Tears For Fears / Rule The World: A track-by-track guide + what’s missing?

Photo: Jake Walters

TFF enthusiast, Paul Sinclair, examines Rule The World 

Out today is Rule The World, a new Tears For Fears greatest hits. In this special ‘track-by-track’ feature we will do two things. We’ll offer some insight into all the songs on the compilation and will additionally examine what’s missing. Are there any missteps? Wrong version, wrong choice of song? Read on…

The band’s first single was released in November 1981, a full 16 months before The Hurting was issued. Produced by David Lord, their debut 45 wasn’t a hit. Interestingly, the song is credited to “R. Orzabal & C. Smith” on the seven-inch, but when re-recorded with Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum for The Hurting, the credit is only for Roland Orzabal (The Hurting remains the only Tears For Fears album where all the tracks are credited to Roland alone). I feel this deserves a place on the greatest hits for historical reasons and because the original single version is relatively rare on CD – it only appears on the 30th anniversary two-CD and box set editions of the album. The above YouTube clip actually uses a slight variant of the original seven-inch with an extended intro (this version – accidentally issued on a promo CD to promote the 1999 re-release of the album – is also on rather more definitive The Hurting reissue of 2013).

After two flops – Suffer The Children and the original Pale Shelter (You Don’t Give Me Love) – things were looking a bit grim for Tears For Fears. “Our original record deal was just for those two singles”, Curt told me in 2013, adding that “without [A&R man] Dave Bates’ passion, the record company probably would have dropped us”. Thankfully Mad World (originally earmarked as a B-side!) succeeded in spectacular fashion, when released in September 1982, reaching number three in the UK charts and Roland and Curt were allowed to continue and finish the album. When Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’ version of this song was issued in 2003 they managed to do what Tears For Fears have never done – have a UK number one single.

Version on Rule The World: Standard album/single mix – 3.32

I was tempted to switch the standard Change to the ‘new version’ for the (imaginary) ‘SDE edition’ of Rule The World. Roland was initially not satisfied with the version we know and love: “I remember trying to convince everyone that we’d recorded Change at too fast a tempo. We had another crack at it, slower, but it lost something in the process”. This slower version is what is labelled as the the ‘new version’ and is a bonus track on the original UK cassette and appeared (uncredited) on some 12-inch singles. Using this would have made for a nice rarity, but on reflection, you don’t mess with the big hits (the song peaked at number four on the UK singles chart in January 1983).

Version on Rule The World: Standard album/single mix – 3.53

The original version of Pale Shelter was issued in March 1982 and like Suffer The Children, it failed to chart. It was produced by Mike Howlett. The collaboration was short-lived because, in Roland’s words “he was trying to use the Linn Drum on everything and we were not very happy; we wanted real drums”. The re-recorded version of this song was produced by Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum and issued in April 1983 (it peaked at number five), the final single from The Hurting (which had been released about a month earlier).

Version on Rule The World: Standard album/single mix – 4.08

Everyone associated with this non-album single [issued in November 1983, between The Hurting and Songs From The Big Chair] seems to regard it as an abject failure. Roland said “We were experimenting in the studio – perhaps a little too much – trying to work on sounds and textures, when we maybe should have been writing more melodic pop songs.” Curt Smith calls it “a mistake”. It’s certainly different, and as Roland says, quite experimental. I actually like the fact that the band made this very weird, almost forgotten song. Also, students of the band will know that the ‘failure’ of this track (along with an aborted attempt at recording Mothers Talk in a similar manner), played quite an important part in Tears For Fears’ history. It was a stepping stone. They re-focused on what they should be doing, picked up some guitars, and delivered the world-beating Songs From The Big Chair. For those reasons, I would include The Way You Are on the SDE Rule The World. Incidentally, The Way You Are peaked at number 24 in the UK charts. It’s got a great video. You can read more about this song here.

