Happy 45th Birthday Curt Smith.

Waist High favorite Curt Smith formed Graduate with Roland Orzabal in 1979.

By 1981, wanting to focus on emulating other artists of the time, they departed from Graduate and formed a band called The History of Headaches, a moniker which was quickly changed to Tears For Fears.

Their first single as Tears For Fears, "Suffer the Children," was released in November 1981, followed by "Pale Shelter" in March 1982. Their success came with their third single "Mad World," which hit the top 3 in the UK in December 1982. Their first full length album, The Hurting, was released in March 1983, and featured Ian Stanley on keyboard, and Manny Elias on drums.

The album showcased synthesizer-based songs with lyrics reflecting Orzabal's bitter childhood and upbringing. The Hurting can be considered TFF's only true concept album, as references to emotional distress and primal therapy are found in nearly every song. The album itself charted at #1 in the UK and yielded the international hit singles "Mad World," "Change," and the re-recorded "Pale Shelter."

Songs from the Big Chair, released in February of 1985, broke free from the synth-pop mold, featuring instead an enormous, intricate sound that would become the band's stylistic hallmark. This new Tears For Fears sound, which showcased the Fairlight CMI, as well as the singles themselves, helped propel Songs from the Big Chair to quadruple-platinum sales. The album's title was inspired by the book and television mini-series Sybil, the chronicle of a woman with multiple personality disorder who sought refuge in "her big chair."

The album was a massive success on both sides of the Atlantic and yielded the hit singles "Mothers Talk," "Shout," (#1 in the U.S.) "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," (another #1 in the U.S.) "Head Over Heels," and "I Believe."

It was 1989 before the group released its third album, The Seeds of Love, which featured the singles "Sowing the Seeds of Love," and "Woman in Chains."

After The Seeds of Love, Orzabal and Smith had an extremely acrimonious falling out and spent much of the 1990's attacking each other through the media.

In 1995, Smith met local songwriter and producer Charlton Pettus. The two formed a self-described "organic" partnership, writing simple, melody-based songs and recording them at home on vintage analog equipment.

From 1996 to 1998, their band Mayfield performed occasional sets in clubs throughout Greenwich Village and SoHo including Brownie's, the Mercury Lounge, and CBGB. Eschewing major record labels, Smith formed his own label, Zerodisc, to release Mayfield's music, and was an early advocate of using the internet to share and distribute music outside the mainstream industry.

Orzabal went on to record the albums Elemental, released in 1993, Raoul and the Kings of Spain, released in 1995, and Tomcats Screaming Outside, released in 2001, under the Tears For Fears moniker.

In 2001, routine paperwork obligations led to Orzabal and Smith's first conversation in over a decade. The two patched up their differences and Orzabal flew to Smith's home in Los Angeles for what they assumed would be a hesitant attempt at songwriting.

The songwriting sessions, which included Charlton Pettus, went so well that fourteen songs were written and recorded. The ensuing album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, was paid one of the highest compliments when a reviewer said that "John Lennon and Paul McCartney are alive and well."

Two successful U.S. tours followed, with this writer in attendance for the Portland Oregon show at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Happy Birthday!

Material: chrissyfessler.blogspot.com & wikipedia.org
Photo: curtsmithzerodisc.com