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Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Tears For Fears
Sowing The Seeds Of Love

When The Seeds Of Love was released in August 1989, all talk centred on its almost impossible conception which had seen the duo get through nine studios and four producers, spend perhaps as much as one million pounds, and take what was then an unheard of amount of time to make a record, three years. What was occasionally overlooked was that such an elephantine gestation period had seen Tears For Fears give birth to their most beautiful music yet.

"After we recorded Songs From The Big Chair" Roland Orzabal told Q magazine's Phil Sutcliffe, "all around us there was a desire to recreate it. Everybody except me and Curt felt we were on to a good thing. I couldn't see it that way. I believe that to create you have to destroy. It's painful and it's difficult but it's the only way I can work." Or, to put it another way, as Orzabal told Melody Maker at the end of 1981, in words that would soon begin to haunt him; "We'll never be prolific, because we're fussy." But Tears For Fears were also textbook victims of their own success.

Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith had been friends since a shared childhood in their native Bath. They first recorded together in the ska band, Graduate, then formed Tears For Fears in 1980, taking the name in a nod to Primal Scream therapist Arthur Janov. Both had an interest in his theories of emotional catharsis - half-joking that the first thing they did when the money came in was to go to the States for some therapy. They signed to Phonogram in 1981, and there soon followed a succession of catchy and bright (though often lyrically dark) pop singles; Mad World, Change, Pale Shelter, Shout and Everybody Wants To Rule The World Their first album, 1983's The Hurting was a British number one. The second, 1985 Songs From The Big Chair - was just as big in America - also spawning two number one singles. It was perhaps the milestone musical event of 1985 - selling over 10 million copies around the world - and soon to be a milestone for Tears For Fears.

This first hit home when they hit the road in the States in the Spring of 1985. This was now the band's most favoured trading nation - Big Chair's more rock-ist flavours had been deliberately tailored to the American market. But they soon found themselves on a treadmill. An endless grind of daytime promotion, followed by sell-out stadium gigs, that was to last over a year, led them to feel both alienated from their audience and their music.

"A lot of it was programmed on synthesisers and drum machines. There was no fluidity or expression," said Orzabal afterwards. "After two or three months it was driving me mad because I was waking up to the limits of our own music - it had become a straight jacket."

Until, that is, one night in Kansas City; "We played the concert, thousands of people, the lights, the huge PA, and it felt vacuous. After we showered we went down to the hotel bar, a dollar-fifty to get in because there was a band on. There was a woman called Oleta Adams singing and playing piano, with bass and drums. It wasn't like a normal bar, there were families there, people in suits. You didn't feel you could talk, you had to listen. And it was incredible. I was in tears. Phenomenal atmosphere. And I thought, "I'm doing something wrong. I've got to get back to basics."

"We just wanted to do something more musically expressive," Curt acknowledged later, "You can't do that by using machines. You need to get a bunch of players in and work them." Oleta's appearance inspired Curt and Roland to begin jamming with their musicians at sound checks. They were swiftly rewarded with Badman's Song. Their first new material in an age. Tears For Fears returned home at the end of 1986. Smith retired to Bath to renovate a house with his wife, Lynn. While Orzabal decamped to Chalk Farm, London, where he began building a home studio. He soon began working on new material with keyboard player Nicky Holland (she co-wrote five of the songs that appear here). In December they went into a recording studio with the esteemed Eighties pop production team, Langer and Winstanley. They worked on one song, but things weren't really working. Before long they'd called the producer of their first two albums, Chris Hughes, back in. Hughes inspired them to keep on the course Oleta Adams had set them on – to keep things nice and simple. After ten months, Tears For Fears still hadn't completed a single track that they were happy with. After a huge row between Hughes and Orzabal, Curt and Roland set off on an almost religious mission; to find that woman in Kansas City whose voice had originally re-inspired them.

They found Oleta Adams singing in another hotel in Kansas City, and introduced themselves. Soon they were at Oleta's house jamming and working on some songs. Within a few days she was part of the team. With a new found confidence, Orzabal and Smith instructed the record company that they'd now be producing the album themselves.