While Roland and Curt were filming the second Mothers Talk video, Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes were working on a new demo of Roland’s. This was, in his own words, a “massive breakthrough”. Hughes estimates that they worked on Shout (on and off) for almost three months. It was worth it, since the song reached number one in ten countries around the world, including America. It peaked at number four in Britain (in late 1984) where the 5.58 UK single version ran just 33 seconds short of the full length album version. That’s very long for a single, but Roland and Curt were still peeved enough by this compromise to reference it in the lyrics to Everybody Wants To Rule The World (“So glad we’ve almost made it, So sad they had to fade it…”). It’s somewhat ironic then that Virgin are using an even shorter version, the 4.51 edit (used in Germany and a few other territories) for Rule The World. In America it was chopped even more, with the seven-inch single just four minutes long, and let’s not talk about the 3.10 Mexican Radio Edit!

Version on Rule The World: German single edit – 4.51

The last song recorded for the Songs For The Big Chair album and according to Chris Hughes “the antithesis of Shout” because it took about “a week to write, record and finish”. In America, this was the first single from the album, whereas in Britain it ended up being the third pulled from the record. A&R man Dave Bates claims he was “seeking for them to write a drive-time hit” – he got one! Everybody Wants To Rule The World was another US number one and won ‘Best Single’ at the 1986 Brit Awards.

Version on Rule The World: Standard album/single mix – 4.14

This song is joined at the hip with Pale Shelter B-side We Are Broken. Head Over Heels was derived from Broken and both songs were performed (“a segueway”) on the late 1983 UK tour that was undertaken to promote The Way You Are (released as the In My Mind’s Eye concert film). The size and scale of the song/production are “massive” according to producer Chris Hughes, who adds that Everybody Wants To Rule The World is “miniature in comparison”. The Broken/Head Over Heels/Broken combination ended up dominating the second side of Songs From The Big Chair. Head Over Heels nearly became the band’s third consecutive US number one – it peaked at number three – although it rather underperformed in the UK, stalling at number 12.

Version on Rule The World: Single mix – 4.15

To be clear, I Believe is on the Rule The World compilation but it’s the album version. SDE would select the single (‘soulful’) re-recording. Roland may have had a point when he said taking “five singles off of an eight-track album is taking the piss a bit” but this slightly jazzier, more emotive version was another hit, albeit not a big one (it reached number 23 in the UK).

Version on Rule The World: Album mix – 4.39

Mothers Talk was both the first and last single off Songs From The Big Chair. After getting a bit fed up with the time it had taken to produce The Way You Are (“at least a month to record” according to Roland), Tears For Fears had briefly moved away from working with Chris Hughes and brought in some fresh blood, in the shape of producer Jeremy Green. However, there was general dissatisfaction with the finished product, which sounded quite different to what eventually ended up on the record. A&R man Dave Bates didn’t like it and Curt admits “I don’t think the end product was that fantastic”. As a result the band “went back to working with Chris [Hughes]”. Even when the track was finished, Curt and Roland weren’t particularly happy that the record company released it as a single. “It was the first single because it was the only song that was done” according to Roland, who admitted in 2014 that “I never really liked Mothers Talk“. Curt offered this explanation, “I think our feelings for it have been tainted a little because the record company did release it as a single. We knew we had better singles on the album, but they wanted to release it before we’d done the rest”. There is a different attitude to the ‘US Remix’ (included on Rule The World). Roland thought “the US version worked really well… It was completely re-recorded at a different tempo”. The original version was a single in the UK in August 1984, while the US Remix was issued stateside in April 1986. SDE would have included the video version of the US Remix, which has a unique intro section.

Version on Rule The World: US Remix – 4.14

The band were keen to come back with a song that didn’t sound like typical eighties pop and the summery, Beatlesy first single from the 1989 Seeds of Love album sounded like a surefire number one, but peaked at number two in the USA and number five in Britain. It would be Tears For Fears last top ten hit in America and the UK. Curt contributed the chorus melody and so earns his only writing credit on the Seeds of Love album and this song is considered by both Roland and Curt to be one of the best they’ve produced. Roland’s (brilliant) live guide vocal, with distortion applied by Dave Bascombe, became the finished take, Ian Stanley makes his last appearance on a TFF single (he plays the organ solo) and that’s Chris Hughes on the drums. The actual Rule The World compilation uses the full length album version which runs to nearly six and a half minutes, but for the SDE version we’ll stick with the still very long 5.45 single version, to allow more room of other things.

