Pale Shelter

Album: The Hurting (1983)
Charted: 5
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Written by lead singer Roland Orzabal, this song is about being disappointed in a relationship. It was originally released as a single in March 1982 under the title "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)," and failed to chart. It was re-released in April 1983 as the third single (After "Mad World" and "Change") taken from the debut album The Hurting. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    David - Gosport, England
  • Although Orzabal wrote the tune, it's sung by fellow Tears for Fears vocalist Curt Smith. Deciding which of the two leads would sing a particular song often came down to tone of voice. Smith told The Quietus in 2013: "If it's a softer song it's normally me. If it requires being belted, it's normally Roland. My voice is a lot darker, a lot more melancholic, and Roland is more of a shouter. He's trying to make a point. Which is very loud. So those are the differences in our voices, basically. 'Mad World' and 'Pale Shelter' and 'Change,' even though they're pop songs, wanted to be more melancholic and softer, and that's my voice."
  • In the liner notes for the 1999 re-release of The Hurting, OrzabaI explained the tune is "kind of a love song, though more referring to one's parents than to a girl."
  • Orzabel on how the song came together: "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."
  • In 2013, the clothing store H&M used this in a commercial to promote their winter collection.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Shandroise De Laeken from Davao City, PhilippinesI like this one! I understand why it was not a hit but I definitely like it. Roland's voice is so smooth~ and the intro sounds something like an a--ha song but this song precedes a-ha! ; )
see more comments

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.

Francis Rossi of Status QuoSongwriter Interviews

Doubt led to drive for Francis, who still isn't sure why one of Status Quo's biggest hits is so beloved.

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie CombinationSong Writing

In 1986, a Stephen King novella was made into a movie, with a classic song serving as title, soundtrack and tone.

"Stairway To Heaven" Lawsuit: A TimelineSong Writing

Untangling the events that led to the "Stairway To Heaven" lawsuit.

Sam PhillipsSongwriter Interviews

Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind - Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.

Phone Booth SongsSong Writing

Phone booths are nearly extinct, but they provided storylines for some of the most profound songs of the pre-cell phone era.