As a punk rocker back in the late 1970s and early ’80s, I had an initial disdain for the brooding goth-like angst brought forth by the second wave of the British Invasion. Upon a closer listening to bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and OMD, I realized they were sharing an interpretation of alienation, depression, and recession. But they were doing it with a more reflective, self-soothing approach.
One of the bands of that era that created its name, music, and attitude out of a therapy that dealt with these feelings was Tears for Fears, known for anthemic ’80s hit songs “Everybody Wants to Rule the World, “Shout,” and “Head Over Heels.”
The band comprises Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal, who both grew up in 1960s Bath, Somerset, England, and met as teenagers. They bonded over similarly dysfunctional families and turned to music as a way out.
“We had very sort of similar backgrounds, so I think initially that was the bond we had,” recalls Smith, 56, who now lives in Los Angeles. “We were both in the middle of three sons brought up by our mothers, and absent fathers. [We] had the same kind of feelings about school, delving into psychology.”
The two were influenced by the likes of Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno, but even more so by the noted Primal Therapy theory developed by American psychologist Arthur Janov.
Janov’s idea of revisiting repressed painful childhood memories and finding resolution through shouting resonated with Smith and Orzabal. In fact, the name of one of the chapters’ in his book Prisoners of Pain became the band’s name, Tears for Fears.
Their debut album, 1981’s The Hurting, was an instant success with songs like “Suffer the…
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