Version on Rule The World: Album version – 6.17

This excellent song from The Seeds of Love featured the superb Oleta Adams and was the second single. It didn’t reach the top 20 on either side of the Atlantic and the lack of a second bit hit single didn’t help sales of the album. For some reason, the record company released Woman In Chains again in 1992 to help promote the Tears Roll Down ‘best of’ and it wasn’t a hit then, either! Curt doesn’t play bass on this track, leaving those duties to Pino Palladino (famous for his work with Paul Young). Phil Collins plays the drums, which he came in and did in one day. The 4.42  promo-only US Edit of Woman In Chains is really good. They should have used it on ‘Rule The World’ because not only would offer a never commercially released rarity, but also frees up nearly two minutes for other selections. However, the record company have gone with the full length, six and a half minute album version!

Version on Rule The World: Album version – 6.30

Roland co-wrote five of the eight tracks on The Seeds of Love with Nicky Holland and the third single, Advice For The Young At Heart, is one of them. The pair started writing this in 1985 and the last thing Nicky Holland did for The Seeds of Love was sing on this track in April 1989! That gives you an idea how long it took that album to come to fruition! The song only just scraped into the top 40 in the UK and America shrugged as it limped to number 89 over there.

Version on Rule The World: UK single version 4.51

Break It Down Again was the first single from a Curt-less Tears For Fears. Roland had made the fourth album, 1993’s Elemental, as a reaction to the overblown pomposity of The Seeds Of Love and the lyric to Break It Down Again very much reflected starting again and going back to basics. Orzabal had reconnected with Bristol guitarist Alan Griffiths who had toured with Tears For Fears in 1985 and together with producer/musician Tim Palmer and engineer Mark O’Donoghue they formed a small tight four-man unit. Break It Down Again was a successful single. It peaked at number 20 in the UK (#25 in the USA) outperforming both Woman in Chains and Advice For The Young At Heart. This paved the way for a successful US tour with a great band that included Gail Ann Dorsey on bass. Alan Griffiths sadly died this year. He co-wrote 18 songs with Roland across two albums (Elemental and Raoul and The Kings of Spain).

Version on Rule The World: Standard Standard album/single mix 4.31

Elemental is a great album and I don’t agree with only putting one track from it on Rule The World. Four singles were pulled from the long-player across various territories including the blisteringly good title track. Check out the live performance above. If you’re a Tears For Fears fan who is only familiar the first three albums, you don’t know what you’re missing. That’s why Virgin should have included a few more songs, to help spread the word – they could still have kept all the familiar big hits! The guitar riff in Elemental was nicked from Lord of Karma (Tears Roll Down B-side) and then slowed down.

Roland moved from Phonogram/Mercury to Sony/Epic for the fifth Tears For Fears album, Raoul and The Kings of Spain, which was released in October 1995. The label seemed to get behind it, releasing four singles (in all territories), of which the title track was the first. Virgin could have included the commercially unreleased 4.32 edit, although that is just an early fade of the album version.

Version on Rule The World: Standard: Standard album/single mix 5.17

Another single from Raoul and The Kings of Spain. Falling Down wasn’t issued in the UK, but really should have been. It’s a fantastic track – just listen to the gorgeous intro when the drums come in! A major omission not including this.

With this new Rule The World compilation, Virgin appear to have been strictly guided by chart positions. So in terms of the singles from the 2004/5 album Everybody Loves A Happy Ending – which saw Roland and Curt reunited – because Closest Thing To Heaven was the only UK hit (relatively speaking – it got to number 40) they’ve included it over either Call Me Mellow or the title track which were released together as a double A-side and peaked at number 102! I would argue that one song failed less than another and in that scenario chart positions are virtually irrelevant and you should go with the ‘best’ singles. For my money the song Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is classic TFF and is superior to the rather sickly sweet Closest Thing To Heaven. Therefore I’m dumping the latter from the SDE version of Rule The World and including the former.

Version on Rule The World: Standard: Standard album/single mix 4.21

I don’t think any album should only have just one lonely representative on Rule The World, so my second choice from Everybody Loves A Happy Ending is Call Me Mellow. Again, it’s much better than Closest Thing To Heaven. How was this song not a hit? It’s as catchy as hell.

