: “It was our producer, David Lord, who showed us how to use them and he played all the difficult bits at first.”
Early tracks with Lord are being re-recorded for the album, which will eventually appear as The Hurting produced by Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum. Once again, though, Roland Orzabal is chief songwriter. Another Orzabal original re-recorded during the album sessions is Pale Shelter, originally released as one of those early unsuccessful singles and produced by Mike Howlett; when re-issued shortly after the album, it becomes the duo’s third consecutive Top 10 hit.
1 Black, Johnny. “Dreams Of Children”, Smash Hits, EMAP, 23 Dec 1982 – 5 Jan 1983.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jan. 21
EURYTHMICS Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (RCA DA2)
MATCHBOX featuring Kirsty MACCOLL I Want Out (Magnet MAG238)
TEARS FOR FEARS Change (Mercury IDEA4)