In February 1988 they entered London's Townhouse recording studios with a new band; Oleta Adams. guitarist Neil Taylor. Pino Palladino (best known then for his fretless bass work on Paul Young's No Parlez album). drummer Manu Katch. percussionist Carole Steele. and Dave Bascombe - who'd been engineer on The Big Chair worked with them as co-producer. They spent a fortnight playing the songs live. Out of those sessions came Standing on the Corner of The Third World and pretty much the final version of the oldest song, the troubled jazz-blues of Badman's Song.

Thus began the final furlong. Curt and Roland spent the next eighteen months endlessly analysing the songs, taking them apart and putting them back together again, Said Orzabal. "A lot of time scent into editing. An extreme example is that on Badman's Song we spent fifteen days editing the drums. I have two Mitsubishi machines and you put on the tapes of the different versions that came out of the sessions, listen to what Mann plays, pick out the very best bits and try to make them all work together."

It wasn't until the end of 1988 that things looked as if they were anywhere near completion. Respected producer. Bob Clearmountain came in to execute final mixes on several tracks. Oleta Adams was brought over to record her contributions - most notably her exquisite lead vocal on Woman In Chains - the first track on the album and the second single taken from it (complete with drums courtesy of Phil Collins). When The Seeds Of Love album finally appeared, Oleta Adams was thanked by the boys "for authenticating our soul" – Orzabal also went on to produce her solo album Circle Of One. Oleta's influence is perhaps most noticeable in the way many songs here are centred around just the piano and voice - simple structures strong enough not to be swamped by the lavish arrangements. Musically, she had also suggested another direction. Here. Tears For Fears were not just more soulful, but were also making a kind of organic electronica, not dissimilar to that of The Blue Nile, that sounded every bit as effortless and it had been painstaking to make. But they still weren't there yet. There were more record company tears and fears as the band dropped songs, did more precision rejigging. and yet another deadline was missed.

The final day of recording was on July the fifteenth 1989. Phil Sutcliffe, who'd been invited to the Chalk Farm studios especially for the big day, asked Curt how he felt. "Ifs a mixture of excitement at finally getting it finished. Terror at what we're going to have to do now to promote it, And also a vague sadness that it's all over. In a weird way, it's our own incompetence that's made it so slow. Although we know what we want, we're not geniuses unfortunately. But what we have is a certain passion for the end result, a passion to get it right."

They had Tears For Fears lyrics had changed just as much as the music - as journalist Mat Smith deftly pointed out; "They've turned their neuroses outward to the world, rather than inward to their soul." This was most noticeable on the first single to be taken from the album, Sowing The Seeds Of Love", released in August 1989. At once both pastiche of and homage to The Beatles, it was also a beautiful piece of political pop - a farewell to the Thatcherite Eighties whose sentiments were perfectly in tune with Britain's then underway Ecstasy revolution. "I wrote it on the back of the last general election." Orzabal explained. "I was angry and a bit upset that Thatcher had got re-elected and I wanted to write a protest song, but I didn't want to write a protest song that was angry and bitter and full of resentment 'cause that puts people off I wanted to write a song that was sweet but also sour." The song's nod to the Sixties was deliberate, and was intended to evoke another time; "When it was alright to sing 'All you need is love'. There was a time when it was okay to be idealistic or, dare I say it, spiritual. I wanted to jog everyone's memory."

Tears For Fears had a top 5 hit on their hands in Britain, a number two single in the States. and the world was bracing itself for one of the most eagerly anticipated albums of the decade. The Seeds Of Love was finally released in September of 1989, and was soon at number one in Britain and in the American top ten. The pop perfectionists had made some perfect pop.

The Seeds Of Love were well worth the wait.

