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Founded after the dissolution of their first band, the mod-influenced Graduate, they were initially associated with the New Wave synthesizer bands of the early 1980s but later branched out into mainstream rock and pop, which led to international chart success.
Songs from the Big Chair and worldwide fame
A change of direction was initially instigated in early 1984 as they began working with a new producer, Jeremy Green, on their new single “Mothers Talk“. However, the band were ultimately unhappy with the results and so producer Chris Hughes was brought back into the fold and the “Mothers Talk” single reproduced for release in August 1984. A distinct departure from their earlier works, the single became a Top 20 hit in the UK, but it was the follow-up single “Shout” (released in the UK in November 1984) that was the real beginning of the band’s international fame.
This Top 5 hit paved the way for their second album, Songs from the Big Chair (released in February 1985), which entered the UK album chart at no.2 and remained in the upper reaches of the chart for the next 12 months. They did away with the predominantly synth-pop feel of the first album, instead expanding into a more sophisticated sound that would become the band’s stylistic hallmark. Anchored around the creative hub of producer Hughes, Stanley and Orzabal, the new Tears for Fears sound helped to propel Songs from the Big Chair into becoming one of the year’s biggest sellers worldwide, eventually being certified triple-platinum in the UK and quintuple-platinum in the US (where it remained the #1 album for five weeks in the summer of 1985).
Biography: Adams was born the daughter of a preacher and was raised with gospel music. In her youth her family moved to Yakima, Washington, which is sometimes shown as her place of birth.
Before gaining her opportunity to perform, Adams faced a great deal of rejection. In the 1970s, she moved to Los Angeles, California where she recorded a demo tape. However, many music executives were exclusively interested in disco music rather than Adams’ preferred style.
With the advice of her singing coach, Lee Farrell, Adams moved to Kansas City where she did a variety of local gigs. Adams started her career in the early 1980s with two self-financed albums which had limited success.
Collaboration with Tears For Fears
In 1985, Adams was discovered by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, founders of the English band Tears for Fears, while performing in a hotel bar in Kansas City, Missouri whilst they were on a US tour. They chatted with Adams after her performance, and two years later they contacted her to invite her to join their band as a singer on their next album, The Seeds of Love.
In 1989, the album was released and the single “Woman In Chains” – sung as a duet by Adams and Orzabal and with Phil Collins on drums – became her first hit. Adams embarked on a world tour with Tears For Fears in 1990, performing by herself as the supporting artist at the start of each show, and remaining onstage throughout the Tears For Fears set where she would provide piano and vocals.
I love, love, LOVE, Oleta Adams!