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Head Over Heels for Tears for Fears’ “Big Chair” Box Set

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Tears - Super Deluxe

Following 2013’s deluxe box set reissue of Tears for Fears’ The Hurting, Universal U.K. has announced the November 3 release of a similarly-impressive box set dedicated to the group’s 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair.  This 4-CD/2-DVD box brings together a remastered edition of the original album and its single B-sides, two discs of rare period remixes and edited single versions, a DVD-Audio containing high-resolution stereo and 5.1 surround mixes courtesy of ace engineer Steven Wilson, and a DVD of promotional videos, BBC performances and a documentary film about the making of the album.  The campaign will also feature a 2-CD distillation of the box set, a new vinyl reissue of the album, and a standalone Blu-ray Audio release with the high-resolution mixes.

In assessing the catalogue of the band led by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, our own Mike Duquette wrote, “The group’s first three LPs – 1983’s The Hurting, 1985’s Songs from the Big Chair and 1989’s The Seeds of Love – are not only engaging for their songs, but for their evolution as well. The Hurting was a dark, New Wave type album heavy on introspection and psychoanalysis. This gave way to Big Chair, [which] contextualized those themes on a bigger playing field, both lyrically (not just self against self, but self against others) and sonically (keyboards now mixed with heavier guitars and fresher drum sounds). The Seeds of Love would take that evolution even further (way more live instrumentation, more big-picture lyrics).”  So, here is a lavishly expanded edition of Tears for Fears’ sophomore album of that early, triumphant trio.  Mike continued to describe Songs as “the high watermark of not only Tears for Fears, but the mid-’80s as well. It spun off a good amount of singles, but it’s a thoroughly cohesive album both musically (the track “Broken” spins off both “Head Over Heels” and “Mothers Talk,” if you know what to listen to) and aesthetically. Rather than gaze inward as on The Hurting, TFF took the current climate of fear, [the] bad economy and nuclear paranoia and sung outward about it.”

Two previous reissues preceded this super deluxe iteration of Songs from the Big Chair.  The 1999 remastered edition added seven bonus tracks including some Hurting-era leftovers.  In 2006, it was expanded once again, this time with more B-sides and remixes but sans two of the tracks from the 1999 version.  Neither of these versions was complete, however, leaving out key tracks such as the U.K. 12-inch mix of “Shout” and the remix “Everybody Wants to Run the World” created for Sport Aid in 1986.  The upcoming box set promises to include every commercially issued B-side and remix from the era.

After the jump: a closer look at what you can expect on the new box set, including the complete track listing with discographical annotation and pre-order links!

The box set’s first CD contains both the remastered original album and its associated B-sides, sequenced in the running order of the original U.K. limited-edition cassette version.  The second disc is dedicated to edited versions of the songs from the album, with the third featuring all of the remixes issued in conjunction with Songs.  Both of these discs feature new-to-CD tracks, and the former even includes the audio debut of the video version of the American remix of “Mother’s Talk” and a promotional version of “Head Over Heels” that hasn’t been commercially issued before.  The fourth disc in the set features 14 never-before-released performances culled from 1984 BBC radio sessions, the three tracks included on the Canadian promo-only Live At Massey Hall twelve-inch release, along with three more tracks from Massey Hall as well as early mixes of “Mothers Talk,” “The Way You Are,” “Broken” and “Shout,” and an early attempt at a 7-inch mix of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

Steven Wilson’s new 5.1 surround mix is the highlight of the DVD-Audio here, which also features a new 2014 stereo mix of the album.  This DVD-A also includes DTS and Dolby layers for those not equipped for DVD-A playback.  The final disc, a standard DVD-Video disc, includes the vintage Songs from the Big Chair documentary along with a 2005 interview with producer Chris Hughes, all of the promo videos from the LP, and eight BBC-TV performances from programs including Top of the Pops and Wogan.

This Tears for Fears treasure trove arrives in the U.K. on November 3 and one day later in the U.S.; it can be ordered at the links below!

Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair: Deluxe Edition (Mercury/UMC, 2014)

Box Set: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

2-CD Deluxe Edition (Discs 1 & 2 below only): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Vinyl (Original Album): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Blu-ray Audio (Stereo and 5.1 Mixes): Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Songs from the Big Chair (released as Mercury MERH58, 1985) and B-sides

  1. Shout
  2. The Working Hour
  3. Everybody Wants to Rule the World
  4. Mothers Talk
  5. I Believe
  6. Broken
  7. Head Over Heels
  8. Listen
  9. The Big Chair (B-side to “Shout” – Mercury IDEA 8, 1984)
  10. Empire Building (B-side to “Mothers Talk” – Mercury IDEA 7, 1984)
  11. The Marauders (B-side to “The Way You Are” – Mercury IDEA 6, 1983)
  12. Broken Revisited (from limited edition cassette album – Mercury MERHC58, 1985)
  13. The Conflict (B-side to “Change” – Mercury IDEA 4, 1983)
  14. The Working Hour (Piano Version) (from limited edition cassette album – Mercury MERHC58, 1985)
  15. Pharoahs (B-side to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” – Mercury IDEA 9, 1985)
  16. When in Love with a Blind Man (B-side to “Head Over Heels” – Mercury IDEA 10, 1985)
  17. Sea Song (B-side to “I Believe” – Mercury IDEA 11, 1985)

Disc 2: Edited Songs from the Big Chair

  1. The Way You Are (Mercury IDEA 6, 1983)
  2. Mothers Talk (7″ Version) (Mercury IDEA 7, 1984)
  3. Shout (7″ Version) (Mercury IDEA 8, 1984)
  4. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (7″ Version) (Mercury IDEA 9, 1985)
  5. Head Over Heels (David Bascombe 7″ Mix) (Mercury IDEA 10, 1985)
  6. I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording) (Mercury IDEA 11, 1984)
  7. Everybody Wants to Run the World (Mercury RACE 1, 1986)
  8. The Way You Are (Short Version) (promo A-side – Mercury IDADJ 6, 1983)
  9. Mothers Talk (U.S. Remix) (Mercury 884 638-7 (U.S.), 1986)
  10. Shout (U.S. Single Version) (Mercury 880 294-7 (U.S.), 1985)
  11. Shout (Short Version) (Mercury 880 441-7 (DE), 1984)
  12. Everybody Wants to Run the World (Running Version) (B-side to Mercury RACE 1, 1986)
  13. Head Over Heels (Radio Version) (possibly Philips S/N 577 (MX), 1986)
  14. Mothers Talk (Video Version) *
  15. Listen (Clean Intro) *
  16. Interview with Curt and Roland (B-side to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” double 7″ – Mercury IDEA 99, 1985)

Disc 3: Remixed Songs from the Big Chair

  1. The Way You Are (Extended Version) (Mercury IDEA 612, 1983)
  2. Mothers Talk (Extended Mix) (Mercury IDEA 712, 1984)
  3. Shout (Extended Version) (Mercury IDEA 812, 1984)
  4. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Extended Mix) (Mercury IDEA 912, 1985)
  5. Broken/Head Over Heels (Preacher Mix) (Mercury IDEA 1012, 1985)
  6. Mothers Talk (Beat of the Drum Mix) (Mercury IDEA R712, 1984)
  7. Shout (U.S. Remix) (Mercury 880 929-1 (U.S.), 1985)
  8. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Urban Mix) (Mercury IDER 912, 1985)
  9. Mothers Talk (Alternate U.S. Remix) (from Songs from the Big Chair: Deluxe Edition – Mercury/Chronicles B0006691-02 (U.S.), 2006)
  10. Shout (Dub) (Mercury promo PRO 366-1 (U.S.), 1985)
  11. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Instrumental) (B-side to Mercury IDER 912, 1985)
  12. Shout (A Capella) (Mercury promo PRO 366-1 (U.S.), 1985)

