Shout (Tears for Fears song)

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Single by Tears for Fears
from the album Songs from the Big Chair
B-side"The Big Chair"
Released23 November 1984[1]
StudioThe Wool Hall (Beckington, England)
  • 6:31 (album version)
  • 6:00 (video version)
  • 4:52 (single version)
  • 3:59 (U.S. single version)
Producer(s)Chris Hughes
Tears for Fears singles chronology
"Mothers Talk"
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
Audio sample
Music video
"Shout" on YouTube

"Shout" is a song by English pop rock band Tears for Fears, released as the second single from their second studio album, Songs from the Big Chair (1985), on 23 November 1984.[1] Roland Orzabal is the lead singer on the track, and he described it as "a simple song about protest".[5] The single became the group's fourth Top 5 hit in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 4 in January 1985. In the US, it reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 3 August 1985 and remained there for three weeks; also topping the Cash Box chart. "Shout" became one of the most successful songs of 1985, eventually reaching No. 1 in multiple countries.

Featuring a repetitive hook and a synth-drone throughout, "Shout" is regarded as one of the most recognizable songs from the mid-eighties, with Chris True of AllMusic viewing it as Tears for Fears' defining moment.[6] The song has been covered, remixed and sampled by many artists since its release. In 2010, it was used as the basis for the UK-chart–topping song "Shout" (performed by an ensemble featuring Dizzee Rascal and actor James Corden), an unofficial anthem of the England football team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


While Tears for Fears' previous single "Mothers Talk" had showcased a new, more extroverted songwriting style, "Shout" was completed with power chords, heavy percussion, a synth bass solo and a vocal-sounding synth riff. The song has a lengthy guitar solo, unusual for Tears for Fears.

The song was written in my front room on just a small synthesizer and a drum machine. Initially I only had the chorus, which was very repetitive, like a mantra. I played it to Ian Stanley, our keyboardist, and Chris Hughes, the producer. I saw it as a good album track, but they were convinced it would be a hit around the world.[7]

— Roland Orzabal


Cash Box said that it has "an anthemic chorus and a booming production sound".[8] John Leland at Spin called it, " the simple, mindless pop song Depeche Mode has been trying to write for years. The vocals sound like they're coming from a porcelain bathroom at the foot of the Alps. Other than that, its got a singsong melody that numbs all critical faculties, portentious lyrics that signify nothing, and a happy lack of synth doodles or Bowie-isms."[9]


Song writer Roland Orzabal has said that the song "is actually more concerned with political protest" than the common view that it is about primal scream theory.[10]

Release variations[edit]

In addition to the standard 7- and 12-inch releases, the "Shout" single was issued in two collectible formats in the UK: a limited-edition 10-inch single and a 7-inch boxed pack featuring a 1985 Tears for Fears calendar.[11] A similar limited-edition 7-inch pack was released in Canada, this one featuring a 12-page booklet of band photos. In 1988, "Shout" was reissued on the short-lived CD Video format. The disc included two mixes of the title track, a remix of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", and the "Shout" music video.


"The Big Chair" is the B-side to the "Shout" single. Though there are no lyrics, the track contains dialogue samples performed by actors Sally Field and William Prince from the 1976 television film Sybil, from which the song (and the album Songs from the Big Chair) takes its name. This is one of the few songs in the Tears for Fears catalogue on which bandmember Curt Smith shares a writing credit. The song has since been included in the band's B-sides and rarities collection Saturnine Martial & Lunatic (1996) as well as the remastered and deluxe edition reissues of Songs from the Big Chair.

This track was very much inspired by the film Sybil about a woman suffering from multiple personalities undergoing psychotherapy. The big chair in her therapist's office is the place Sybil feels safest to recount the horrors of her childhood.

— Roland Orzabal

Music video[edit]

Durdle Door, Dorset, on the English coast, where some scenes in the music video were shot

The promotional video for "Shout", filmed in late 1984, was the second Tears for Fears video directed by Nigel Dick. It features footage of Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith at Durdle Door in Dorset on the south coast of England, as well as in a studio with the full band, including Ian Stanley and Manny Elias, performing the song amidst a crowd of family and friends.[12]

Along with the clip for "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", the "Shout" video had a big hand in helping establish Tears for Fears in North America due to its heavy airplay on the music video channel MTV.[13]

Track listings[edit]


Tears for Fears

Additional personnel


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[46] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[47] Gold 10,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[48] Gold 500,000
United States (RIAA)[49] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[49] Gold 500,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

*In addition to its Gold certification for 500,000 physical copies sold in the 1980s, "Shout" was awarded a second Gold award by the RIAA in 2012 for 500,000 digital copies sold.