One new song on Rule The World would have sufficed, but I suspect that some band politics meant that we ended up with two –  I Love You But I’m Lost sung by Roland and the acoustic Stay, sung by Curt. Since SDE doesn’t have to worry about keeping everyone happy, I will include just I Love You But I’m Lost as the final track on our Rule The World. It’s a great song and sounds very modern, which is probably a good thing, all things considered. I don’t think anyone wanted any more Beatles/sixties influenced Tears For Fears songs!

SDE Editor Paul Sinclair co-curated The Hurting and Songs From The Big Chair reissues in 2013 and 2014, respectively. As part of that process he interviewed Roland Orzabal, Curt Smith and many of team involved in making those albums. He wrote sleeve notes for both releases.

Enjoy the SDE version of Rule The World as a Spotify playlist (note: had to use full length versions of Woman in Chains and Elemental due to unavailability)

The SDE version of Rule The World (not the actual track listing!)

Suffer The Children (original 7″ mix)
Mad World
Pale Shelter
The Way You Are
Shout (4.51 edit)
Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Head Over Heels
I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording)
Mothers Talk (US Remix – video version)
Sowing The Seeds of Love (UK single version)
Woman in Chains (US promo edit)
Advice For The Young At Heart
Break It Down Again
Elemental [US single edit]
Raoul and the Kings of Spain
Falling Down
Everybody Loves A Happy Ending
Call Me Mellow
I Love You But I’m Lost

Total running time: 79 mins and 6 seconds.

The ACTUAL track listing:

1. Everybody Wants To Rule The World – from Songs From The Big Chair (1985)
2. Shout (Edit) – from Songs From The Big Chair (1985)
3. I Love You But I’m Lost (New Track)
4. Mad World – From The Hurting (1983)
5. Sowing The Seeds Of Love – from The Seeds Of Love (1989)
6. Advice For The Young At Heart – from The Seeds Of Love (1989)
7. Head Over Heels – from Songs From The Big Chair (1985)
8. Woman In Chains – from The Seeds Of Love (1989)
9. Change – From The Hurting (1983)
10. Stay (New Track)
11. Pale Shelter – From The Hurting (1983)
12. Mothers Talk (US Version) – Re-recorded US single (1986)
13. Break It Down Again – from Elemental (1993)
14. I Believe – from Songs From The Big Chair (1985)
15. Raoul And The Kings Of Spain – from Raoul And The Kings Of Spain (1996)
16. Closest Thing To Heaven – from Everybody Loves A Happy Ending (2004/5)

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Gerald Clark

I have done a version for listening to in the car for which, whoops, I seem to have left off Mothers Talk (the only TFF song I’m not that fond of – particularly the American version) but have included Floating down the River (just before Women in chains) and Laid so Low (just after WIC).

Julian H

Paul, “Advice…” is definitely not the single version on “Rule the World”. I just heard the single mix on the radio, it’s sonically quite different from the album mix. If I understand correctly, the single version was mixed by Bob Clearmountain. The drums sound heavier, the guitars are more upfront, there’s some wind in the intro and several synth lines are missing. (Hopefully that version will be included in the “Seeds” box set!)


Ha Julian,

Do you know if the single version of “Advice” is included in the new “Seeds” box set?

[…] Check out SDE’s track-by-track guide to Rule The World. […]

Rob G.

Great breakdown! But yeah the one major thing that gets me on this compilation is they have the wrong Mothers Talk mix. The extra reverb on this version makes it sound so much different. I think it’s the same mix they mistakenly labeled the US single mix on the previous single disc remaster of SFTBC. The original 1986 US 7″ which I played to death as a kid was on “Shout: The Very Best Of”, which, aside from the new songs is probably still going to remain my go-to TFF compilation when I’m not playing the full albums. The full length video mix on the SFTBC box set is glorious :)


listening to this today and of course the music is brilliant but the running order is awful….

Antony Hudson

Love being the last one to shut the door..

“Change” on the cassette version is brilliant.

Julian H

“Segueway” and “bit hit” Paul? ;-)

The Woman in Chains reissue was tied in to Oleta’s solo success around that time, hence her being named as co-star (as opposed to the original ’89 single).

