The Seeds of Love

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The Seeds of Love
Seeds of LoveLP.jpg
Studio album by Tears for Fears
Released 25 September 1989
Recorded 1986–1989
Length 49:31 (original)
65:18 (1999 reissue)
Label Fontana/Mercury
Producer Tears for Fears, Dave Bascombe
Tears for Fears chronology
Songs from the Big Chair
(1985)Songs from the Big Chair1985
The Seeds of Love
Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82–92)
(1992)Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82–92)1992
Singles from The Seeds of Love
  1. "Sowing the Seeds of Love"
    Released: 21 August 1989
  2. "Woman in Chains"
    Released: 6 November 1989
  3. "Advice for the Young at Heart"
    Released: 19 February 1990
  4. "Famous Last Words"
    Released: 6 August 1990
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune3.5/4 stars[4]
Los Angeles Times2.5/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[6]

The Seeds of Love is the third studio album by the British rock/pop band Tears for Fears, released on 25 September 1989, four years and seven months after Songs from the Big Chair.

The album, which reportedly cost over £1 million (GBP) to produce, retained the band's epic sound while incorporating influences ranging from jazz and blues to The Beatles, of which the latter is most evident on the hit single "Sowing the Seeds of Love".[7]

The Seeds of Love was an international success, entering the UK Albums Chart at number one and reaching the top ten in numerous other countries including the US. It has been certified Platinum in several territories including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany, Canada, and the Netherlands. Despite its success, it would be the last album that band members Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith would work on together for over a decade.


The first song composed for the album was "Badman's Song" (originally titled "The Bad Man Song"), written during the band's 1985 world tour after Orzabal overheard two members of the tour personnel maligning him in a hotel room one night. The song was co-written by Orzabal with keyboardist Nicky Holland, who was touring with the band throughout 1985. Holland would go on to play an integral part in the writing and recording of The Seeds Of Love album, much as keyboardist Ian Stanley had on the band's previous album.

Recording sessions for the album began in late 1986 with producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, but Orzabal and Smith were unhappy with the results and so the recordings were scrapped in early 1987. Chris Hughes (who had produced both the previous Tears For Fears albums) was then brought back into the fold, but again conflicts arose over the direction of the new material. Orzabal in particular had grown weary of composing and playing music using machines and sequencers, as the majority of Tears For Fears' music had been up to that point, and was striving for something more organic and a different way of working.[8]

"As a band, we came from the programmed pop era of the early '80s and we had inherited a sense of structure that permeated almost all our music. The way we were working was becoming too sterile. We wanted to do something more colourful, something that sounded big and warm. You cannot get that from machines. You only get that with real musicians and real players."

— Curt Smith[8]

The song "Sowing the Seeds of Love" was written in June 1987, the same week as the UK General Election in which Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party won a third consecutive term in office (reflected in the lyric "Politician granny with your high ideals, have you no idea how the majority feels?"). Hughes and longtime TFF keyboardist Ian Stanley both left the project later in 1987 citing "creative differences", though their contributions to the track remained on the final album. After two failed attempts to make the album, the band opted to produce it themselves, assisted by engineer Dave Bascombe. Also in 1987, Orzabal and Smith flew over to the US to track down a hotel lounge pianist/vocalist named Oleta Adams, whom they had seen playing in Kansas City during their 1985 American tour. Hoping she could add to the organic feel by bringing a soulful warmth to their music, they invited Adams to work with them on their new album. Adams would ultimately perform on three tracks ("Woman in Chains", "Badman's Song" and "Standing On The Corner Of The Third World"), and a solo recording contract was also offered to her by the band's record company Fontana.[8]

Recording recommenced in early 1988 and lasted until the summer of 1989. Featuring an assortment of respected session players including drummer Manu Katché, bassist Pino Palladino, and even a guest appearance by Phil Collins on drums, much of the album was recorded as jam sessions featuring different performances of the music and then edited down later. Some of the tracks, particularly "Badman's Song", were recorded several times in a variety of musical styles including, according to Holland, versions of the song that were reminiscent of Barry White, Little Feat and Steely Dan before settling on the jazz/gospel version that is on the finished album. Co-producer Dave Bascombe commented that the final version of the song was almost nothing like the original demo because it had gone through so many changes. The track "Swords and Knives" was originally written for the 1986 film Sid and Nancy (about the relationship between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen), but was rejected by the filmmakers for not being "punk" enough.[8]

Due to the starry cast of session players and lengthy production process, including the scrapped earlier recordings, the album reportedly cost £1 million to make (by comparison, the band's previous album Songs From The Big Chair only cost around £70,000[9]). The final mix of the album was completed at London's Mayfair Studios in July 1989. Frustrations during the making of the album had also given rise to tensions between Orzabal and Smith, Orzabal having become something of an intricate perfectionist and Smith preoccupied with living a jetset lifestyle rather than focusing on the album (Smith's first marriage had also ended in divorce during the making of the album). At one point, Orzabal considered calling the album Famous Last Words (the title of the album's final track), commenting "it may well turn out to be our last album."[8] Indeed, the duo did not make any further recordings together for over a decade.


