Curt Smith: Wikis


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Curt Smith

Curt Smith, 2008, by Justine Ungaro
Background information
Born 24 June 1961 (1961-06-24) (age 48)
Origin Bath, Somerset, England, UK
Genres Pop rock, New Wave, Post-punk
Occupations Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Years active 1979–present
Labels KOOK Media, Zerodisc, Mercury, XIII BIS
Associated acts Tears For Fears, Graduate, Neon

Curt Smith (born 24 June 1961, Bath, Somerset) is an English singer, bassist, synthesizer player, and songwriter. He is best known for forming the duo Tears for Fears, along with childhood friend Roland Orzabal. Now also a solo artist, he released his third album Halfway, pleased in May 2008.


Musical groups


Smith met Roland Orzabal when both were teenagers. They first formed a band at school, for which Smith taught himself to play bass guitar. They next formed the ska influenced band Graduate[1] , who released their only album in 1980 achieving minor success in Europe.

Smith and Orzabal also became session musicians for the band Neon. Fellow band members included Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher who went on to become the duo Naked Eyes.

Tears For Fears

After Graduate and Neon disbanded, Smith and Orzabal founded Tears For Fears. Their debut album, 1983's landmark The Hurting, reached no.1 in the UK and produced three international hit singles – "Mad World", "Change", and "Pale Shelter" – each with lead vocals performed by Smith.

Their 1985 album Songs from the Big Chair was even more successful, yielding hits including "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" (with Smith again on lead vocals), "Shout," and "Head Over Heels” (which Smith co-wrote).

The duo spent the next several years recording their 1989 album The Seeds of Love, which proved to be another international bestseller. Smith’s last single as a lead vocalist with the group (and his only lead vocal track on the album) was "Advice For The Young At Heart". Following another world tour, increasing tensions between himself and Orzabal prompted Smith to leave the band in 1991[2] and he moved to New York.

In 2000, According to their iTunes interview they say that routine legal paperwork obligations led to Orzabal and Smith's first conversation in nearly a decade. The two patched up their differences and began writing (with Smith's associate Charlton Pettus) 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending. In the meantime, “Mad World” was covered by Gary Jules and included on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. Having reached the top of the UK singles chart at Christmas 2003, it re-ignited interest in the group's earlier work and their 1992 Greatest Hits album was re-released and re-entered the UK Top 10 for several weeks, garnering its second UK platinum disc.

Solo albums

Soul on Board

After leaving Tears for Fears, Smith released his first solo album, Soul On Board, in 1993. The album was unsuccessful in the UK, and was not released at all in the U.S. Smith later claimed that he made the album purely to fulfill his record contract with Phonogram/Mercury.


After moving to New York, Smith formed the band Mayfield with guitarist-producer Charlton Pettus and which also featured Russ Irwin. The band was mostly a live act, as Smith wanted to play gigs in small clubs. The band did release a self-titled album in 1997, which met with little success. Smith later released the album 'Aeroplane'. In the U.S., this was a six song EP, but in Canada and elsewhere, it was essentially the earlier Mayfield album combined with additional songs from the U.S. EP.

Halfway, pleased

During 2000, Smith began work on what was to become Halfway, Pleased, but the project was put on hold when he began speaking to Roland Orzabal again after almost a decade of silence. Their conversations culminated in Tears For Fears reforming for 2004’s Everybody Loves a Happy Ending which led to a worldwide tour, so it wasn’t until 2006 that Smith resumed work on "Halfway, Pleased". The semi-autobiographical album explores Smith’s relationships with his children, parents and friends.

In April 2007, French record label XIII Bis Records released Halfway, Pleased in France. Its 14 tracks included the original version of "Who You Are" (which was recorded by Tears for Fears on "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending"); a live version of "Snow Hill" from the 2005 Tears for Fears UK tour; the single version of "Seven Of Sundays" (also recorded as a duet with French singer SO); and a cover of "On Ira Tous au Paradis" (also available on A Tribute to Polnareff). Two music videos were made for "Seven of Sundays" – one of the solo track, and one of the duet with SO.

All the songs except "Seven of Sundays” were co-written by Smith and Pettus. The solo version of “Seven of Sundays” was co-written by Pettus and Chesney Hawkes; Smith and Sophie Saillet helped adapt the song for the duet version.

Smith finally released the album in the U.S. and the rest of the world in May 2008 via his own KOOK Media label.[3] The KOOK release features a slightly different track lineup, eliminating the Ponareff tribute and adding two new acoustic tracks (“Coming Out” and “Seven of Sundays”). It was released under a Creative Commons license[4] which allows fans to distribute, perform and use the songs so long as the uses are non-commercial and attributed to Smith.

Smith has made limited live concert appearances in the Los Angeles area to support Halfway, pleased. In January 2009 he announced that he will perform a weekly residency at The Standard Hollywood in West Hollywood, CA during the month of February 2009[5]. He announced in mid-February that The Standard had asked him to extend through March 2009 and he agreed[6]. He played a similar residency there in October 2008.

Personal life

Smith grew up in Bath, England, and lived on the Snow Hill council estate (subject of the track “Snow Hill”). He attended the Beechen Cliff School.

Smith has been married twice. His first wife was Lynn Altman, whom he married in the early 1980s though the marriage ended later that decade. He then began a relationship with marketing executive Frances Pennington in 1988, and the couple were married in 1996. They live in Los Angeles, California with their two daughters, Diva and Wilder.[7]

Smith became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2007.

Smith is a longtime football fan and supports Manchester United F.C. He was guest commentator for the Champions Soccer Radio Network's UEFA Champions League 2008 Finals pre-game show.[8]

Smith has also tried his hand at acting. He had a minor role as a desk clerk in The Dead Connection (1994) and a more significant role as a professor in 2000's The Private Public.[9]

See also


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas "Tears for Fears". Allmusic.
  2. ^ Anderson, Linda " talks to: CURT SMITH".
  3. ^ Hasty, Katie. "Tears For Fears' Smith Goes 'Halfway' Solo" Billboard. 14 March 2008
  4. ^ Parkins, Cameron. "Curt Smith Releases “Halfway, Pleased”" Creative Commons blog 22 May 2008,
  5. ^ Hotel Chatter. ”'Tears for Fears' Curt Smith Performing at Standard Hollywood" 26 January 2009
  6. ^ Curt Smith Official Website [1] "More Fun on Sunset!"], 16 February 2009
  7. ^ Casagrande, Reggie. "Indie Dad Profile: Curt, Diva and Wilder". Lipstick Tracez. May 2008.
  8. ^ CSRN. "Champions Soccer Radio Network - Curt Smith - Tears for Fears". Champions Soccer Radio Network. May 22, 2008.
  9. ^

External links

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