Inspired by the October 10 birthdays of David Lee Roth, John Prine, Crystal Waters, Kirsty MacColl, Tanya Tucker, Mya, Ultravox’s Midge Ure, Ivory Joe Hunter, Oscar Brown Jr. and The Honeycombs’ Dennis D’Ell.
Tag Archives: Tears for Fears
Inspired by Black Music Month, LGBTQ Pride Month, and the June 24 birthdays of Mick Fleetwood, Solange, Tears For Fears’ Curt Smith, The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone, Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark’s Andy McClusky, Ariel Pink, Michele Lee, Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, Siedah Garrett, Arthur Brown, Phil Harris, and The Notwist’s Markus Acher.
Tears for Fears, the duo consisting of Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith, released their debut album, The Hurting, in 1983. In their native England the album spawned three top five singles, “Mad World,” “Change” and “Pale Shelter.” In the US, their most successful single, “Change,” peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100.
When it came time to do their second album, they wanted to break the US market. Needing one more song to round out the record, the duo’s producer, Chris Hughes, suggested Orzabel flesh out a song sketch he brought into the studio. Orzabel did so, and while he didn’t think much of the finished piece, Smith and Hughes thought this is the song that would change their fortunes stateside.
This song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” was the first single released in the US from Songs from the Big Chair. It went to #1. The song that was the album’s first single in much of the world, “Shout,” was the second US single from the album, and the duo’s second #1.
Today, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears turns 55 years old. Tunes du Jour’s weekly dance party kicks off with a song on which Smith sings lead, Tears for Fears’ #1 breakthrough hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
In 1984, Madonna peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her first charting single, “Holiday.” By the following year, she had established herself as the Queen of the Pop Charts. She followed “Holiday” with three singles that hit the top ten in 1984: “Borderline,” “Lucky Star” and “Like a Virgin,” the latter hitting #1 and remaining there for six weeks. She opened 1985 with the #2 hit “Material Girl,” followed closely by the #1 “Crazy for You.” “Crazy” is from the film Vision Quest, in which Madonna had a small part as a nightclub singer.
Madonna had a much larger role in the film Desperately Seeking Susan. Released in April 1985, the smash film featured a new track from Madonna, “Into the Groove.” As one might expect when a new superstar has a new song, and a great song at that, the track received lots of radio airplay. “Groove” hit #1 on the Dance Club chart, and the only record on which it appeared, a 12-inch single where it was the b-side of “Angel,” went gold, selling over a million units in the US.
Though it was a big seller with a ton of airplay and club play, “Into the Groove” never hit Billboard’s Hot 100. Though that chart is supposed to accurately reflect a song’s popularity in the US, Billboard imposes rules that hang around longer than they should, throwing off historians looking into a song’s popularity. One of the arcane rules in 1985 was that a song had to be available on a commercial 7-inch vinyl single to be eligible to chart. Commercial availability solely on a 12-inch vinyl single, even one that sold over a million copies, is not enough. Widespread radio play on a variety of formats (the song hit the top twenty on the r&b chart, which for reasons that made sense to Billboard’s chart editors, allowed 12-inch singles to chart) is not enough.
Eventually, Billboard got around to revising these rules. The advent of cassingles (cassette tape singles) and CD singles expanded the formats eligible. The music industry’s decision to hold back the release of singles in any format to force consumers to shell out big bucks for a full-length album to get the one song they liked forced Billboard to make radio airplay without a commercial single good enough for a Hot 100 chart placement, but that change didn’t come into being until December of 1998, thirteen years too late for Madonna and historians.
This week’s Throwback Thursday kicks off with one of the best-known songs to have never charted on Billboard’s Hot 100, Madonna’s “Into the Groove.” It is followed by other music highlights of 1985.
On the Facebook page for my thirty-year college reunion, which is coming up this June, someone brought up the music that reminds them of our college days. Many posts followed, naming songs that remind us of shared experiences at Brandeis University in the first half of the 1980s.
That post inspired today’s playlist. Friday is dance day at Tunes du Jour, and today I present 50 songs we danced to in the Usdan Ballroom at Brandeis University between the fall of 1981 and the spring of 1985. It was a great time for popular music. These songs have stood the test of time.
Have a great weekend!
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In the late 1980s the members of Depeche Mode were recording their seventh studio album, Violator. One of its songs began life as a slow ballad with the only instrumental accompaniment being from an organ played by the song’s writer, band member Martin Gore.
The group’s then-keyboardist Alan Wilder suggested speeding up the track and adding a beat. He and the album’s producer, Flood, then suggested Gore add a guitar riff. DM lead singer Dave Gahan, in an interview with Q magazine, recalls Gore being upset with what was happening to his song, though Gore told Mojo magazine that once he came up with the guitar part, “I think that’s the only time in our history when we all looked at each other and said, ‘I think this might be a hit.'”
Their instincts were spot on. The song went on to become the band’s first (and to date, only) top ten pop single in the US. The Violator album became their first top ten album stateside and their highest-charting album up to that time in the UK, where it peaked at #2. Said Gahan about the track, “It really made the album cross over into another cosmos. It had been a constant climb over the previous 10 years, but I don’t think we were prepared for what was about to come. The album was a worldwide success and suddenly these huge royalty checks started coming in and you were able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted – the velvet rope was always open.”
If you’re working on something, keep tinkering with it. Approach it in varied ways. Experimentation may lead you to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
Today marks the annual commemoration of the birth of Annie Lennox, a widely observed cultural holiday, celebrated in Western Christianity every December 25 by millions of people around the world. Annie Lennox’s birthday is a civil holiday in many of the world’s nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-new wave fans, and is an integral part of the holiday season.
The birth year of Lennox is estimated among modern historians to have been between 1953 and 1955 AD.
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Annie Lennox’s birthday have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Eurythmics music and caroling, an angel playing with your heart, walking on broken glass, rain again, and sweet dreams. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of Annie Lennox’s birthday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, her birthday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Annie Lennox’s birthday is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.