Also, Alan Griffiths co-wrote FAR more than the mentioned 18 songs with Roland:

– 9 from Elemental
– 5 b-sides from the Elemental era
– 8 from Raoul and the Kings of Spain (9 if you count the reprise)
– 5 b-sides from the RATKOS era
– several tracks from Tomcats Screaming Outside
– 2 from Love in the Time of Science
– 1 extra track from Everybody Loves a Happy Ending

I’m not sure I got everything right, but that’s more than 30 songs!

As for Call Me Mellow, the studio version is incredibly annoying to me. It sounds like somebody with a hyperactivity problem constantly shouting in my ear “enjoy yourself!”. Too much. The live version however exhibits an infectious beat that was simply buried on the heavily compressed studio original. So that’s my guess why it wasn’t a big hit. On the other hand, had Floating Down the River (which you didn’t mention above) been properly promoted, it might have been a hit.


I thought I read a while ago they were planning a NEW album. Is this still in the works, or was the two new tracks it?

Julian H

“Curt doesn’t play bass on this track, leaving those duties to Pino Palladino (famous for his work with Paul Young). ”

You sure about that? I thought Pino only played on Badman’s Song and Standing on the Corner… – at least according to the credits in my CD booklet…

Wayne Klein

The label could release both a deluxe “Seeds” AND the best of. They are really for two different markets even with the two new tracks.

Neil Kelly

Great article! Of course i was aware how messed up this latest greatest is. But i’d just make it a double and include all the singles in chronological order in their UK 7″ single versions. Obviously two new tracks at the end ‘Stay’ final track and of course you simply can’t miss ‘Laid so low (Tears roll down’) which of course absent means you can’t claim this Greatest to be any better than the last! One edit as you suggested would mean ‘Laid’ could’ve been included. In fact i think it could just fit in anyhow. It should’ve ALWAYS have been a 17 track album one way or another! Of course i bought it but that’s neither here nor there. As to is the fact that i partly bought it for the tour pre-sale which i failed miserably at my two chosen venues anyhow…

Neil Kelly

I would also add i’m dismayed at these Greatests that include bloody album versions. WHY????

Steven C

Since we’re playing pretend and dreaming…. I’d throw their excellent cover of “ASHES TO ASHES” from the Ruby Trax compilation.

[…] ‘The Talamanca System Tribal Persuasion Remix’ of Head Over Heels will be officially announced tomorrow and you will then be able to play it via Spotify and other streaming services. The Rule The World greatest hits is out now. Read SDE’s track-by-track guide. […]


I’ve heard their new single quite a lot on the radio this week, and I honestly thought it was Take That! Very similar sound now.

Rainbow Gold

They’re on ‘Strictly’ on Saturday singing a GH. Cannot wait to see Roland visibly wince as the dancers pile on in front of them. Always feel so sorry for the bands on the show; they look so utterly humiliated by the experience. Even worse, Alfie Boe and Michael Ball are also on ruining a Christmas standard.

Tom Richardson

Definitely a better version of this album Paul! Other fan’s versions are much more interesting than the official release too! Love TFF but I do think they dropped the ball with this compilation. Obviously more of an ‘Xmas supermarket’ purchase for casual fans. My CD copy arrived today and the packaging is sparse and disappointing too to say the least! I wish I hadn’t bothered to be honest…


One new studio recording is good enough to include on a compilation with a few more treats to give fans something new. This should have been a complete singles collection to put a stop to all their compilations… saving “Stay” for “The Tipping Point” and releasing “Woman In Chains” [Promo Only US Edit] and “Year Of The Knife” [Canadian Promo Single 7” Version] to gear things up for the upcoming “Seeds Of Love” box… but no.

