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.
- 2 Meaning
- 3 Releases
- 4 Song versions
- 5 B-sides
- 6 Music video
- 7 Track listings
- 8 Picture sleeves
- 9 Chart positions
- 10 Other appearances
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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.
It's a kind of a love song, though more referring to one's parents than to a girl.
Shortly after signing a contract with Mercury Records, a Mike Howlett-produced version of the song became the band's second single release, appearing in 1982. While it gained some club play, the single was ultimately a failure in the UK charts.
The song was completely re-recorded for the band's debut album The Hurting, in a new version produced by Chris Hughes and Ross Cullum. In 1983, after the success of singles "Mad World" and "Change", "Pale Shelter" was given another shot as a single, albeit this time using the new Hughes/Cullum recording. 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 Howlett-produced version of "Pale Shelter" as a single, complete with a new picture sleeve. The release was a modest success, denting the UK Top 75.
The original UK single release from 1982 erroneously credits both Orzabal and Smith as co-writers of the A-side and the B-side ("The Prisoner") although this was not the case. All of the tracks that appear on The Hurting were written solely by Orzabal, as stated in the album's credits, and the 1983 release of "Pale Shelter" also credits him alone.
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 ("The sickness in the system is an amplification of the sickness in the individual"), 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.
The promotional music video for "Pale Shelter" was directed by Steve Barron in early 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA. The video, which features a live alligator in a swimming pool, is notable for a scene in which Orzabal and Smith walk into a sea of flying paper aeroplanes, with one of them hitting Orzabal directly in the eye. The video has been included on various Tears For Fears video collections, including 1983's The Videosingles and 1992's Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82-92).