Disc 4: Unreleased Songs from the Big Chair (previously unreleased except where noted)

  1. Head Over Heels (Richard Skinner Session)
  2. The Working Hour (Richard Skinner Session)
  3. Broken (Richard Skinner Session)
  4. Mothers Talk (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario – 5/29/1985)
  5. Broken/Head Over Heels (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario – 5/29/1985) (from Vertigo promo LP DJV-173 (CA), 1985)
  6. Memories Fade (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario – 5/29/1985) (from Vertigo promo LP DJV-173 (CA), 1985)
  7. The Working Hour (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario – 5/29/1985)
  8. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario – 5/29/1985) (from Vertigo promo LP DJV-173 (CA), 1985)
  9. Shout (Live at Massey Hall, Toronto, Ontario – 5/29/1985)
  10. Mothers Talk (Early Mix/Instrumental)
  11. The Way You Are (Early Mix)
  12. Broken (Early Mix)
  13. Shout (Early Mix)
  14. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Alternate Single Version)

Disc 5: DVD-A (features stereo and Steven Wilson 5.1 surround mix of original album)

Disc 6: Videos

  1. Scenes from the Big Chair (PolyGram Home Video 041 299-2, 1985)
  2. Interview with Chris Hughes (from Scenes from the Big Chair DVD – Mercury 602498342725, 2005)
  3. The Way You Are (promo video)
  4. Mothers Talk (U.K. promo video)
  5. Mothers Talk (promo video)
  6. Shout (promo video)
  7. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (promo video)
  8. Head Over Heels (promo video)
  9. I Believe (promo video)
  10. Mothers Talk (U.S. Remix) (promo video)
  11. Everybody Wants to Run the World (promo video)
  12. The Way You Are (Top of the Pops – December 1983)
  13. Mothers Talk (Top of the Pops – 8/16/1984)
  14. Mothers Talk (Top of the Pops)
  15. Shout (Top of the Pops – 1984)
  16. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Wogan – 3/13/1985)
  17. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Top of the Pops – March 1985)
  18. Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Top of the Pops – 4/11/1985)
  19. The Working Hour (Wogan)

Written by Joe Marchese

September 30, 2014 at 10:38

5 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on AfricanAsianBusinessAndCulturalExchange and commented:
    As we share our experiences at recent shows from the @tearsforfears tour 2014, we’re beyond excited about this announcement. HOH “Big Chair” box set. Pre-order yours today.

    AABCE Cultural Exchange Team

    September 30, 2014 at 11:23

  2. I used to play this album back in the 80s. Love it back then when Sonny & Crockett were cool. A lot has happened since then and I’m afraid that this is a very bloated package for a relatively minor band. Save you money and buy the single disc (if you must).

    Mr MacGoo

    September 30, 2014 at 11:25

  3. I tend to agree with Mr. MacGoo above. Something that I never understood was the 7” edit. IF the song is noticeably a different mix that’s one thing. If it is just shorter why do you need it? One disk on here is essentially just that. The disk of what are basically demo versions, same thing. If the song is structured differently or has additional lyrics as a work in progress I understand having it. If they are just rough versions, well, if you have lots of money that you don’t need I suppose it’s something.

    The rub with these things is the company is able to make a everything but the kitchen sink set like this and they also are able to release something with less on it. Either way they lose with the consumer. The kit like this people will say there’s a lot on here that even a fan doesn’t need. They release the lesser version and fans say where’s this mix or that mix!?!?!? Having bought a lot of 12” product in the 80’s and 90’s I can testify that a lot of the mixes made weren’t that good.


    September 30, 2014 at 12:55

  4. the rare amazing Aberdinshire remix of Head Over Heels is Left Out? Unforgivable. One of those old-skool remixes that breaks down all the best bits.


    September 30, 2014 at 14:41

  5. Based on yesterday’s price comparison, it’s $30 less, shipped, from Amazon UK to the US than Amazon US’ price. Thanks for the info!


    September 30, 2014 at 15:20

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