Universal Music Catalogue and Virgin/EMI have announced the release of Tears for Fears’ 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of The Hurting, with live sessions, B-sides and remixes in a unique box set. It will be available on October 21st (October 22nd in North America).

Thirty years ago, in March 1983, Tears for Fears released their influential synth-pop debut The Hurting. The critical acclaim and commercial success that greeted the album was the culmination of 18 months of hard work.

The birthplace of Tears for Fears was the City of Bath in Somerset, South West England. It was there that Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith met as teenagers in the late seventies, and a friendship evolved into a musical alliance that endures to this day. They briefly called themselves History of Headaches but soon changed to Tears for Fears. The chosen name was a reference to the work of American psychologist Arthur Janov, who in the late 1960s developed Primal Therapy – a trauma-based psychotherapy that attempts to resolve repressed childhood pain.

By 1981 they were set to begin their evolution through music, and Roland set to work writing. But it took some time for the band to discover their sound. Virtually all of the tracks on The Hurting were written by Roland on an acoustic guitar, despite being regarded as a new wave, synth-based classic. “Writing the title track was a strange piece of psychic osmosis,” says Roland. “Curt had been to see a band from Bristol called Electric Guitars and was describing their sound to me; I had an acoustic guitar in my hand at the time and played him what he was describing: that’s how ‘The Hurting’ was written, and we knew for a long time it was the right name for our first album.”

Tears for Fears’ sonic ambitions were realised by keyboard player Ian Stanley, who helped them to fulfil their sound. Roland has no doubts how important he was, saying “Without Ian’s eight-track studio, his Roland JP4, his CR78 drum machine and MXR Pitch Transposer, we wouldn’t be where we are now… He gave us the opportunity to demo, at his home studio, songs such as ‘Pale Shelter’, ‘Change’ and ‘Mad World’.” The hard work was rewarded when ‘Mad World’ was released in September 1982 and peaked at number three in the UK singles chart in November.

The success of ‘Mad World’ – at one point earmarked as a B-side for ‘Pale Shelter’ – banished any commercial doubts the record company may have been harbouring. A few months later in January 1983, ‘Change’ was issued as a follow-up single, reaching number four in the UK charts. Tears for Fears were riding the crest of a wave and on 7th March 1983, The Hurting hit the shops, a full 16 months after ‘Suffer The Children’. Two weeks later the LP hit number one, displacing Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

A month later, ‘Pale Shelter’ was re-released and became their third big hit. Tears for Fears went on to make a further two albums in the eighties. Their second long-player – the mega-selling, global, pop tour-de-force that was 1985s Songs from the Big Chair – is undoubtedly the world’s favourite Tears for Fears album. The sophisticated grown-up stylings of 1989s The Seeds of Love contains ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’, arguably the best six minutes of pop music the band ever produced.

Like all great art, The Hurting connects with the listener. The Primal Therapy and Janov influence provide a satisfying consistency, and the band are comfortable using the ‘C’ word in reference to The Hurting: “In many ways it is a concept album,” says Roland. “It’s a very consistent album with its own distinct personality. There’s a strong message running through it and some of the song titles were taken from Janov’s writing.”

The Hurting, in many ways, is about the transition between the child and the adult, an exploration of how to leave the baggage of your childhood behind and grow up. ‘Memories Fade’, with its haunting, memorable, oscillating synth intro, spells this out as the rhythm dramatically bursts in: “I cannot grow, I cannot move, I cannot feel my age.

In the end, there was never going to be an alternative first album to The Hurting – it was an album the band needed to make. “I think it was important for us that our first album had substance and was not just a commercial work. So in that sense it was the album we had to make,” says Curt.

This 30th Anniversary edition of The Hurting is the first serious re-examination of the album and its attendant singles. Comprehensively remastered at Abbey Road studios and overseen by Roland and Curt, it contains nuggets of the past that will have you reminiscing with the band.


Full track listing below


The Original Album

The Hurting

Mad World

Pale Shelter

Ideas As Opiates

Memories Fade

Suffer The Children

Watch Me Bleed


The Prisoner

Start Of The Breakdown


Singles, B-Sides, Mixes & Rarities

Suffer The Children (original 7”)

Pale Shelter (original 7”)

The Prisoner (original version)

Ideas As Opiates

Change (new version)

Suffer The Children (remix)

Pale Shelter (original 12”)

Mad World (world remix)

Change (extended version)

Pale Shelter (reissue 12”)

Suffer The Children (instrumental)

Change (7”edit)

Wino (B-side)

The Conflict (B-side)

Suffer The Children (promo CD)


The BBC Sessions

Ideas As Opiates (Peel Session)

Suffer The Children (Peel Session)

The Prisoner (Peel Session)

The Hurting (Peel Session)

Memories Fade (Jenson Session)

The Prisoner (Jenson Session)

The Start Of The Breakdown (Jenson Session)

The Hurting (Jenson Session)

Start Of The Breakdown (Live)

Change (Jenson Session)


‘In My Mind’s Eye’ – Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1984

Start Of The Breakdown

Mothers Talk

Pale Shelter

The Working Hour

The Prisoner

Ideas As Opiates

Mad World

We Are Broken

Head Over Heels

Suffer The Children

The Hurting

Memories Fade