The other night, I was at a get-together in South Portland, Maine, at the home of my friend Melissa, and there was a conversation going about The British (music) Invasion. I chimed in and said, “Which one?” They were talking about the one in the mid-1960s, while I was referring to the one in the mid-1980s. When questioned about the 80s British Invasion, I then tried to remember all the big British hits in the U.S. during 1985, and had a huge gaping brain cramp. So, I’ll properly answer that question here.
I’ve prolly said on the bloggy thing here that the New Wave era here in America started and ended with The Human League. Their big 1982 hit, “Don’t You Want Me” spent three weeks at No. 1 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in July 1982, and for the next four years, New Wave artists were prominent on the Hot 100 singles chart. In November 1986, their hit, “Human,” reached No. 1 on the Hot 100, and was replaced the following week by “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. I’ve also prolly said here (half-jokingly) that Bon Jovi killed New Wave.
Another interesting thing about The Human League’s two bookend reigns at No. 1 on the Hot 100 – not only did New Wave come into play (pun intended) during this time – with the tremendous help of MTV – it was also the time of the Second British (music) Invasion.
On the BILLBOARD Hot 100 dated July 16th, 1983, British music acts shattered the record established in 1965, where 14 songs by British recording artists were in the American Top 40 at the same time. On this July 1983 chart, HALF of the Top 40 were songs by British artists, and of those 20, seven of the Top 10 singles that week were by Brits: “Time (Clock Of The Heart)” – Culture Club (No. 10), “Is There Something I Should Know” – Duran Duran (once called The Fab Five; No. 9), “Our House” – Madness (No. 8), “Too Shy” – Kajagoogoo (No. 7), “Come Dancing” (The Kinks, who were part of the original British Invasion; No. 6), “Electric Avenue” – Eddy Grant (a Londoner from Guyana, which was known as British Guiana at the time of his birth in 1948; No. 2), and “Every Breath You Take” – The Police (for the second of eight weeks at No. 1).
In April 1984, 40 of the singles on the Hot 100 were by British acts, and on the Hot 100 chart dated May 25, 1985 (the year of the height of the Second British Invasion), a record EIGHT of the Top 10 singles that week were by Brits: “Things Can Only Get Better” – Howard Jones (No. 10), “Some Like It Hot” – The Power Station (No. 9), “Suddenly” – Billy Ocean (of British origin; No. 8), “One Night In Bangkok” – Murray Head (No. 7), “Smooth Operator” – Sade (No. 5), “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – Tears For Fears (No. 3), “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds (No. 2), and “Everything She Wants” – Wham! (No. 1).
For three months between May 18, 1985 and August 17, 1985, and starting with “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” songs by acts from Britain would rule the U.S. music world for all but two weeks – the aforementioned “Everything She Wants” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” plus “Sussudio” by Phil Collins, “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran, Paul Young’s cover of the Daryl Hall song, “Everytime You Go Away,” and “Shout” by Tears For Fears.
When Bon Jovi claimed their first No. 1 song on the Hot 100 in late November 1986, and in the process signaling the end of the reign of New Wave and the Second British Invasion, the No. 1 songs for the better part of the rest of the 80s were dominated by Glam Metal and Dance acts, though in 1988, many songs by Brits did manage to reach No. 1 on the Hot 100.
One of the British acts who had a banner year in 1985 – in the U.S. and all over the globe – was Bath, England’s Tears For Fears. Led by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith, Tears For Fears had been around since 1981, but despite a brilliant debut album (THE HURTING), they hadn’t been able to break through to the U.S. market until the success of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” their third single from their second album, SONGS FROM THE BIG CHAIR.
“Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (with vocals by Curt Smith) was the first single released here in the U.S., and for awhile in the Spring and Summer of 1985, Tears For Fears did rule the world with their incredible hit. It spent a couple of weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in June 1985, as well as reaching No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart for two weeks. The love for this song was felt through many different genres, and it reached No. 2 on BILLBOARD’s Rock and Adult Contemporary charts – no easy feat. Here in America, it rightfully ranked at No. 7 for all of 1985.
Around the globe, it reached No. 1 in Canada and New Zealand, and the Top 10 in the U.K., Australia, Belgium, Holland and Ireland. A year later, Roland and Curt returned to the Top 10 of the U.K. and Ireland charts with a rework of their big hit, titled “Everybody Wants To RUN The World,” in support of Sport Aid, which was a sports-themed offshoot campaign of Live Aid, to aid in the effort to help the famine problem in Africa. The highlight of this campaign was the Race Against Time, a 10K fun run simultaneously held in 89 countries. $37 million was raised for Live Aid and UNICEF.
For many years, Roland Orzabal kept performing under the Tears For Fears name while Curt Smith had left the band, but they have been together again since 2000, released an album in 2004 (EVERYBODY LOVES A HAPPY ENDING) and are currently on the last dates of their rescheduled U.S. and Canada tour.
Though overall Tears For Fears may not be the household name they were in 1985, it’s great to see them still together and so wonderful to hear their songs like “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” on the radio. It’s one of those songs I have always loved from the start and a song I always love driving to. One of the lyrics of the song goes, “Nothing ever lasts forever.” Clearly, Roland and Curt aren’t referring to their own song, as this song will live on in radio eternity, and as I’ll love this song forever…