Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#733 in the Series) is Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love.
I would love to know how much time Tears for Fears spent in the studio recording this album. It has so much texture and so many layers that it had to have taken many, many months. Released in 1989, this was their third release following The Hurting and Songs from the Big Chair. The latter reached #1 on the strength of two singles, “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
The Seeds of Love peaked at #8 but top to bottom, this this was a stronger album in my opinion.
There was a major difference in this album that sets it apart from the first two. That is the incredible vocals of guest singer Oleta Adams. Ms. Adams was a struggling gospel singer who had previously released two self-financed solo albums that did not get much notice. She moved to Kansas City after not finding much success in Los Angeles.
There her life changed. She was performing in a hotel bar when Tears for Fears members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith wandered in while on tour. They obviously were impressed with her talents. Enough so that two years later she’s singing on their album and touring the world. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
She is best known from this contribution for the duet she sang with Roland that opens the album. It’s a fantastic song called “Woman in Chains.” Do you recognize that drum sound, yes indeed, that is Phil Collins. Manu Katché also plays some drums on the album. Pino Palladino can be heard here as a guest bassist. He’s now better known for being the man that replaced John Entwistle in the Who within days of John’s death. Since then he’s been The Who’s bassist whenever there is a Who.
Other great songs on the album include the heavily Beatles-influenced “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” “Badman’s Song,” “Advice for the Young at Heart,” “Swords and Knives” and “Year of the Knife.” I guess I could have just said “all of them!”
Oleta Adams maintains a solo career to this day. Most of her success has been in Tears for Fear home country, the U.K. They still record and tour but haven’t had a major hit in the US since “Sowing the Seeds of Love.”
In closing, I want to add that one of the best things about writing these pieces is that it forces me to go back and listen to albums that I might not otherwise have played in a long, long time. This is a great example. It was pure musical joy listening to this once again. I have not heard many album that are near this good. In many ways this was the next generation’s Sgt. Peppers or Magical Mystery Tour.
- “Woman in Chains” (Roland Orzabal) 6:30
- “Badman’s Song” (Orzabal, Nicky Holland) 8:32
- “Sowing the Seeds of Love” (Orzabal, Curt Smith) 6:19
- “Advice for the Young at Heart” (Orzabal, Holland) 4:55
- “Standing on the Corner of the Third World” (Orzabal) 5:33
- “Swords and Knives” (Orzabal, Holland) 6:20
- “Year of the Knife” (Orzabal, Holland) 6:55
- “Famous Last Words” (Orzabal, Holland) 4:31
Tears For Fears
- Roland Orzabal – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Fairlight Programming
- Curt Smith – Vocals, Bass
- Ian Stanley – Keyboards
- Drums – Manu Katché, Chris Hughes, Phil Collins, Simon Phillips
- Bass – Pino Palladino
- Keyboards – Simon Clark, Nicky Holland, Oleta Adams
- Guitar – Robbie McIntosh, Neil Taylor, Randy Jacobs
- Percussion – Carole Steele, Luís Jardim
- Backing vocals – Tessa Niles, Carol Kenyon, Nicky Holland, Dollette McDonald, Andy Caine, Maggie Ryder
- Trumpet – Jon Hassell
- Harmonica – Peter Hope-Evans
- Official Curt Smith Website
- See our piece on The Hurting
- Back to the Cool Album of the Day Home Page
- See more from 1989
Here are some outstanding live videos of songs from the album.