Now assigned to the newly reactivated Phonogram subsidiary label Fontana, the first single from the album, "Sowing the Seeds of Love", was released in August 1989. It became a worldwide hit, peaking at no.5 in the UK, no.2 in the US, and no.1 in Canada. The album was released in September 1989, entering the UK Album Chart at no.1 and would be certified Platinum by the BPI within three weeks. In the US, the album peaked at no.8, and was also certified Platinum. The album also reached the top ten in various other countries around the world.

Further singles from the album, "Woman in Chains" (recorded as a duet with Adams) and "Advice For The Young At Heart" (the only track featuring Smith on lead vocals), both reached the UK Top 40. "Famous Last Words" was released as a fourth single in mid-1990 by the record company without the band's involvement, though this only peaked at no.83 in the UK. A video compilation, Sowing the Seeds, featuring the promo videos for the first three singles from the album was also released in 1990.

The band embarked on a world tour to promote the album in 1990, featuring Adams both as a support act and as a player with the band (her solo album, Circle of One, produced by Orzabal and Dave Bascombe was also released during this time). The band's concert at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in May 1990 was filmed and released on home video, titled Going To California.

A 64-page companion book to the album, entitled Tears for Fears - The Seeds of Love, was also released in 1990 by Virgin Books and offers insight into the writing and recording process behind the album as well as the sheet music for each song and rare promotional photographs from the period.[8]

The album was remastered and reissued in 1999 with four bonus tracks which were originally B-sides to the album's first three singles. It does not include the B-Side "My Life In The Suicide Ranks" which was an additional B-Side to "Woman In Chains" and can be found on the band's 1996 rarities compilation Saturnine Martial & Lunatic.

Track listing[edit]

1."Woman in Chains"Roland Orzabal6:30
2."Badman's Song"
  • Orzabal
  • Nicky Holland
3."Sowing the Seeds of Love"
4."Advice for the Young at Heart"
  • Orzabal
  • Holland
5."Standing on the Corner of the Third World"Orzabal5:30
6."Swords and Knives"
  • Orzabal
  • Holland
7."Year of the Knife"
  • Orzabal
  • Holland
8."Famous Last Words"
  • Orzabal
  • Holland
Total length:49:31
1999 reissue Bonus tracks
9."Tears Roll Down" (B-side to "Sowing the Seeds of Love")
  • Orzabal
  • Dave Bascombe
10."Always in the Past" (B-side to "Woman in Chains")4:38
11."Music for Tables" (B-side to "Advice for the Young at Heart")Orzabal3:32
12."Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams" (additional B-side to "Advice for the Young at Heart")Orzabal4:17
Total length:65:18


  • A remix of "Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams" was also released as a separate single in the UK in 1991 and reached #70 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 on the UK Dance Chart.


Tears for Fears

  • Roland Orzabal – lead vocals (1-3, 5-8), backing vocals, guitars, keyboards, Fairlight programming
  • Curt Smith – bass (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8), backing vocals, lead vocals (4)
  • Ian Stanley – keyboards (3), Hammond organ (3)

Additional personnel


  • Producers – Tears for Fears and David Bascombe
  • Engineer – David Bascombe
  • Additional engineer – Steve Chase
  • Assistant engineers – Heidi Canova and Lee Curle
  • Mixing – Bob Clearmountain (tracks 1 and 7), David Bascombe (tracks 2–6 and 8).
  • Art direction and photography – David Scheinmann
  • Oleta Adams' photo – Jeff Katz
  • Design – Stylorouge

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Swihart, Stanton. "The Seeds of Love – Tears for Fears". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  2. ^ Hoffmann, Frank W. (2005). Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop. Infobase Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-8160-6980-4. 
  3. ^ Munro, Scott (July 21, 2017). "Steven Wilson meets Bollywood in Permanating video". Team Rock. 
  4. ^ Kot, Greg (26 October 1989). "Tears for Fears: The Seeds of Love (Polygram)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Willman, Chris (24 September 1989). "Tears for Fears: Just So-So in 'The Seeds of Love'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Azerrad, Michael (2 November 1989). "Tears for Fears: The Seeds Of Love". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  7. ^ Nevin Martell. Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson . p. 67. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Thrills, Adrian (1990). Tears For Fears - The Seeds of Love. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 0-86369-329-6. 
  9. ^ Vare, Ethlie Ann (March 1985). "Tears For Fears To Tour: Electro-Popsters Push 'Big Chair'". Billboard Magazine. 97 (10 (March 9, 1985)): 48. 
  10. ^ "Australian Tears for Fears chart positions". Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "Austrian Tears for Fears chart positions". Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Canadian The Seeds of Love chart positions". RPM. Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  13. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste". Retrieved 28 October 2011.  Select "TEARS for FEARS".
  14. ^ " – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  15. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - ALBUM 1989". Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  16. ^ " - Tears For Fears - The Seeds Of Love". Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "New Zealand Tears for Fears chart positions". Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  18. ^ "Norwegian Tears for Fears chart positions". Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  19. ^ "Swedish Tears for Fears chart positions". Retrieved 23 December 2009. 
  20. ^ " – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love". Hung Medien. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Tears for Fears Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  23. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  24. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love". Music Canada. 
  25. ^ "French album certifications – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select TEARS FOR FEARS and click OK
  26. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  27. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Tears for Fears; 'The Seeds of Love')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  28. ^ "British album certifications – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter The Seeds of Love in the search field and then press Enter.
  29. ^ "American album certifications – Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH