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Reissue Theory: Tears for Fears, “The Hurting: 30th Anniversary Edition”

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The Hurting

Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we spotlight notable albums and the reissues they could someday see. Thirty years ago today, one of the best synth-rock bands of the 1980s released their first full-length album – as good a time as any to champion the career of Tears for Fears!

“Is it an horrific dream?
Am I sinking fast?”

– “The Hurting,” Tears for Fears

From the beginning of the first side of Tears for Fears’ debut LP, it’s honestly kind of hard to predict where they’d end up. Maybe that’s the secret to their intrigue all these years later – if not the catchy melodies and dense lyrics of their body of work.

On March 7, 1983, Phonogram Records in the U.K. issued the band’s first full-length record, The Hurting, and further pushed them down the path to international success. That said, TFF still don’t truly get their due as a group – which brings us to this revisitation of the record that started it all, so to speak.

Of course, the TFF story actually begins much earlier, somewhere in the late 1970s in the sleepy town of Bath, England. Teenagers Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith meet and decide to pool their mutual interests in making music. They first join a local group called Neon, who become known far more for what their members would accomplish after the group broke up. (Drummer Manny Elias and guitarist Neil Taylor would work with Tears for Fears throughout the next decade, while principal members/songwriters Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher formed the successful synth-pop duo Naked Eyes.)

Their first fully-formed group, a mod-cum-New Wave group called Graduate, nicks the lowest dregs of the charts and break up during the sessions for their second album. By that point, Orzabal and Smith are far less interested in making straightforward pop/rock and, despite their proficiency with stringed instruments (Orzabal on guitar, Smith on bass), experiment with synthesizers and more overt New Wave styles of production.

Also notable alongside the tonal shift is an increasing interest in psychology and its thematic effect on the duo’s songwriting. Orzabal, in particular, whose family life is decidedly non-traditional (his father managed local entertainers before suffering a nervous breakdown), becomes attracted to the works of Arthur Janov, whose primal scream therapy was championed by John Lennon in the immediate aftermath of The Beatles’ breakup. Directly inspired by a passage in The Primal Scream, Orzabal and Smith change their band name from History of Headaches to Tears for Fears, and pen songs full of drama and angst but with surprisingly deft musical chops to back it up, combining gurgling keyboard riffs courtesy of keyboardist Ian Stanley with muscular rock hooks and distinctive vocals from the full-throated tenor of Orzabal as well as the more introspective Smith. Elias’ strong drumming rounded out the initial lineup, although Orzabal and Smith have long been considered the major nucleus of the band, particularly after Stanley and Elias departed in the late ’80s.

TFF 83

Tears for Fears were signed to Phonogram in 1981 and get to work on several singles – none of which you’ll easily find on CD. The history behind those tracks – and the ones you know – are after the jump!

Before the release of The Hurting, Tears for Fears put much of their repertoire in the hands of other, unusually-matched producers to varying effects. Their debut single was a version of “Suffer the Children” produced by David Lord, whose biggest credit at the time was the compilation Avon Calling, comprised of tracks by Bristol-based ensembles. (Lord would co-produce Peter Gabriel’s fourth album in 1982.) The next single, a version of “Pale Shelter” with producer Mike Howlett, gets much closer to the band’s familiar sound, but was not a success.

It was only once working with producers Chris Hughes (of Adam and The Ants fame) and Ross Cullum that the band finally hit their stride. This was evidenced by the release of “Mad World” in 1982. A deceptively peppy slice of teen angst, the track became the band’s first Top 5 hit in the U.K.; follow-ups “Change” and a re-recorded “Pale Shelter” did the same, bringing the LP itself to the top of the U.K. charts. Hughes and Cullum’s sensibilities bought the best out of TFF, encouraging them to combine the inward-facing tendencies of songs like “Memories Fade” and the title track with elements of modern rock. The Hurting, with its ringing guitars and rolling drum lines, lays the groundwork for the band’s later, more expansive works.

Tears - SufferThe Hurting has also become a strange breeding ground for influences elsewhere in popular music. Midge Ure slowed the title track’s opening rhythm loop considerably to form the backbone for the charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” while the verse and chorus melody of “Memories Fade” was borrowed by Kanye West for “Coldest Winter,” the closing track on his experimental 808s & Heartbreak. The most famous recording inspired by the album, though, would be a cover of “Mad World” by Gary Jules & Michael Andrews. Recasting the tune as a mournful piano ballad, Jules’ & Andrews’ version gained widespread acclaim as used in the finale of the cult classic film Donnie Darko in 2001; two years later, it was England’s Christmas No. 1 single.

In 1999, Mercury reissued The Hurting (alongside follow-ups Songs from the Big Chair and The Seeds of Love) with new liner notes and four bonus tracks – in this case, the original remix versions of “Mad World,” “Change” and non-LP single “The Way You Are” as well as a longer, unreleased version of the 12″ version of the Hughes/Cullum-produced version of “Pale Shelter.”

That said, there is much that has yet to bow on CD. None of the original single versions predating “Mad World” are readily available anywhere, nor are most of the non-LP B-sides from these singles. (Acoustic oddity “Wino” and “Saxophones As Opiates,” a remix of album cut “Ideas As Opiates” with the titular instrument in place of a vocal track, aren’t on CD anywhere, though “The Conflict,” the flipside of “Change,” was released as a bonus track on the 1999 reissue of Big Chair. The original version of “We Are Broken,” a B-side later re-recorded for Big Chair, was given an extended intro on a U.K. reissue and retitled “Broken Revisited”; it was included as a bonus track on the 2006 deluxe edition of Big Chair and so has not been included here.)

TFF In My Mind's EyeOur theoretical reissue would also include a DVD featuring not only promo videos but an unreleased concert video, In My Mind’s Eye. Recorded at the end of 1983, this live set features Orzabal, Smith, Stanley and Elias playing with a solid group of secondary musicians, including keyboardist Andy Davis, guitarist Neil Taylor and percussionist Jerry Marotta. (All would contribute to Big Chair, and Marotta would drum on Peter Gabriel’s So and a host of other great LPs throughout the years.) As you can see from the above clip, the original video featured many over-the-top visual effects; perhaps a proper expanded edition would remaster the picture and eschew those visuals.

Our theoretical track list is below. What do you think? Is it time to rediscover The Hurting? What are your favorite songs from this album? Any other great TFF memories? Sound off in the comments!

Tears for Fears, The Hurting: 30th Anniversary Edition

Disc 1: Original LP (originally released as Mercury MERS 17 (U.K.)/811 039-1 M-1 (U.S.), 1983) and B-sides

  1. The Hurting
  2. Mad World
  3. Pale Shelter
  4. Ideas As Opiates
  5. Memories Fade
  6. Suffer the Children
  7. Watch Me Bleed
  8. Change
  9. The Prisoner
  10. Start of the Breakdown
  11. Wino (B-side to “Suffer the Children” – Phonogram IDEA 1, 1982)
  12. Saxophones As Opiates (B-side to “Mad World” – Phonogram IDEA 3, 1982)
  13. The Conflict (B-side to “Change” – Phonogram IDEA 4, 1983)

Disc 2: Bonus material

  1. Suffer the Children (Single Version)
  2. Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love) (Single Version)
  3. The Prisoner (Single Version)
  4. Ideas As Opiates (Single Version)
  5. Change (New Version)
  6. Suffer the Children (Remix)
  7. Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love) (Extended Version)
  8. Mad World (World Remix)
  9. Change (Extended Version)
  10. Pale Shelter (New Extended Remix)
  11. Change (Live in Oxford)
  12. Start of the Breakdown (Live in Oxford)

Disc 2, Tracks 1 released on Phonogram single IDEA 1, 1982
Disc 2, Tracks 2-3 released as Phonogram single IDEA 2, 1982
Disc 2, Track 4 released on Phonogram single IDEA 3, 1982
Disc 2, Tracks 5 and 9 released on Phonogram 12″ single IDEA 412, 1983
Disc 2, Track 6 released on Phonogram 12″ single IDEA 112, 1982
Disc 2, Track 7 released on Phonogram 12″ single IDEA 212, 1982
Disc 2, Track 8 released on Phonogram double 7″ single IDEA 33, 1982
Disc 2, Track 10 released on Phonogram 12″ single IDEA 512, 1983
Disc 2, Tracks 11-12 released on “The Way You Are” double 7″ single – Phonogram IDEA S6, 1983

