Suffer The Children

Album: The Hurting (1981)
Charted: 52
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Songfacts®:

  • This was the debut single from the English synthpop duo Tears For Fears, who first released it to a lukewarm reception in 1981 and re-recorded it for their debut album, The Hurting, in 1983. It wasn't re-released as a single, however, for two more years, after the success of the group's follow-up album, Songs From The Big Chair. Unlike the original, the reworked version managed to make the charts, peaking at #52 in the UK.
  • Written and sung by Tears For Fears' Roland Orzabal, this is a wake-up call to parents who are emotionally neglecting their children. At the time, Orzabal and Smith were proponents of primal therapy, created by psychologist Arthur Janov, who took the nurture stance on the nature vs. nurture debate. He believed that children were born as blank slates and all of their traits, including their fears, were a result of their upbringing. "We were really big on this at the time," Orzabal explained in the liner notes of the 1999 remastered album. "We really thought that children were born innocent and good and holy… When you've got kids of your own you realize how bloody difficult it is. But it's that kind of thing – saying look at what you're doing with your child."
  • Orzabal's wife, Caroline, provided the childlike vocal in the bridge.

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