Richard Smith
Female Vocal - Oleta Adams
Drums - Phil Collins
Guitar Arpeggio - Neil Taylor


(To The Boys Back In 628 – All Is Forgotten)

Piano and Vocal - Oleta Adams
Drums - Manu Katche
Bass - Pino Palladino
Hammond and organ and Synthesizers - Simon Clark
Slide and Lead Guitar - Robbie McIntosh
Percussion - Carole Steele
Backing Vocals - Tessa Niles, Carole Kenyon and Nicky Holland

Drums - Chris Hughes
Hammond Organ - Ian Stanley
Orchestral Arrangement - Richard Niles and Raoul’s Fairlight


Piano - Nicky Holland
Backing Vocals - Nicky Holland and Maggie Ryder
Hammond Organ - Simon Clark


Trumpet - John Hassell
Harmonica - Peter Hope-Evans
Drunts - Manu Katche
Bass - Pino Palladino
Piano - Oleta Adams
Hammond Organ and Synthesizers - Simon Clark
Percussion - Carole Steele
Backing Vocals - Tessa Niles and Carol Kenyon

Piano - Nicky Holland
Saxophone and Oboe - Kate St. John
Female Vocal - Tessa Niles

Lead Guitar - Robbie McIntosh
Rhythm Guitar - Neil Taylor
Hammond Organ - Simon Clark
Basking Vocals - Tessa Niles, Dolette McDonald, Nicky Holland
Carol Kenyon and Andy Caine


Trumpet - Jon Hassel
Piano and Kurtzweil Strings - Nicky Holland

DRUMS: Manu Katche, Chris Hughes. Phil Collins, Simon Phillips
BASS Pino Palladino, Curt Smith,
KEYBOARDS: Simon Clark, Nicky Holland, Oleta Adams, Ian Stanley, Roland Orzabal,
GUITAR: Robbie McIntosh, Neil Taylor, Randy Jacobs, Roland Orzabal
PERCUSSION Carole Steele, Luis Jardin

BACKING VOCALS: Tessa Niles, Carol Kenyon, Nicky Holland, Dolette McDonald, Andy Caine, Maggie Ryder
TRUMPET Jon Hassel
HARMONICA: Peter Hope-Evans
ASSISTANT ENGINEERS.. Heidi Canova, Lee Carle.

Phil Collins appears courtesy of Virgin, W.EA and Atlantic Records, Jon Hassel appears courtesy of Opal Management Ltd

Tears For Fears would like to thank every person who has been involved in the making of this album, especially the following: Julian Lavender for his saint-like patience in coordinating our everyday affairs. Oleta for authenticating our soul. Nicky Holland for her enthusiasm and her harmonic inversions. Chris Hughes and Ian Stanley for showing us the way and David Bates for making us stick to it. David Bascombe. Curt would personally like to thank Frances, Steve and Booney, Theo and Louise, Paul and Heather, Dave and Mary for strength in a time of crisis. Roland would personally like to thank Sue, Hansjorg and all at L.A.P.P., Caroline, family and friends.

Photography and art direction by David Sheinmann/ Avid Images

Onal artwork by Stylorouge. Photography of Oleta Adams by J. Katz

1, 5, 11 & 12: Written by Roland Orzabal, 2, 4-8: Written by Orzaball/Holland, 3: Written by Roland Orzabal/Curt Smith, 9: Written by Orzabal/ Bascombe, 10: Written by Orzabal/Stanley. 1: Produced by Tears For Fears & David Bascombe, Engineered by David Bascombe, Mixed by Bob Clearmountain, 2-8: Produced by Tears For Fears & David Bascombe, Engineered by David Bascombe, Mixed in "Superbascombevision", 9-12: Produced by Tears For Fears & David Bascombe

Supervising producer for this compilation: Mike Gill at C-Dreams. Remastered by Jon Astley and Chris Hughes at Close To The Edge, Twickenham. Remastered graphics: JL at Graphyk

Special thanks to: Paul Reidy, Jon Astley, Chris Hughes, Lisa-Jane Mussellbrook. Mandy James, Michael B. Chapman, Beano's Records, Andy Simmons, Richard Smith, Ian Cranna, Sean Egan, Roland Orzabal, Curt Smith, Max Hole, Howard Berman, Nick Stewart and JL.


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