Disc 3: DVD – In My Mind’s Eye and promo videos

  • Start of the Breakdown
  • Mothers Talk
  • Pale Shelter
  • The Working Hour
  • The Prisoner
  • Ideas As Opiates
  • Mad World
  • We Are Broken
  • Head Over Heels
  • Suffer the Children
  • The Hurting
  • Memories Fade
  • Change

All tracks recorded live at the Hammersmith Apollo, December 1983. Released on Music Media laserdisc 04 349-1 (U.K.), 1984

Promo videos:

Written by Mike Duquette

March 7, 2013 at 10:09

27 Responses

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  1. Very well put together – I’d forgotten about some of those earliest live recordings, not to mention the odd “single verstion” (in this case, not just early fades from the album version etc.) IN MY MINDS EYE was commercially released on VHS as you said, but also on the short-lived CDV format (I have a copy) outside the USA. Note also, the middle “single” “The Way You Are” has been collected on both THE HURTING and also SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR in the past (bringing up the argument, does a single stand alone, or represent the last, or the next thing?!)

    Todd R.

    March 7, 2013 at 10:27

    • AIMHO, singles between albums should stand alone or be part of the next thing. Case in point – The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” would have been out of place for inclusion on ‘Revolver’, but would have been more at home somewhere on ‘Sgt. Pepper’. Same thing with “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” on ‘Revolver’ not ‘Rubber Soul’.
      Looking forward to anything new or otherwise by TFF!! I hope they tour as well – (Jacksonville, Florida, please!)


      June 17, 2013 at 12:51

  2. I love this album and “Suffer the Children” in particular! I would buy an expanded issue of this in a heartbeat! Now I have to hunt down that original version of “Suffer the Children!

    Ray Judson

    March 7, 2013 at 11:15

  3. I’d certainly fork out the money for this set! I need to track down a copy of “Mind’s Eye”… it’s interesting to see songs like “Head Over Heels” and “Mother’s Talk” in the set list almost two years before the release of Songs from the Big Chair. That said, I really hope they will do a deluxe edition for Seeds of Love. In my opinion that’s TFF’s masterpiece.


    March 7, 2013 at 12:54

  4. I’ve made my own deluxe versions of these years ago. I agree with the poster above that the Seeds of Love is their masterpiece. I did not like it much when it came out but it has aged quite well. Sadly it has the least amount of extra items to work with.

    Some of the extras that you mention aren’t that great and completion for the sake of isn’t always a good call. If you don’t believe me listen to “Wino” or some of the items that didn’t make the cut for the first two Eurythmics albums. It was when I did my home made deluxe editions for these three albums that I decided that some things don’t need to be kept.


    March 7, 2013 at 13:14

    • I’ve posted this here before (more than once, I think… I just can’t let the idea go!), but there are plenty of candidates for a Seeds of Love Deluxe Edition:

      1. Sowing the Seeds of Love (7″ version)
      2. Woman in Chains (7″ version)
      3. Famous Last Words (Single Edit or French Radio Edit)[these first three tracks wouldn’t be essential as they’re just radio edits]
      4. Advice for the Young at Heart (Single Mix)
      5. Tears Roll Down
      6. My Life in the Suicide Ranks
      7. Always in the Past
      8. Woman in Chains (Instrumental)
      9. Ghost Papa
      10. Woman in Chains (Jakkatta Awakened Mix)
      11. Music for Tables
      12. Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
      13. Johnny Panic (Instrumental)
      14. Year of the Knife (Canadian Single Remix)
      15. Johnny Panic (Shock Mix)
      16. Johnny Panic (Unstable Mix)
      17. The Body Wah (from the Best of era)
      18. Lord of Karma (from the Best of era)
      19. Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) (Best of)


      March 7, 2013 at 17:41

      • For a deluxe “Seeds,” the thing I’d most want to hear are any and all outtakes that exist. TFF fans know how sprawling those sessions were, with a great deal of coin spent on producing and a lot of great backing musicians from Phil Collins to Pino Palladino sitting in on various tracks. Oh, to have access to those tape vaults…!

        Mike Duquette

        March 7, 2013 at 20:22

  5. Excellent ideas here.


    March 7, 2013 at 14:52

  6. I would have added the tracks from the Kid Jensen session which are quite good especially the title track with its alternate opening. Also some Peel session tracks could be added. They’re all floating around on the web. One collection is listed here:


    March 7, 2013 at 14:57

    • Those sessions are great but I wouldn’t recommend that CD – It’s a horrible home-made/printed off computer CD-R bootleg that someone has been selling for a few years now, originally off eBay… glad the link you provided gives detailed notes to this release, as in:

      Contact :

      … yes, contact to tell them T4F fans do not appreciate poor quality MP3 audio collections! We’d rather rip our original vinyls, thanks!

