The profile of Tears For Fears remained high during 1986, with Songs From The Big Chair selling steadily throughout the year and their involvement in a charity single returning them to the Top 10. The Sport Aid event was promoted by a new Tears For Fears single called Everybody Wants To Run The World, an updated version of their previous, similarly-titled hit. Thereafter, their public profile was significantly diminished for the best part of three years, while work took place on album number three. Early recording sessions with new producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley were abandoned in early 1987 as Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith weren’t happy with the results. Once again, Chris Hughes was brought back but tensions in the studio over the creative process continued and by the end of the year he had withdrawn too. In the end, Smith and Orzabal took on the production duties themselves for sessions that lasted some eighteen months. This extended period of activity cost the duo personally and financially: their working relationship was breaking down and it was estimated the total bill for the completed album – including all the demos and multiple re-recordings, paying off producers who hadn’t worked out, the fees commanded by the long list of ‘name’ session musicians who appeared – approached £1m. The final song on the LP, Famous Last Words, almost became the title track – Orzabal speculated that there might not be another Tears For Fears record, so exhausting had the process of making this one been.
Promotion began in the latter half of 1989, the single Sowing The Seeds Of Love making the Top 10. The album The Seeds Of Love received favourable reviews, and despite the songs having been written over an extended period (Badman’s Song dated from their 1985 tour, Swords And Knives had originally been submitted for the 1986 film ‘Sid And Nancy’ but had been turned down, Sowing The Seeds Of Love was written during the 1987 General Election in the UK, other songs were radically changed from their demo forms and effectively re-written during the 1988-1989 sessions) the overall sound was cohesive. It was a hit, entering the album chart at #1, but it was a short set: just eight songs, with Smith’s lead vocals appearing on only one. (Backing vocalist Oleta Adams’ voice was in almost as much evidence as Smith’s on the album, particularly on second single Woman In Chains.) Continued promotion included three further singles, a VHS of video clips, a book containing the group’s thoughts on the recording of the album, and another tour, all of which were well-received. But Tears For Fears would barely survive into the 1990s. Their manager was declared bankrupt and his management company, which had had Tears For Fears as clients since 1982, folded.
☛ What happened next
Tears For Fears effectively ended in the early 1990s. There were a couple of hits from The Seeds Of Love in 1990, one of which was Advice for the Young At Heart which was the one track from the album featuring Smith’s lead vocal. Its B-side, Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams, was remixed the following year but as this version featured neither Smith’s nor Orzabal’s vocals it was released under the name Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams rather than Tears For Fears. Early the year after that, a collection of the group’s singles was released called Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92), named after the subtitle of a new single Laid So Low. Smith had left the group by that point and did not appear on the single, nor did he assist in promoting the album. A re-issue of another single from The Seeds of Love, Woman In Chains, was also used to promote the album, with Oleta Adams’ vocal contribution to the song heavily emphasized – she received co-billing on this release, not having done on the first issue. (Orzabal had co-produced her acclaimed debut solo album in 1990.)
Smith and Orzabal began solo careers thereafter, although the latter released his under the Tears For Fears name for the rest of the decade. Re-masters of back catalogue albums were useful revenue earners in the late 90s but at this stage Orzabal and Smith had little contact with each other. It was only in 2000, when routine business matters put them back in touch, that they started to rekindle their working relationship. Although their solo projects continued, a new Tears For Fears album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending eventually came together and was released in 2004. They have performed live together on a number of occasions over the past ten years, and there is still talk of a possible seventh album from the group.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Nov. 6
The PROFESSIONALS The Magnificent (Virgin VS456)
SKIDS Iona (Virgin VS449)
SOFT CELL Bedsitter (Some Bizarre BZS6)
SPANDAU BALLET Paint Me Down (Reformation CHS2560)
The TEARDROP EXPLODES (Julian Cope) Colours Fly Away (Mercury TEAR6)
CLIMIE FISHER Fire On The Ocean (EMI EM112)
The CULT (Ian Astbury) Sun King (Beggars Banquet BEG235)
The JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Head On (Blanco Y Negro NEG42)
Ian McCULLOCH Faith And Healing (WEA YZ436)
Malcolm McLAREN House Of The Blue Danube (Epic WALTZ4)
TEARS FOR FEARS Woman In Chains (Fontana IDEA13)
UB40 Homely Girl (DEP International DEP33)