Woman in Chains

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"Woman in Chains"
Single by Tears for Fears feat. Oleta Adams
from the album The Seeds of Love
B-side "Always in the Past"
"My Life In The Suicide Ranks"
"Ghost Papa" (1992 rerelease)
Released 6 November 1989
Format 7″, 12″, CDS
Recorded 1988–89
Genre Pop rock, soul
Length 6:30
Label Fontana Records
Writer(s) Roland Orzabal
Producer(s) Tears for Fears
Dave Bascombe
Tears for Fears feat. Oleta Adams singles chronology
"Sowing the Seeds of Love"
"Woman in Chains"
"Advice for the Young at Heart"

"Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)"

"Woman in Chains"

"Break It Down Again"

"Woman in Chains" is a hit song by the British band Tears for Fears, released as the second single from their 1989 album The Seeds of Love.

The single reached the Top 40 in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Ireland, Italy and New Zealand, and was a Top 20 hit in Canada, France, the Netherlands and in Poland (where it was particularly successful, reaching number 5 in the charts).[1] The studio cut features Phil Collins on drums, Pino Palladino on a beautiful fretless bass line and is also notable for guest vocals from female singer Oleta Adams, who would later go on to achieve a successful solo career.

The song was re-released in 1992 (with a different B-side and now credited to "Tears For Fears featuring Oleta Adams") in order to capitalise on the recent solo success of Oleta Adams and to promote the Tears for Fears Greatest Hits compilation Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82–92), this time reaching number 57 in the UK charts.


"Woman in Chains" was recorded as a duet and Orzabal explained the impetus for the lyric to Melody Maker: "I was reading some feminist literature at the time and I discovered that there are societies in the world still in existence today that are non-patriarchal. They don't have the man at the top and the women at the bottom. They're matricentric - they have the woman at the centre and these societies are a lot less violent, a lot less greedy and there's generally less animosity... but the song is also about how men traditionally play down the feminine side of their characters and how both men and women suffer for it.... I think men in a patriarchal society are sold down the river a bit - okay, maybe we're told that we're in control but there are also a hell of a lot of things that we miss out on, which women are allowed to be".

The song was later sampled in the S.A.S. single "So Free" featuring Cam'ron and on Uneasy Listening Vol. 1 by DJ Z-Trip and DJ P.

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by Andy Morahan, was filmed in black and white which does focus on the abusive relationship between a man (a boxer) and a woman (a pole-dancer, played by Angela Alvarado) and is interspersed with shots of the band and guest vocalist Oleta Adams performing the song. Note that Phil Collins doesn't appear in the music video as the guest drummer, it is Chris Hughes (producer & drummer) after Manny Elias left the band.


Chart (1989/90) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[2] 39
France (SNEP)[3] 20
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[4] 16
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[5] 34
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[6] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 36
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[8] 11


External links[edit]