Tears For Fears in concert from Cleveland, recorded on February 12, 1990. Tears for Fears formed in Bath, England in 1981 by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. Founded after the dissolution of their first band, the mod-influenced Graduate, Tears for Fears were initially associated with the new wave synthesiser bands of the early 1980s. Later, the band branched out into mainstream rock and pop and attained international chart success. Tears for Fears were part of the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US.
The band’s debut album, The Hurting (1983), reached number one on the UK Albums Chart. Their second album, Songs from the Big Chair (1985), reached number one on the US Billboard 200, achieving multi-platinum status in both the UK and the US. Songs from the Big Chair contained two Billboard Hot 100 number one hits: “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”‘. The latter song won the Brit Award for Best British Single in 1986.
It was 1989 before the group released their third album, The Seeds of Love at a reported production cost of over a million pounds. The album was written largely by Orzabal along with keyboardist Nicky Holland, who had toured with the band on their “Big Chair” world tour in 1985. Moving from various studios and using various sets of producers over many months, the band ultimately decided to scrap the recordings and take the reins themselves with assistance from engineer Dave Bascombe. Much of the material was recorded in jam sessions and later edited down. The length of the production impacted on the band’s management company, who had financially over-extended themselves in other business matters and were hoping for an earlier release date to pay off their debts.
The album retained the band’s epic sound while showing increasing influences ranging from jazz and blues to the Beatles, the latter being evident on the hit single “Sowing the Seeds of Love” (the first record ever played on the Irish-based longwave radio station Atlantic 252). The second single from the album was “Woman in Chains” (a top 40 hit in the UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and the US), on which Phil Collins played drums and Oleta Adams—whom Orzabal would later guide to a successful solo career—shared vocals.
The album was a worldwide success, entering the UK Albums Chart at no. 1, making the top 10 in the US and in numerous other countries, eventually going on to sell millions of copies internationally. The band set out on an extensive “Seeds of Love” world tour sponsored by Philips to start recovering the debt incurred. The band’s show in Santa Barbara, California, in May 1990 would be captured on the Going to California live video as the singles “Advice for the Young at Heart” and “Famous Last Words” delivered modest chart success.
A 64-page companion book, simply titled Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love, was released by Virgin Books in 1990 and offered extensive insight from Orzabal, Holland and Adams into the songwriting and production process for the album, as well as the musical scores for each track and rare promotional photographs from the era.
This concert comes from the Seeds Of Love period in 1990. Curt and Roland would split in 1991, and reform in 2000, and have been together ever since. If you missed them during this middle period, here’s a chance to check out what they were doing at the time. It was a departure from their earlier work, but they’ve never lost that ability to offer compelling and well-crafted material. Still do.