80’s Music: Tears for Fears and Simple Minds

Two of the best alternative groups during the 80’s I’m going to cover today.  Both bands started out as Roxy Music/Bowie type groups, but they eventually found their pop chops and then both added gospel background singers after hitting it big.  Tears for Fears were not the most prolific band, as they only put out 3 albums between 1983-1989, but especially the last 2 were really quality works.  Their debut had a Bowie/Eno type feel to it, with the song Mad World it’s best song.  I actually enjoy best the cover version of it by Gary Jules which was used in the movie Donnie Darko.

Songs from the Big Chair followed and it was one of the biggest records of 1985.  Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World were Number 1 smashes, so I will highlight the other 2 singles which were just as good, Head over Heels and Mothers Talk. I found a hilarious version of Head Over Heels, while Mothers Talk is the original.

After a 4 year hiatus, the Beatlish Sowing the Seeds of Love came out.  The first single is an amazing Magical Mystery Tour-type 80’s song, while for some reason, the Woman in Chains video I picked has an appeal to me.

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Name me a song that says 80’s more than Don’t Forget About Me by Simple Minds? Hard to top the theme from the Breakfast Club.  It made them overnight stars in the US after their first 6 records did little business anywhere but England.  Their record before this song put them on the map for me, as I really dig both Up on the Catwalk and Speed Your Love to Me.

After writing Don’t Forget About Me, it was like Simple Minds figured out the formula that worked for them, as Once Upon a Time had numerous hits and added gospel-flavored back-up vocals to make the music have soul.  Here is Alive and Kicking and All the Things She Said (with it’s crazy bad video that you can’t turn your head from).

And as soon as they figured out how to write hit songs, the band seemed to get a writer’s block, as it took 4 years to follow-up Once Upon a Time and Street Fighting Years was a poor way to end the decade.  The best song from it was a cover of Peter Gabriel’s political classic, Biko.

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