To mark the 35th anniversary of Tears For Fears’ most successful album, 1985’s Songs From The Big Chair, UMC has announced that both deluxe box set editions of the British duo’s first two albums will go back into print this year.
One of the most potent one-two punches from an act in the ’80s, Tears For Fears burst on the scene with 1983’s The Hurting, a moody, icy album blending elements of rock and electronic music. Formed around singer/songwriters Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith (who also played guitar and bass, respectively) and their youthful angst (both were barely into their 20s at the time), The Hurting touched on complex psychological themes inspired in large part by psychologist Arthur Janov’s writings. Audiences in the U.K. were impressed, bringing the album to the top of the charts and taking three singles into the Top 5: “Mad World,” “Change” and “Pale Shelter.” (“Mad World” was famously covered by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules for the 2001 cult classic Donnie Darko; two years later, it became an unlikely Christmas No. 1 single in England. Elsewhere, album cut “Memories Fade” was interpolated by Kanye West in 2008 for “Coldest Winter,” the penultimate track on his minimal 808s & Heartbreak.)
But nothing could have prepared TFF for what came next: reuniting with The Hurting co-producer Chris Hughes, keyboardist Ian Stanley and drummer Manny Elias, Songs From The Big Chair took the group’s sound in a panoramic new direction, further augmenting the synth sound with polished guitar, pulsating rhythms, energetic bursts of saxophone (chiefly from future Goldfrapp co-founder Will Gregory) and even more catchy melodies. If Tears For Fears were hoping to conquer America with their second album, Big Chair succeeded, topping the Billboard 200 and spinning off U.S. chart-toppers/U.K. Top 5 smashes “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” and “Shout.” (A third single, “Head Over Heels,” peaked at No. 3 in the States.)
Both albums were reissued as definitive box set editions in 2013 and 2014, featuring detailed booklets featuring excerpts of new interviews with Orzabal and Smith and extra discs of B-sides and rarities (three CDs and a DVD of live show In My Mind’s Eye: Live At Hammersmith Odeon 1983 for The Hurting, and four CDs and two DVDs for Big Chair – including music videos, a vintage documentary and even a new 5.1 surround mix by Steven Wilson). Long out-of-print, fans won’t have to pursue expensive resellers to get this material in their collections – and it’s all perfect timing, with a new Classic Albums documentary on Big Chair slated to air on the BBC this Friday, February 14.
Each box will be available again on March 13, as will a new picture disc pressing of Big Chair. Specs on each title can be found in the original posts above, and links can be found below!
The Hurting: Deluxe Edition (reissued Mercury/UMC, 2020): Amazon U.S. (TBD) / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada (TBD)
Songs From The Big Chair: Deluxe Edition (reissued Mercury/UMC, 2020): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
Songs From The Big Chair (Picture Disc) (reissued Mercury/UMC, 2020): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada