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Watch Rick Beato break down Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Tears For Fears, 1985
(Image credit: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

We’re big fans of Rick Beato’s What Makes This Song Great? series on YouTube, where the musical polymath unpicks the songwriting, production and music theory techniques and approaches used in some of the biggest songs of all time. 

In his most recent instalment, having previously broken-down Head Over Heels, Rick Beato has turned his hand to Tears For Fears’ 1985 worldwide smasher, Everybody Wants to Rule The World. The song was the third single from the band’s second album, Songs from the Big Chair.

During the video, Beato shows how the song’s main progression turns what could have been be a simple, two-chord groove into something more interesting thanks to the choice of chord voicings, percussive guitar, and doubled guitar/vocal parts.

With the isolated tracks on-hand, Beato gives us an insight into the none-more-80s chorused guitar sound, and the textural layering and weaving between the modulated clean guitars, vocals and synth sounds.

The video also points out the masterful simplicity of the song's form, as well as revealing some of the overlooked production elements and choices made - for example waiting for the bridge section until the first vocal harmonies are heard. 

Tears for Fears recently released their first new album in 17 years with The Tipping Point. Roland Orzabal recently told us how Songs From the Big Chair saw the band push the guitars further towards the front of the band’s sound.

“My favourite guitarists are probably David Byrne and Paul Weller. I love anyone who can hit an open chord and make it sing…

“As we progressed, we were going out on tour and we were playing guitars because that was our chosen way of expressing ourselves. They became more and more to the forefront. 

“There was a push after The Hurting and into [Songs from the] Big Chair to really ramp it up. I mean, there are crazy guitar solos all of a sudden; we were playing rock guitar solos! We would never have done that on the album before."

Meanwhile, these days Orzabal has swapped his Strat for a hollowbody Gibson 330, while choosing to keep production largely in the box - including his guitar sounds. 

When asked what gear he’d need to create a Tears For Fears record now, he answered, “It would be a couple of guitars, a laptop – obviously – with Logic. I use Logic, with all the plugins, and a keyboard controller. That would be a necessary thing. And the guitars, again, that would be plugging straight into the computer, using all the amp models, which I swear by. 

“[Tears For Fears collaborator, Charlton Pettus] is a bit more of a purist in that regard so we end up using another amp modeller that is this big and sits on the desk! [Laughs] 

“But he thinks it sounds better so, y’know… I’m not sure. But most of the guitars on No Small Thing, they are going straight into Native Instruments.”

Tears For Fears, The Tipping Point (opens in new tab) is out now via Concord Records

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.