Cover versions[edit]

"Shout" has been covered by various artists:

Shout for England[edit]

In 2010, "Shout" was used as the basis for an unofficial anthem of the England football team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The new version, performed by Shout for England featuring Dizzee Rascal and James Corden, utilises elements from the Tears for Fears song amid new verses written specifically for the 2010 World Cup. The track also samples "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers and was produced by Simon Cowell in association with TalkTalk. It was released on 9 June.[55] On 13 June, the track entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 1.[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Record News". NME. London, England. 17 November 1984. p. 46.
  2. ^ a b Lecaro, Lina. "Almost Acoustic Christmas Plugs into Power". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Tears for Fears' Curt Smith". CMJ New Music Monthly. No. 91. March 2001. p. 81. ISSN 1074-6978.
  4. ^ Smith, Troy L. (13 May 2021). "Every No. 1 song of the 1980s ranked from worst to best". Retrieved 30 January 2023.
  5. ^ "How Tears for Fears Found a Way to 'Shout' Their Way to No. 1". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  6. ^ True, Chris. "Shout – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  7. ^ Grogan, Jake (2018). Origins of a Song 202 True Inspirations Behind the World's Greatest Lyrics. Cider Mill Press. p. 112.
  8. ^ "Single Releases" (PDF). Cash Box. 8 June 1985. p. 11. Retrieved 29 July 2022.
  9. ^ John Leland (October 1985). "Singles". Spin. No. 6. p. 38.
  10. ^ "Top 10 Tears for Fears Songs We Want to Hear Live This Sunday". 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Tears For Fears – Shout". Discogs. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  12. ^ "Things you might not know about Durdle Door…". Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  13. ^ "Making Tears For Fears' Songs From The Big Chair". Classic pop magazine. Retrieved 30 April 2023.
  14. ^ "Australian Top 50 — Week Ending 31st March, 1985". Retrieved 21 February 2016 – via Imgur.
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  17. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0502." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  18. ^ "UK, Eurochart, Billboard & Cashbox No.1 Hits". Archived from the original on 14 June 2006.
  19. ^ "Tears for Fears – Shout" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
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  22. ^ "Italy Top 20 Singles – Week Ending 20.04.85". World Charts. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015.
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  30. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  31. ^ a b c d e "Songs from the Big Chair – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  32. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending AUGUST 10, 1985". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.
  33. ^ "Kent Music Report No 599 – 30 December 1985 > National Top 100 Singles for 1985". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 23 January 2023 – via Imgur.
  34. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 437. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  35. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1985" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  36. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Vol. 43, no. 16. Library and Archives Canada. 28 December 1985. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  37. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1985" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
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  45. ^ "Hot 100 Turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
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  47. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966 – 2006. Wellington: Maurienne House. p. 255. ISBN 978-1877443-00-8.
  48. ^ "British single certifications – Tears For Fears – Shout". British Phonographic Industry.
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  50. ^ DeLuca, Dan (3 November 1993). "Napolitano's Concrete Blonde Plays the Chestnut". Archived from the original on 18 February 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  51. ^ Weingarten, Christopher (14 December 2009). "The 50 Worst Songs of the '00s, F2K No. 12: Disturbed, "Land of Confusion"". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  52. ^ Gustafsson, Fredrik (12 March 2011). "Will Alexis Jordan Shout Her Way to the Top?". WelcheMusic. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  53. ^ Beaudoin, Jedd (18 November 2016). "Scandroid – "Shout" (video) (premiere)". PopMatters. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  54. ^ Phil (20 February 2017). "Grum Reworks Tears for Fears' "Shout" Into a Trance Anthem". RaverRafting. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  55. ^ "Shout (2010) – Dizzee Rascal – MP3 Downloads 7digital United Kingdom". 7digital. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
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