Monday, May 15, 2023

"Woman in Chains" by Tears for Fears

Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  4124
Date:  12/02/1989
Debut:  93
Peak:  36
Weeks:  14
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This duo's third album, The Seeds of Love, would get kicked off in a positive way with the first single "Sowing the Seeds of Love" making its way to #2 Pop/#1 Modern Rock/#4 Rock. For a follow up, this album opening ballad would be issued out. Unfortunately, the tune couldn't quite gain an audience and it stalled inside the Pop Top 40 while topping out at #27 Modern Rock and #37 AC. A third single, "Advice for the Young at Heart," would fare less well only getting to #89 Pop/#24 AC. The lone Pop Top 10 single helped the LP reach #8 and get to platinum status, but that was a significant drop from their previous breakthrough effort, '85's Songs from the Big Chair, which hit #1 and sold over 5 million copies.

ReduxReview:  I totally fell head over heels (pun intended) for this song upon first listen. I thought it was just a stunning track with a beautiful arrangement that built to a freeing climax (pushed along by drums provided by Phil Collins). Oleta Adams' vocal was so haunting and fit well next to Orzabal's unique voice. I figured it might have a tough time breaking through on pop radio as it was not your typical commercial fare, but was so hoping it would go Top 10. The song gives me chills every time I hear it. Just brilliant. Curt Smith would leave the duo after a hits package and so Orzabal would continue on under the TforF moniker for a couple of album in '93 and '95 that didn't do all that well. The pair would reunite for 2004's Everybody Loves a Happy Ending.


Trivia:  This song became a duet between Roland Orzabal and Oleta Adams. The duo discovered Adams during a tour stop over in Kansas City, Missouri. She was singing at a hotel restaurant and the duo happened to catch her show. They were taken with her voice and heartfelt performance. Orzabal has mentioned in interviews that watching her made him rethink the approach to their next album. When it came time to record, they called up Adams to sing on the LP. She would provide backing vocals on a couple of tracks along with some lead work on another and then on this duet. Adams would also accompany the duo on their supporting tour performing on her own and with the duo. The exposure led to Adams getting signed by the duo's label, Fontana. Orzabal would co-produce her 1990 album Circle of One. Two singles would be issued out from the LP, but neither got attention. However, a third single, a remake of the Brenda Russell tune "Get Here" (1988, #37 R&B), would catch fire and become a hit getting to #5 Pop, #3 AC, and #8 R&B. In turn, the album would then get to #20 Pop/#11 R&B and go gold. Adams would do a couple more albums for the Fontana label that were less successful, but that one hit and her TforF association gave the unknown KC lounge singer a long lasting career.



  1. Totally agree. "Advice For The Young At Heart" is a 8, maybe even a 9 for me. I loved this album.

    1. I just love the album. It is one that I will listen to at least once a year. Then of course it makes me listen to the Oleta Adams LP.