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The history of the hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears

For Tears for Fears, it was their first number one hit in the United States!

The creation and meaning of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - group song "Tears for Fears.". It was included in the album "Songs from the Big Chair and was released as a separate single in the spring of 1985. The composition perfectly conveys the mood of the new wave and synth-pop of those years, but despite the upbeat melody, it has a very deep and disturbing lyricism. The lyrics talk about corruption and people's desire for power. The track gained critical acclaim and popularity in many countries. It became number one on the Canada, New Zealand and Americaand it was a big breakthrough for Tears for Fears. The video, directed by Nigel Dick, scored almost 190 million views on YouTube, and the relevance of the song itself has only increased over the years.

Source of inspiration

Tears for Fears
"Tears for Fears."

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" is a very resonant and catchy song, but its lyrics are very dark and deep. Band member Kurt Smith narrated:

"This song has a pretty serious message - it's about war, about how everybody strives for power."

The song was written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley and Chris Hugheswho also acted as a producer. The most interesting thing is that it was included in the album at the very last moment! When Orzabal played a couple of chords on his acoustic guitar for Hughes, the decision was made immediately. Years later, Chris recalled:

"When the sessions were almost at an end, Roland came into the studio and played two simple chords. I was amazed! It sounded great. This song was born very easily, without any effort! The chords were the basis for it.

Tears For Fears
"Tears For Fears."

Exactly Hughes convinced Orzabal to record the track, because he was sure of its success in the United States. And he wasn't wrong! The author of the chords himself, RolandThe song's rhythm, he confessed, was "alien." their classical way of writing music.

Lyrics and music

Tears for Fears: Kurt Smith (left) and Roland Orzabal (right)
"Tears for Fears: Kurt Smith (left) and Roland Orzabal (right), 1982

The text of the composition details people's desire for power and the unfortunate consequences of this. Because of its ambiguity, it has given rise to various political interpretations. For example, some saw it as Cold War anthem! Others emphasized the timeless message of the track and said that its lyrics describe the hardships of any period. The band members themselves said that the themes touched upon in the song were really acute:

"While writing Everybody Wants to Rule the World, we were really discussing the Cold War."

Critics have characterized the composition as a "conservative pop song," paying particular attention to the tension between "personal ambition" and "channeling that personal ambition into a good cause. The tune "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" meets the best standards of new wave and synth-pop that were so popular in those years.

Music video

The fascinating accompanying video was directed by Nigel Dick and filmed at the beginning of 1985 of the year, and in several locations: in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, the desert in Southern California, in Salton Sea, and even in the studio! The video turned out beautifully, however, according to the story Kurt Smithhis filming turned out to be a "catastrophe. Smith admitted that it was not without accidents.

Despite the incidents during the filming, the music video quickly gained popularity on the "MTV." and the audience loved it! Over the years, its relevance has not diminished, as evidenced by the number of views on YouTube: almost 200 million and a huge number of "like" marks. Editor of the magazine "HuffPost". put the video for the song "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" in third place on the list of the best videos of 1985. He commented on his choice:

"This video proves that at times artists can do so much with so little."

Interesting Facts

Tears for Fears: Roland Orzabal (left) and Kurt Smith (right)
"Tears for Fears: Roland Orzabal (left) and Kurt Smith (right)
  • The title of the song was borrowed from the line "Charlie Don't Surf." groups "Clash.". Subsequently, the vocalist of the latter, Joe Strummerhe told an amusing story of his confrontation with Roland Orzabal in a restaurant: "One day in a restaurant I noticed Roland. I went up to him and said: "Now you owe me a fiver." He silently reached into his pocket and pulled out a five-pound bill.

  • For "Tears for Fears." it was their first number one hit in the United States!
  • In the early noughties Smith created a solo acoustic version of the song, which was included in the film "Private Public.". In this film he also made his debut as an actor.
  • At some point while writing "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" the group hit a dead end. An early version included the line "everyone wants to go to war," which slowed down the process. Eventually it was decided to replace it with the title of the song: "When we did it, everything fell into place! All the puzzles came together." - Orzabal commented.
  • Ted Yoder - an American musical artist who became widely famous in 2016: he played this hit in his backyard on a wrought iron dulcimer! The performance was broadcast live Facebook, and it has been seen by more than 100 million man!

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