Number Ones: #39


  • TEARS FOR FEARS Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Mercury)
  • Week Ending 20th April 1985
  • 2 Weeks At #1


What an effortless lark this pop business can be at times. Or appear to be. Just ask Tears For Fears, as the third single from their newly-released album Songs From The Big Chair eased up the UK and US charts, making nonsense of the uncertainty and dark clouds hovering over their career only 12 months earlier.

Not “going far, getting nowhere” anymore.

Everybody Wants To Rule The World is one of those pop moments where it all comes together; its production, songwriting and performance are all immaculate and nothing is out of place. Yet, like a duck gliding across the water, there is rather more going on under the surface. The original plan for Songs From The Big Chair‘s singles run, to judge from producer Chris Hughes’ sleevenotes on the back of the Shout single in late 1984, was for Head Over Heels to follow next.

Somewhere along the way, a song entitled Everybody Wants To Go To War – and based on a (very) slightly tweaked drum pattern that underpinned Waterfront by Simple Minds – emerged as genuine hit single material. Roland Orzabal made the lyrics less overtly political, handed vocal duties over to Curt Smith, snuck in a sly dig at Mercury Records’ insistence on cutting down the running time of Shout (“so glad we finally made it, so sad they had to fade it”) and great big bloody transatlantic smash hit single, here we come!

The wobble was over. As successful as Shout had (eventually) been in Britain, and as healthy as initial sales of Songs From The Big Chair had been, this was the song which sealed their place at the top table of global pop music in 1985. America went crazy for it, paving the way for Shout to emulate its #1 peak during the summer and then Head Over Heels to make it a trio of Billboard Top 3 hits within a blink of an eye.



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