Tears for Fears - Working Hour: Introduction to Tears for Fears -  Amazon.com Music

The Working Hour – Tears for Fears

Album: Songs from the Big Chair

Written by: Roland Orzabal, Manny Elias, Ian Stanley

Time: 6:31

This is a song that is never played on the radio, and likely never was. Granted today with being able to grab single songs and setting or building playlists, it is much easier to listen to this one. This is good music for music’s sake, as it is not a 3-minute pop friendly format. But what it does have is a cool intro and a cool saxophone solo.

The lyrics were written by Roland Orzabal and express a frustration – because he was tired of people telling him what to do. Some of the lyrics being “This is the working hour we are paid by those who learn by our mistakes”

The song opens with a 2-minute introduction sound scape. Almost dreamily for some parts, a fast-paced beat for others, then a solid bit of piano. Two minutes and change of lyrics and a long closing with more saxophone.

Curt Smith (the other half of Tears for Fears) and Orzabal say that this is generally their most requested song to be played at concerts, but it has rarely been recorded live. The best live version is likely one that was recorded in 2014 for Spotify Landmarks that you can find on YouTube.

A small aside on live music – in my experience with live music it is either pure garbage or completely awesome. There is never a song that is meh live. I am sure others differ on this.

Both say that this is their favorite song off of “Songs from the Big Chair”, even though that album has the hits – “Shout”, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, and “Head over Heels”.

This was almost the title of the album but was vetoed to use the title of the B side to “Shout” – “the Big Chair”, they later used this as the title to their compilation album released in 2001.

I described my last pick as “ticket music”, this I would call introspective music. Maybe it is the saxophone and the piano that are not commonly used in songs.


  1. Interesting pick. Assuredly not one that is remembered by many, but a fine track off one of the 80s best albums. Listening to it again, it does sound very “80s”… but I don’t think that’s a bad thing or an insult.
    On the live music – I tend to think it’s usually about the experience. More often than not concerts may sound great when you’re there and be fun but if you hear the recording, it’s less than you remember or less than the studio originals. But there are some exceptions to the rule of course.

  2. I had an ex that bought this album when it came out. I vaguely remember hearing this and I am loving the re-visit. I miss saxophones and good piano pieces in music. Foreigner, Hall & Oates, Quarterflash, Billy Joel, Springsteen, Bob Seger…oh, dear… Looks I need to re-write my upcoming post. 🤔🤨

  3. I’ve always liked what I heard from Tears for Fears, and this song is new to me but no exception.
    It’s an enjoyable listen, and a bonus that it’s longer than pop-friendly length.

  4. Nice pick. I mostly know Tears For Fears based on their hits. “Shout” was a huge party song when I was in high school back in Germany. As a huge Beatles fan, perhaps it’s not a surprise that “Sowing the Seeds of Love” is my favorite Tears For Fears song. I had not heard “The Working Hour.” It’s a nice tune.

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