1985: “Songs From The Big Chair” – Tears For Fears


In 1985 I was obsessed with America. My interest in films had exploded to correspond with the height of video rental and it was the year I first saw Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Gremlins, The Neverending Story et al. America just seemed like where all the best stuff happened because of my exposure to it via tv and film. They had all the best stuff too in my opinion. The Muppets, Twinkies (What the Hell are they?! I bet they’re amazing!). How come my house doesn’t have a massive porch round it that overlooks a coastal rock formation like in The Goonies? I bet I never get to go on a beach at night with a bonfire and a boombox and do kick ups.

Going along with this was the phenomenon of the 80’s film soundtrack. Songs lived and died bywhat scene in the latest hollywood blockbuster/teen movie they appeared in, and thus contained clips from in their accompanying video. It’s no coincidence that the first record I bought with saved up pocket money was “Fore!” by Huey Lewis and the News, which contained “The Power of Love” from Back To The Future.

You’d think that would mean I would include that album in the 1985 slot but I’m not going to. In fact it’s not even an album by an American band.

I was fairly recently reintroduced to “Songs From The Big Chair” by a friend who had stumbled across a vinyl copy and it reminded me how great it is.

Tears for fears get a bit swept under the carpet when it comes to 80’s pop. Although they went on a long hiatus and had line up chaos, and subsequent releases were much lower in quality following this album, “Songs From The Big Chair” will stand up against any of your Duran Durans, Depeche Modes and Spandau Ballets.

It’s a pretty short album in terms of tracks as it only has 8 but you simply cannot argue with the quality of the songwriting. Hit singles, “Shout”, “Head Over Heels” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” are all present but non singles “The Working Hour” and “Listen” are just as good songs. In fact only “I Believe” is a bit of a duffer in that its a meandering ballad that’s a bit too cheeseball and doesn’t really go anywhere.

This song though just IS 1985 for me. It instantly transports me back there.

Also I just remembered, that although I banged on about my love of films at the start of this post, I didn’t actually see my first film at the cinema until December 1985. Santa Claus: The Movie. I think I was scared of cinemas til that point. Strange kid.


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