“Luckily we don’t have a record company that expects us to regurgitate records like a factory,” Curt Smith told Smash Hits in 1983. It was just as well. Tears For Fears were developing reputations for taking their time over their music. With work on The Hurting finished at the beginning of 1983, by the end of the year all they had added to their repertoire was a single called The Way You Are.
There were two main reasons for long wait for new material. Firstly, there was the day-to-day business of having a hit album: The Hurting and its attendant singles needed promotion outside the UK and as sales picked up in other territories, the Smith and Roland Orzabal toured to support it. Secondly, and rather more significantly, they were concerned about the direction their work should take. Details about the nature of album number two were vague, but they did say The Way You Are would not be featured on it. Later, they would distance themselves further from the single, despite it being a hit, Orzabal saying, “we lost our way a bit musically. We used to be on the planet Sylvian and now we’re on the planet rock’n’roll, it’s just that the rocket took a long time getting there! No, seriously: we had to re-group and decide what our musical direction was going to be.” Orzbal’s comments came on the release of Mothers Talk, in the middle of 1984 – well over six months after their last release. In that time they had recorded the song twice, working with a new producer to lay down the first version in early ’84. Dissatisfied with the finished product, The Hurting’s producer Chris Hughes was brought back to re-work it. (It wasn’t selected for release as a single in the US originally, but when it did finally appear on a 45rpm disc there in March 1986, it did so in yet another mix, this time by Bob Clearmountain.)
Smith said it was that during their time out of the public eye, they had become less precious. “The only reason we were precious before is because we were terrible,” said Orzabal. “Now we’re going to do things more quickly, make mistakes and make complete prats of ourselves.” Hindsight has shown that statement to be largely false: the two year wait for the second album was nothing compared to the four-and-a-half year wait for the third; if they made mistakes they certainly weren’t done publicly; and they didn’t make prats of themselves. Quite the reverse: they were about to release of series of classic singles that would be hits all over the world.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jul. 27
U2 Fire (Island WIP6679)
TEARS FOR FEARS Mothers Talk (Mercury IDEA7)
Rick ASTLEY Never Gonna Give You Up (RCA PB41447)
KING (Paul King) Follow My Heart (CBS PKING2)
SIMPLY RED (Mick Hucknall) Maybe Someday… (Elektra YZ141)
Kim WILDE Say You Really Want Me (MCA KIM6)
Danny WILSON (Gary Clark) Mary’s Prayer (Virgin VS934)