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"Pale Shelter"

1983 re-release
Single by Tears for Fears
from the album The Hurting
B-side "The Prisoner" (1982)
"We Are Broken" (1983)
Released March 1982
April 18, 1983
August 26, 1985
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1982
Genre New Wave
Length various
Label Phonogram Records
Writer(s) Roland Orzabal
Producer Mike Howlett (1982)
Chris Hughes, Ross Cullum (1983)
Tears for Fears singles chronology
"Suffer the Children"
"Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)
"Mad World"


"Pale Shelter (second release)

"The Way You Are"

"Suffer the Children (second release)"

"Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)
(third release)

"I Believe (A Soulful Re-Recording)"

"Pale Shelter" is a song by the British band Tears for Fears. Written by Roland Orzabal and sung by bassist Curt Smith, it was originally the band's second single release in early 1982 - called at that time "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)" - but would not find chart success until a reissue (with a different mix) the following year. It eventually became the third hit taken from their debut LP The Hurting (1983) and third UK Top 5 chart hit, peaking at number 5. As with the previous two singles, the song also reached the Top 40 in several other countries.



One of Tears for Fears' oldest songs, "Pale Shelter" (along with "Suffer the Children") was originally recorded for the duo's first demo tape in 1981. The title of the song is a reference to "Pale Shelter Scene", a 1941 drawing by British sculptor Henry Moore.

Sometimes I can't finish a song but I've learned to leave it alone for a couple of weeks in such cases. For instance, for our second single 'Pale Shelter' I kept playing two chords for weeks and weeks, then one morning I woke up and sang the tune and the words, just like that. Then another day I was flicking through an art book and came across 'Pale Shelter' by Henry Moore, so that wrapped up everything nicely.
Roland Orzabal


It's a kind of a love song, though more referring to one's parents than to a girl.
Roland Orzabal


Shortly after signing a contract with Mercury Records, a Mike Howlett produced version of the song became the band's second single release. While it gained some club play, the single was ultimately a failure in the UK charts. In 1983, after the success of singles "Mad World" and "Change", "Pale Shelter" was given another shot as a single to promote the recently released LP The Hurting. To provide a chart push the second time around, Mercury took full advantage of the picture disc and coloured vinyl gimmicks that were popular throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. In all, eleven different variations of the reissued single were available for purchase. Aided by this and the duo's coinciding British concerts (at many of which the song was played twice), the single finally became a chart success.

In 1985, following up on the massive success of the band's second LP Songs from the Big Chair, Mercury reissued the original mix as a single, complete with a new picture sleeve. The release was a modest success, denting the UK Top 75.

Song versions

There are two distinct recordings of "Pale Shelter": the original single version produced by Mike Howlett (subtitled "You Don't Give Me Love"), and the album re-recording produced by Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum, which itself was later released as a single. Both versions open with a sample played in reverse; on the original, it is an extra lyric spoken by Orzabal, while on the album cut, it is a brief piano lick. Likewise, there are two distinct 12" extended mixes of the song.

The oddity known as the 'Canadian Single Version' was released in 1983 to promote The Hurting in Canada. Instead of using the Hughes/Cullum recording found on the album itself, the record company instead released a unique edit of the original Mike Howlett- produced extended version.


"The Prisoner", which backs the first "Pale Shelter" release, is an early version of the song that would later appear on the duo's debut LP The Hurting.

"We Are Broken", which backs the reissue, is an earlier version of the song "Broken", which would later appear on Tears for Fears' second album Songs from the Big Chair.

Music video

The promotional music video for "Pale Shelter" was filmed in early 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA. The video is notable for a scene in which Orzabal and Smith walk on the tarmac of an airport towards an image of a giant iron burn, with steam coming off the image as they walk over it. It was also notable for a scene in which they walk headfirst into a sea of flying paper airplanes, with one of them hitting Orzabal directly in the eye. The video was directed by music video pioneer Steve Barron.

Track listings

7": Mercury / IDEA2 United Kingdom
  1. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)" (3:55)
  2. "The Prisoner" (2:40)
12": Mercury / IDEA212 United Kingdom
  1. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love) [Extended]" (6:25)
  2. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)" (3:55)
  3. "The Prisoner" (2:40)
7": Mercury / IDEA5 United Kingdom Republic of Ireland/ 812 108-7 Australia Europe
  1. "Pale Shelter [Album Version]" (4:08)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)
12": Mercury / IDEA512 United Kingdom / 812 108-1 Europe
  1. "Pale Shelter [New Extended Version]" (6:41)
  2. "Pale Shelter [Album Version]" (4:14)
  3. "We Are Broken" (4:03)
7": Vertigo / SOV 2328 Canada
  1. "Pale Shelter [Canadian Single Version]" (3:57)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)
2x7": Vertigo / SOVD 2328 Canada
  1. "Pale Shelter [Canadian Single Version]" (3:57)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)
  3. "Mad World [World Remix]" (3:30)
  4. "Ideas As Opiates [Single Version]" (3:54)
12": Vertigo / SOVX 2328 Canada
  1. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love) [Extended]" (6:25)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)

Picture sleeves

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1982 UK Singles Chart #193
1983 UK Singles Chart #5
1983 Canadian Singles Chart #15
1983 German Singles Chart #25
1983 Irish Singles Chart #5
1985 UK Singles Chart #73

Other appearances

"Pale Shelter" has been covered by the following artists:

  • German electropop act Codename Sugar, on his album Losing It (2003).
  • British indie artist Flo, on her album Travelling Light (2006).

In addition, Tears for Fears bassist Curt Smith included a reworking of the song on his solo EP Aeroplane (2000).

The song is featured in the 2002 PlayStation 2 videogame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as part of the playlist of new wave radio station Wave 103.



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