Click on a book to learn more about it.

Sunday, February 17, 1985

Tears for Fears released Songs from the Big Chair: February 17, 1985

Originally posted February 17, 2012.



“Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair sits as an ‘80s music landmark;’ EA “while many of the band’s synth-pop peers continued to develop along a linear route” HE this album “heralded a dramatic maturation in the band’s music, away from the synth-pop brand with which it was (unjustly) seared following the debut, and towards a complex, enveloping pop sophistication.” SS

“If [debut album] The Hurting was mental anguish, Songs from the Big Chair marks the progression towards emotional healing, a particularly bold sort of catharsis culled from Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith’s shared attraction to primal scream therapy.” SS “The songwriting of Orzabal, Smith, and keyboardist Ian Stanley took a huge leap forward, drawing on reserves of palpable emotion and lovely, protracted melodies that draw just as much on soul and R&B music as they do on immediate pop hooks.” SS “The album’s deep emotional explorations are at once uncompromising and appealingly tuneful.” EA

“Producer Chris Hughes helped push the band into a more organic” EO and “guitar oriented sound.” SM With his encouragement “Orzabal’s stronger voice takes center-stage for much of the album” HE thus “widening their emotional palette.” EO What also makes this album a classic is that “each song holds its place and each is integral to the overall tapestry, a single-minded resolve that is easy to overlook when an album is as commercially successful as Songs from the Big Chair.” SS It did, after all, hit #1 for 5 weeks in the U.S. and sell more than 11 million copies worldwide.





The album spawned two #1 songs in the U.S., “moody mega–hit” EA Shout and the “ear–friendly” EA Everybody Wants to Rule the World. On BlogCritics.org, Eric Olsen calls the latter one of “the most perfect singles of the last 20 years.” EO It “perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the mid-‘80s while impossibly managing to also create a dreamy, timeless pop classic.” SS

The “stadium-sized Head Over HeelsHE was also a top 5 hit in the U.S. Mothers Talk was also released as a single. In the U.K., it was the single to introduce the new album, but in the U.S., it wasn’t released until the three aforemenionted songs. The melancholic and soulful I Believe was also released in the U.K.

What is amazing about Songs from the Big Chair “is [that] not only [is it] a commercial triumph; it is an artistic tour de force.” SS It “is one of the finest statements of the decade,” SS an “enduringly resonant classic…essential for any fan of the genre” EA and “arguably the finest example of epic ‘80s pop.” HE




Awards:

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, February 16, 1985

George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” hit #1: February 16, 1985

Originally posted February 16, 2012.



As half of the pop duo Wham!, George Michael quickly overshadowed Andrew Ridgeley and began planning his post-Wham! career almost as soon as the duo struck big. To that end, “Careless Whisper” was billed in the UK as a solo single by George Michael, but the U.S. credited it to Wham! featuring George Michael. BBC The song was also on Wham!’s Make It Big album. Wham! chalked up two other #1’s on the U.S. pop charts before Michael amassed seven chart-toppers on his own. This song also hit #1 in the UK, on Cashbox, and the Billboard adult contemporary chart on its way toward selling 6 million copies worldwide.





Ironically, it was one of the few songs penned by Michael and Ridgeley AMG and the latter’s “only number one as a composer.” LW They “wrote the song when they were just 17, despite George’s own admission that he ’knew nothing about romance and certainly nothing about love.’” BBC It was a fictitious story Michael thought up while boarding a bus to his job as an usher at a cinema. SF Michael told reporter Daryl Morden, “‘It’s very na├»ve when you listen to it, but it still stands up, even if it does sound a little immature in some ways…We made up for that, I think, by making sure the production and arrangement didn’t sound simplistic.’” BR1 He has also said, “‘It disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly and it can mean so much to so many people.’” KL

It definitely did that as it “touched fans and passive listeners alike to become one of, if not the only, love songs of 1985” AMG and “one of the most enduring ballads of all time.” BBC “A simple song with with just four chords, the track’s charm lies in its mournful saxophone intro, together with George’s anguished vocals as he pleads for forgiveness from the lover he’s cheated on.” BBC “Now a last-dance staple everywhere from school discos to weddings, the irony inherent in thousands of lovestruck couples smooching to a song about infidelity appears to be lost on most people.” BBC




Awards:

Resources and Related Links: