Tears for Fears ” The Hurting”

Posted 16 Jul 2011 in 80s, Albums of 1983, Albums of the 80s, Alt-Rock

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#436 in the Series) is Tears For Fears, The Hurting. 

Tears For Fears hit big in 1985 with Songs From The Big Chair. Why? Well, a few reasons. One reason was the single “Everybody Wants to Rule The World.” Another reason was this album, The Hurting. The Hurtingestablished a fine strong base for the band. When the time came to start promoting the next album the promotional departments were definitely not starting from point zero.  It’s so much easier to walk into a music director’s office and discuss a band that has some history.  This album hardly made a dent on top 40 hit top stations, but it did very well with the hip, FM rockers.

Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal

The music here was fantastic.  It very well could have been a huge seller. What made it fantastic may have been its downfall as well.  That would be its subject matter.  Albums about child abuse and hurting kids, while making for some needed subject matter, don’t exactly make the cash registers ring or the needles at the radio stations jump.

Having said that, it still went about five songs deep at those FM stations. The first song to get pushed was “Suffer the Children.” It received so, so response here in The States, the second track is where we started hearing about them. That would be “Pale Shelter.” “Pale Shelter” did quite well.  The follow up, “Mad World” would continue that success, but the song that fared the best here was the next single, “Change.” “Change” actually charted on the Modern Rock Tracks listings. It wasn’t spectacular but very solid at #22.  For the record, The Hurting as an album peaked at #73.

While this established the band in The States, it was a huge seller in the UK.  The album did hit #1 while “Mad World”, “Pale Shelter” and “The Hurting” were all Top 5 singles.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

All songs written by Roland Orzabal.

  1. “The Hurting” – 4:20
  2. “Mad World” – 3:35
  3. “Pale Shelter” – 4:34
  4. “Ideas as Opiates” – 3:46
  5. “Memories Fade” – 5:08
  6. “Suffer the Children” – 3:53
  7. “Watch Me Bleed” – 4:18
  8. “Change” † – 4:15
  9. “The Prisoner” – 2:55
  10. “Start of the Breakdown” – 5:00


  • Roland Orzabal – vocals, guitar, keyboards, rhythm programming, lead vocals on tracks 1, 4-7, and 10
  • Curt Smith – vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, lead vocals on tracks 1, 2, 3, 8, and 9
  • Ian Stanley – keyboard programming, computer programming
  • Manny Elias – drumming, rhythm programming

Additional personnel

  • Chris Hughes – rhythm programming, tuned percussion, conducting
  • Ross Cullum – jazz high, dynamic toggle
  • Mel Collins – saxophones
  • Phil Palmer – palmer picking
  • Caroline Orzabal – child vocal on “Suffer the Children”


See our feature on Tears For Fears, The Seeds of Love
See more from 1983
Back to the Cool Album HOMEPAGE
Check out the new Cool Album FORUM 

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Q Bick (07 Jun 2012, 21:25)

    I <3 you curt and roland!

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