Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mercury Records: Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Tears for Fears biggest record, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” almost didn’t happen – at least it almost didn’t happen when it did. It was the last cut to be recorded for the “Songs from the Big Chair” album and guitarist/leader Roland Orzabal was not convinced that it should even be on the album. It was a departure from the band’s typical sound, but producer Chris Hughes insisted that it be added to the disc. Orzabal, Hughes, and keyboardist Ian Stanley all share writing credits.

To prove that it was the right time in March 1985 to release it, the chart action speaks for itself. It was one of those rare occasions where a song made it to the top spot or near the top on four different chart genres in the US. It was a #1 record on the Hot 100 and dance charts and peaked at #2 on the rock and adult contemporary charts. In the UK it charted at #2 and won the BRIT Awards Best British Single in 1986. Additionally, it was a #1 release in Canada and New Zealand.

“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was the third of the four singles from “Songs from the Big Chair” and followed “Mother’s Talk” (#27) and “Shout” (#1) and preceded “Head over Heels” at #3. Needless to say, 1985 was Tears for Fears year.

Written in 12/8 time with a shuffle beat, the song is characterized by bassist Curt Smith’s lead vocals and the backup provided by Roland Orzabal. Their occasional jumping of notes in fifths in the chorus sets this song apart as really different. Add the keyboard treatment and guitar arpeggios and you have a proven winner. The public has spoken.

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