1 – Suffer The Children [7” Version] 3:45
2 – Pale Shelter [Original 7” Version] 4:04
3 – Mad World [Single Version] 3:32
4 – Change [Single Version] 3:53
5 – The Way You Are [Single Version] 4:55
6 – Shout [US Single Version] 4:07
7 – Everybody Wants To Rule The World [Single Version] 4:14
8 – Head Over Heels [Remix] 4:15
9 – I Believe [A Soulful Re-Recording] 4:42
10 – Mother’s Talk [Video Version] 4:47
11 – Sowing The Seeds Of Love [UK Single Version] 5:45
12 – Woman In Chains [Promo Only US Edit] 4:42
13 – Year Of The Knife [Canadian Promo Single 7” Version] 5:33
14 – Advice For The Young At Heart [UK Single Version] 4:50
15 – Famous Last Words [Single Version] 4:20

1 – Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) [Single Version] 4:39
2 – Break It Down Again [Single Version] 4:31
3 – Cold [Radio Edit] 4:12
4 – Goodnight Song [Single Version] 3:53
5 – Elemental [US Single Edit] 3:47
6 – Raoul And The Kings Of Spain [Previously Unreleased Edit] 4:32
7 – God’s Mistake [Single Version] 3:47
8 – Secrets [Radio Edit] 4:25
9 – Falling Down [Single Version] 4:55
10 – Call Me Mellow [Steve Fitzmaurice Radio Edit] 3:26
11 – Closest Thing To Heaven [UK Radio Edit]
12 – Everybody Loves A Happy Ending [Steve Fitzmaurice Radio Edit] 2:35
13 – Secret World [Radio Edit] 3:38
14 – Floating Down The River 3:56
15 – I Love You But I’m Lost 4:21

I decided not to include any mix of “Johnny Panic And The Bible Of Dreams” as the Plath song title is much better than the resulting “Shout vs Sowing The Seeds Of Love” mash up and rap. I would have chosen “My Girls” to represent the RSD Single but also decided not to include covers. I included “Floating Down The River” in this collection since it may have been a cancelled single and anyhow, it needs a proper home ;)

BTW, how the band approved “Wino” for release but specifically requested that “Saxophones As Opiates” be removed is well beyond me!?!?!?! Big error there.

Truth be told, “Everybody Loves A Happy Ending” is terribly overlooked and quite possibly my favourite TFF album! Roland’s “Tomcats Screaming Outside” is a wonderfully eclectic sounding album… Curt Smith’s “Halfway, Pleased” is a great album (and also includes TFF’s live recording of “Snow Hill”).
Great band, all around. Very much looking forward to the new album and tour!
Sending good vibes to Roland at this difficult time.


I Love You But I’m Lost – which is brilliant – has a touch of Aneka’s Japanese Boy to it.


I stayed at Japanese The Best Of Tears For Fears [SHM-CD] [UICY-25242].

And I’m waiting for the new 5.1 mix THE SEEDS OF LOVE by STEVEN WILSON , which is waiting for the release in the BLU-RAY AUDIO format (Pure Audio Series in White-Golden BD boxes) from Universal after release THE HURTING (2013) & SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR (2014).


My complaint is that “Secrets” was left off. I think it’s a wonderful song


I Love You But I’m Lost has really grown on me, the Production is great, I honestly think this is what Hurts would sound like if they carried on in the melancholy direction they started with.


It needs a new cover ;-)


PS that Jonathan Creek comment was spot on. Can’t unsee it.

Daniel (from Adelaide)

When, oh when, is the box set of Seeds Of Love coming out? The world needs this!


“Famous Last Word” is for me the Best song ever of any band i love (equally With “Let her down easy” from TTDA)


Hi Paul what’s the rarest TFF item?. I have a 12 inch and 7 inch fishnet of Change and a 7 inch fishnet if Mad World (US release??). Just curious. Tks Tom


Outside of obscure promo stuff it’s probably the fishnet reissue that came with the Hurting boxset?

Produced by Chris Huges.


Laid So Low is one of my favourites, I definitely think it deserved a place on the album / playlist.

Fear Of The Dark

As a fellow TFF enthusiast I enjoyed reading your article, Paul! :-) Spotify seems to be using a couple of longer/album versions on the real release (i.e. Pale Shelter 4:36 and I Believe 4:56).
Don’t forget “Famous Last Words” as it was the 4th UK single from The Seeds Of Love – however, I understand it was released by the label without the band’s knowledge, and as such that lack of promotion caused it to fail to chart.


My favourite track on Seed Of Love. The UK CD single was a limited edition of 5000 which would’ve hampered sales anyway…


Yeah but it was hardly a likely hit in ravey 1990 Britain! Sure they wouldve have done a second run on the vague possibility that it did.