      The Marauder

      March 8, 2013 at 13:11

  7. What’s the story about the different cover art (vinyl only?) released for example in Brazil?


    March 7, 2013 at 17:52

  8. This would be an amazing deluxe edition. I’d certainly buy one. The only thing I could add would I’d love to hear a 5.1 mix. There are so many layers to all of TFF’s music that all of their albums are screaming out to be remixed into 5.1.


    March 7, 2013 at 19:24

  9. Reblogged this on The World is Going Crazy and commented:
    Shut up and take my money! What could be a better way for me to top off my 11-year-loyalty to the band? I bought and played the hell out of both this and SFTBC in 7th grade, and 10 years later they haven’t lost their charm.


    March 7, 2013 at 20:30

  10. I would instantly buy, no questions asked.

    Jennel Kordus

    March 7, 2013 at 20:43

  11. Great piece! If you were to re-release In My Mind’s Eye, please please PLEASE re-edit it without all of the hideous 80s video graphics!


    March 7, 2013 at 21:59

  12. P.S. It’s not an unreleased concert video if it’s been released, which, you know, it has.


    March 7, 2013 at 22:05

  13. Absolutely perfect! We’ve been celebrating this anniversary for the past 9+ hours. We are looking forward to all that they are bringing forth in the coming months and next year.

  14. You may know this already, but Curt Smith retweeted a link to this article. Great article. I would love having all theses songs, even Wino 🙂 on CD. Also, Tears for Fears just set up an official website for the first time in years. The domain name is just what you would think it is. Exciting stuff!


    March 8, 2013 at 00:46

  15. It would be nice if there were the original 12″ extended remixes from this album included, especially for “Pale Shelter”

    Barry Braxton

    March 8, 2013 at 06:53

  16. NEEDS to happen! Could easily be a 5-DISC set! TEARS FOR FEARS – The Hurting [Deluxe Edition] Rarities –

    Change (New Version)
    Change (Live in Oxford)
    Change (Joey Negro Punkdisco Mix)
    The Conflict (B-side)
    Ideas As Opiates (Single Version)
    Mad World (World Remix)
    Mad World (Afterlife Remix)
    The Marauders (B-side)
    Pale Shelter (Single Version)
    Pale Shelter (Canadian Single Version)
    Pale Shelter (Extended Version)
    Pale Shelter (New Extended Version)
    Pale Shelter (from Curt Smith’s “Aeroplane” – 1999 Recording)
    The Prisoner (B-side)
    Saxophones As Opiates (B-side)
    Start Of The Breakdown (Live in Oxford)
    Suffer the Children (Single Version)
    Suffer the Children (Remix)
    Suffer the Children (Instrumental)
    The Way You Are (B-side)
    The Way You Are (Extended Version)
    We Are Broken (B-side)
    Wino (B-side)

    Including –

    Ideas As Opiates (John Peel session, August 14, 1982)
    The Hurting (John Peel session, August 14, 1982)
    Suffer The Children (John Peel session, August 14, 1982)
    The Prisoner (John Peel session, August 14, 1982)
    Ideas As Opiates (Kid Jensen session)
    The Prisoner (Kid Jensen session)
    Start Of The Breakdown (Kid Jensen session)
    Memories Fade (Kid Jensen session)

    The Marauder

    March 8, 2013 at 11:44

  17. What about a 5.1 Surround mix in HD Quality (SACD or Blu-Ray)


    March 11, 2013 at 05:01

  18. A pedant writes: Bath is a city.


    March 11, 2013 at 15:16

  19. Don’t be disappointed if not all your suggestions will be put on the re-release album.
    If a reissued album will see the face of the earth.


    March 29, 2013 at 14:00

  20. How different is the Canadian Single Version of Pale Shelter?

    Pete M

    April 3, 2013 at 09:55

  21. How do we make this happen?

    Perseverance Runner

    April 24, 2013 at 23:52

  22. Suffer The Children (Remix) is available on Retro:Active Rare and Remixed 7


    July 24, 2013 at 22:34

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