After a nearly decade-long break from recording and on the heels of a 30th anniversary deluxe edition of their debut album The Hurting, Tears For Fears' Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith will return to the studio this fall to begin a new album. "We felt the time was right to go and do something new," Smith says. The band recently recorded a version of Arcade Fire's "Ready To Start," a song they say helped to "kickstart" the recording process.
The deluxe edition of The Hurting will be available in both a two-cd set along with a special, limited edition 3CD/1DVD box set. Details below.
Thirty years ago, in March 1983, Tears For Fears released their influential synth-pop debut, The Hurting. The critical acclaim and commercial success that greeted the album was the culmination of 18 months of hard work.
The birthplace of Tears For Fears was the City of Bath in Somerset, southwest England. It was there that Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith met as teenagers in the late ‘70s and a friendship evolved into a musical alliance that endures to this day.
Roland and Curt briefly called themselves History Of Headaches, but this was soon changed to Tears For Fears. The chosen name was a reference to the work of American psychologist Arthur Janov, who in the late 1960s developed Primal Therapy – a trauma-based psychotherapy that attempts to resolve repressed childhood pain.
By 1981 they had a name, they knew what the songs were going to be about, and Roland set to work writing. But it took some time for the band to find the sound they were looking for.
Despite The Hurting being regarded a new wave, synth-based classic, virtually all the tracks on the album were written by Roland on an acoustic guitar, including the song that gave the record its name. “Writing the title track was a strange piece of psychic osmosis,” says Roland. “Curt had been to see a band from Bristol called ‘Electric Guitars’ and was describing their sound to me; I had an acoustic guitar in my hand at the time and played him what he was describing: That’s how The Hurting was written, and we knew for a long time it was the right name for our first album."
It was keyboard player Ian Stanley who brought technology to the table and helped Tears For Fears fulfill their sonic ambitions. Roland has no doubts how important he was. “Without Ian’s eight-track studio, his Roland JP4, his CR78 drum machine and MXR Pitch Transposer, we wouldn’t be where we are now.... He gave us the opportunity to demo, at his home studio, songs such as ‘Pale Shelter,’ ‘Change’ and ‘Mad World’.” The hard work was rewarded when “Mad World” was released in September 1982, and peaked at number three in the UK singles chart in November.
Work on the album continued, and it was the success of “Mad World” – at one point earmarked as a B-side for “Pale Shelter” – that banished any commercial doubts the record company may have been harboring. A few months later in January 1983, “Change” was issued as a follow-up single, reaching number four in the UK charts and number 22 in the US. Tears For Fears were now riding the crest of a wave and the time had come to finally release the album. The Hurting hit the shops on March 7, 1983, a full 16 months after “Suffer The Children.” Two weeks later the LP hit number one in the UK, displacing Michael Jackson’s Thriller. One final single, a reissued (and re-recorded) “Pale Shelter,” was released a month later and became the album’s third big hit.
Tears For Fears would go on to make two further albums in the ‘80s. Their second long-player – the mega-selling, global, pop tour-de-force that was 1985’s Songs From The Big Chair – is undoubtedly the world’s favorite Tears For Fears album, while the sophisticated grown-up stylings of 1989’s The Seeds Of Love contains “Sowing The Seeds Of Love,” arguably the best six minutes of pop music the band ever produced.
Like all great art, The Hurting connects. The emotion grabs hold of your heart and gives it a squeeze. The Primal Therapy and Janov influence provide a satisfying consistency, and the band is comfortable using the ‘C’ word in reference to The Hurting: “In many ways it is a concept album,” says Roland. “It’s a very consistent album with its own distinct personality. There’s a strong message running through it and some of the song titles were taken from Janov’s writing.”
The Hurting, in many ways, is about the transition between the child and the adult; an exploration of how to leave the baggage of your childhood behind and become a grown-up, without shackles to the past. “Memories Fade,” with its haunting, memorable, oscillating synth intro, spells this out as the rhythm dramatically bursts in: “I cannot grow, I cannot move, I cannot feel my age.”
In the end, The Hurting was the album that the band needed to make. There was never going to be alternative debut. The basic idea behind Janov’s Primal Therapy - the impact that the traumas of childhood had on your character as an adult – was the blood running through the veins of the record.
“I think it was important for us that our first album had substance and was not just a commercial work. So in that sense it was the album we had to make,” says Curt. “We felt the need to get it out of our systems and share.”
“That was definitely what we were about,” agrees Roland. “100 percent pure Tears For Fears.”
This 30th Anniversary deluxe edition of The Hurting is the first serious re-examination of the album and its attendant singles. Comprehensively remastered at Abbey Road Studios and overseen by Roland and Curt, the new release adds the 1981 version of “Suffer The Children” in four versions: 7” single, 12” remix, instrumental, and a unique version that only came to light in 1999 (issued on a promotional-only CD). Likewise, the first March 1982 release of “Pale Shelter” also makes an appearance on CD 2 of this set, in both original 7” and 12” versions. Because “Suffer The Children” and “Pale Shelter” were later re-recorded for the album (with Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum producing), these early cuts were unique to the vinyl singles issued at the time, and the new deluxe edition marks their CD debut.
Other alternates featured on this 30th anniversary celebration of The Hurting include “Change” (New Version). Roland says, “I remember trying to convince everyone that we’d recorded ‘Change’ at too fast a tempo. We had another crack at it slower, but it lost something in the process.” Tape fans might recall this track being appended to the original UK cassette. Like much of the bonus material on this deluxe edition, it has never before been issued on CD.
Different recordings of album tracks “The Prisoner” and “Ideas As Opiates” (originally issued on the B-sides of some of the early singles) bring the total number songs on The Hurting available in alternate form to five (half of the album).
The deluxe box set also includes all the 12” remixes and B-sides, including “Wino,” another track previously unissued on CD, as well as the 1984 ‘In My Mind’s Eye’ Hammersmith Odeon concert film, which makes its DVD debut with this release. The 2CD and digital package includes all of the audio from the larger set’s Discs 1 and 2.
Tears For Fears have also recorded a new cover version of Arcade Fire’s “Ready To Start,” which is streaming on tearsforfears.com. The band says, “Having appreciated artists like Kanye West, Katy Perry, Kimbra, Nas, Gary Jules/Michael Andrews, Adam Lambert and Dizzee Rascal covering and sampling our songs over the past years, we agreed that some reciprocal cross-generational love was in order. We decided to give Arcade Fire a twist of Tears For Fears. Enjoy.”
With a career that has spanned three decades, Tears For Fears stand out as one of the most successful singer, song-writer and producer duos of the modern era.
Tears For Fears: The Hurting 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
The Original Album
Ideas As Opiates
Suffer The Children
Watch Me Bleed
Start Of The Breakdown
Singles, B-Sides, Mixes & Rarities
Suffer The Children (original 7")
Pale Shelter (original 7")
The Prisoner (original version)
Ideas As Opiates
Change (new version)
Suffer The Children (remix)
Pale Shelter (original 12")
Mad World (world remix)
Change (extended version)
Pale Shelter (reissue 12")
Suffer The Children (instrumental)
Change (7" edit)
The Conflict (B-side)
We Are Broken (B-side)
Suffer The Children (promo CD)
The BBC Sessions
Ideas As Opiates (Peel Session)
Suffer The Children (Peel Session)
The Prisoner (Peel Session)
The Hurting (Peel Session)
Memories Fade (Jensen Session)
The Prisoner (Jensen Session)
The Start Of The Breakdown (Jensen Session)
The Hurting (Jensen Session)
Start Of The Breakdown (Live)
Change (Jensen Session)
DISC FOUR – DVD
‘In My Mind’s Eye’ – Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1984
Start Of The Breakdown
The Working Hour
Ideas As Opiates
We Are Broken
Head Over Heels
Suffer The Children