I must join the chorus of those grateful to you Paul for enlightening me further regarding TFF. They are fantastic, and a real lost treasure in that they have largely passed me by until recently. I do hope that your SDEs are rereleased for us to snap up and that they continue to enjoy this renaissance of sorts, which is well deserved. The only thing wrong with the article (and all of your others) is that it isn’t much longer. Brilliant stuff and part of my sustenance for the day.


it’s missing just a 2nd CD !!


As a casual fan, I wish there could be 5.1 versions of the hits compilations by these 80’s bands, that would get me spending my money. I think the music industry is missing a trick by not reissuing SACD’s and DVD-A’s that they’ve released previously when very few people had the equipment to play them on. Now we have, we have to pay the eBay scalpers for a lot of them.


SACDs are by far my favourite surround format. They also sound great as hi-rez audio. I have been collecting surround audio for a long time. I have several hundred quadraphonic lps as well. Bluray audio can sound good, but a lot is just mixed too loud and shrill sounding.


It’s still annoying that you cannot get Saxophones As Opiates and We Are Broken on CD yet. Also as much as i like Everybody Loves A Happy Ending they seriously need to go back and master it properly as it is brickwalled to hell and virtually unlistenable.

Larry Davis

I could be mistaken, but aren’t those 2 tracks on “The Hurting” boxset?? I don’t have it in front of me, but I did buy a copy…been trying to get the other Paul-curated SFTBC 6-disc box for a decent price (under $50 US) for 3 years, and now it shot up to $177 US and more…why????? Perhaps Paul has some copies lying around his place gathering dust that he doesn’t want to part with?! Haha..


I’d rather they’d filmed/recorded the RAH show and released that instead of this compilation. Might have gone some way to appease those who signed up to the joke of a website they put in charge of selling tickets for said gig and ended up with sod all (that’d be me, in case it wasn’t obvious enough!)

Larry Davis

Why this was not a double is beyond me…the best collections are “Gold” and “Mad World”, both 2CD sets…aside from both album boxsets that our Paul curated himself…they shoulda taken the “Gold” model, maybe added/replaced promo-only mixes, something from every album, even Curt’s “Soul On Board” and Roland’s “Tomcats Screaming Outside”, non-LP singles like “The Way You Are” and “Tears Roll Down”, a coupla B-sides, an unreleased track or two, AND the 2 new songs, and you would have something TRULY conprehensive…this thing is another in the line of replaceable hits collections, to be outdone by the next one or something better that comes along… My eye is mainly on the next album and the “Seeds Of Love” boxset… Whenever that arrives…

Jack Morrison

This SDE version is definitely more comprehensive & interesting than what they actually put out – though i disagree with you calling those 2 from Everybody Loves better than Closest Thing (which i still would have kept, and added Secret World as my two from that record) and i think it’s completely fair & welcome to have 2 new songs considering it’s been over a decade since the last studio record

but yeah, those suggested promo cuts and othersuch commercial rarities would have definitely provided more incentive to what ultimately is just another in a line of what seems like hundreds of “hits comps” from these guys


great band but have all the vinyls..nice review Paul also


I’d like to add, the UK & US versions of ELAHE have some slight differences in the mixing, I think. Has anyone else noticed this or am I the only one?


My favourite track from ELAHE is Call Me Mellow. Even the non TFF fans I played it too, love it. Would be good in a soundtrack.
I think TFF have two core sounds, New Wave & Beatlesque. I love both some fans clearly prefer one over the other. I haven’t met any fan yet who loves SOL but hates ELAHE.
I had no idea the versions of ELAHE have different mixes. I will look into this.
As good as it is, there is something about TSO that makes it different from TFF. Maybe because it’s so minimal (on purpose).


Two points:

1. Closest Thing To Heaven is sickly sweet? I think it’s classic TFF and a great track, one I’ve never tired of hearing.

2. “I don’t think anyone wanted any more Beatles/sixties influenced Tears For Fears songs!” What are you talking about?! This is my favorite TFF sound! These 2 new songs… well, I just hope they aren’t changing their sonic formula too much.

