Tears For Fears’ Roland Orzabal And Curt Smith’s Nine-Year Feud
In the world of ’80s pop music, few bands can claim to have left as lasting a mark as Tears for Fears. A duo with a unique sound, a knack for penning earworm melodies, and a magical ability to tap into the zeitgeist, Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith became global superstars. Their meteoric rise to fame and lasting legacy, however, was not without its share of struggles and conflicts. Today, we peel back the layers to reveal the truth behind their nine-year feud and the reunion that brought them back together.
Tears for Fears’ path to success was paved with passion, creativity, and an unyielding determination to stand out in the ever-evolving music scene. ‘Songs From the Big Chair,’ their sophomore album, topped the US charts in 1985, spawning number 1 smash singles like ‘Shout’ and ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World.’ Despite the pressure to maintain their momentum, it took four years for their follow-up album, ‘The Seeds of Love,’ to arrive. The album was a worldwide hit, but tensions within the band ultimately led to an acrimonious split in 1991.
Curt Smith, feeling suffocated by the band’s success and seeking personal growth, left England and moved to the United States. In a 2022 interview on BBC Breakfast Time, Smith explained how the constant association with Tears for Fears overshadowed his own individuality. He needed a fresh start to rediscover himself, which led him to New York, where he met his wife and settled down.
Their reconnection in 2000 was as unique as their journey together. They interacted through a fax from Smith to Orzabal, reminiscent of Phil Collins’ infamous divorce-by-fax. Smith’s fax, including his phone number, prompted Orzabal to contemplate whether to make the call. He did, and the two discovered they had both evolved over the nine years apart.
Orzabal observed that Smith, now living in America for an extended period, had adopted a mid-Atlantic accent and a new outlook on life. The two musicians, who grew up in a council estate in Bath and had been playing together since their early teens, had transformed but remained connected by their shared history.
Here is how Orzabal recalled their first interaction in nine years:
“We reconnected by fax – the reverse of Phil Collins, who divorced by fax. He sent me a fax, it popped up on the printer… We had business things on the go, so were always dealing with things and signing off on songs for publishing and adverts and films. Then all of a sudden, Curt popped up and said, ‘Here’s my number; it’s nine years; give me a call.’ I was like, ‘Should I, should I not?'”
Following their reunion in the early 2000s, Tears for Fears released their sixth studio album, ‘Everybody Loves a Happy Ending,’ on 14 September 2004 in the United States and on 7 March 2005 in the United Kingdom and Europe. This album marked a new chapter for the band as Curt Smith rejoined after a period of estrangement.
While the album’s performance on the UK and US charts was modest compared to their previous records, it represented a triumphant return for the duo. The album’s creation began in 2000 after Orzabal and Smith resolved their differences, and its original release was planned for 2003 on the Arista label. However, changes in the label’s management, including the departure of L.A. Reid, led the band to break ties with Arista before a commercial release.
The story of Tears for Fears is one of immense talent, personal growth, and the enduring bond between two musicians who found their way back to each other after a nine-year feud. Their reunion and the creation of ‘Everybody Loves a Happy Ending,’ highlight the power of resilience, the importance of embracing change, and the unbreakable connection that can exist between two creative souls.