All in all, I probably won’t be buying this. I’ll probably pick up the 2 TFF albums I don’t have and wait for the SOL box and this new studio album.


I like the Beatles-y sound as well. The harmonising on the last album is great.

Michael Ettengruber

Roland’s Solo album is like a tears for Fears album to me…

Maybe they should have included one song of that too to bring it more to the publics attention


Great review, Paul. Where did you get the Hurting album font you used for the headings?


Want to echo the thanks of others in these comments for your enthusiasm for TFF. As I had the first three albums on cassette only, hadn’t listened to the band with any consistency for two decades. Re-acquainting and catching-up has been a real pleasure.

Very glad they included the album version of I Believe. Magnificent song, never got on with the 7″ version, still don’t enjoy it.


Question for the (or any) Tears for Fears expert; is the charity version of ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ exactly the same as the original with ‘run’ in place of rule, or are there any other differences in instrumentation or lyrics?


It uses a different mix of the backing track that was called the urban mix.




Everybody Wants to Run the World has a different extended intro with bongos, and a great synth brass riff filling the space between the chords which I sing in my head every time I hear the original Rule. Listen here: https://youtu.be/y1Lg2t4GIcA


Thanks for that. Must be the first time I’ve heard that since the 80s. Some of the extended instrumental parts have their own charm, but I do miss some of the removed vocals on that version. The original still does it for me, but nice to hear an alternative.


The best Tears For Fears compilation is this https://www.discogs.com/Tears-For-Fears-The-Ultimate-Collection/release/1871810 The sound quality is excellent on it.


I‘m not happy with the actual tracklisting and find the new tracks very disappointing.
So no buy for me.
Would definitely go for the long announced SeedsOfLove Boxset and a Raoul Vinyl Release!

Dave - Bristol

Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down) was the first Curt-less TFF single me thinks.

Other than that, great article.

Looking forward to SOL boxset. Guess that might be around 2019.



Well, the original version was a b-side during the SOL era so he was there for most of the composition of the song, whether contributed or not he was still in the band when originally recorded.

Andy p

Would also make a few changes seems a bit stupid to put the edit of shout on the disc which freeded up room for another song then not add one , I personally would swap I believe to laid so low , then add everybody loves a happy ending ( album version ) to the end of the disc which is 79 mins , but am loving both new songs , wondering if stay is a curt solo though as sounds like his two , previous albums ,


I would’ve included the gorgeous Elemental single Goodnight Song as well.

Takeshi Makimura

I hope that “Year of the knife (Canadian promo only single remix)” will be available on TFF’s compilation someday…


I assume it’s on the SOL boxset. We might all die before its out though!


P.S. I went back and had a listen to the ‘Suffer The Children’ (Original 7″ Mix) and.. I have to say, I really like it. I think it would be a fine choice for this compilation. I like both versions.

Mike the Fish

Yes, I like the original single version of Suffer The Children, too.


Thanks Paul for this article. I appreciate your passion on Tears For Fears. They are one of my favorite bands too.

My opinion on their first single… ‘Suffer The Children’ (Original 7″ Mix) is that although it may be rare and it may be their first single… perhaps it’s not included for a reason… I have this Original 7″ Mix…but I myself think the album version is much better than the original 7″ Version. I am guessing the band feel the same way maybe.

I also prefer the album version of ‘Pale Shelter’.

I am fine with ‘The Way You Are’, it’s ok. Not a big favorite. I would only include it as filler, but to me it’s not essential. They have better tracks.

Regarding ‘Shout’… I have always been obsessed with this song. I agree the full length version is epic. But for a nice short edit I like the 4 minute one the best. As long as it included the guitar at the end, it’s ok. Sometimes I see the need for a shortened edit version of some songs. I do not like this edited version on this compilation because it cuts out the big guitar at the end. Criminal!

I like ‘Mother’s Talk’, but I am picky about what version it is. A few mixes of it just don’t do it for me. I havent looked yet to see what one is my favorite, I will play all the versions tonight and make a decision…. finally.

I will compile a compilation based on your suggestion Paul, I have all the versions you suggested. I’m looking forward to listening to your version.

‘Woman In Chains’ is another favorite. I look forward to getting this new “best Of”album.