Graduate, with Tears for Fears founders Roland Orzabal (pictured bottom left) and Curt Smith (at the top left).
If you are a child of the 80s the English band Tears for Fears and the slew of monster hits that they put out during the decade probably still randomly get stuck in your head from time to time. I mean the minute you hear the twinkling notes that open 1985’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” your mind is probably transported back to images of the video for the song that was seemingly on infinite repeat on MTV. Even if 80s cable TV wasn’t the stomping ground of your youth, the likelihood that you know a few numbers from the Tears for Fears catalog is still highly probable. However, what if I told you that before Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal ruled the world by way of ridiculously catchy pop music, they were in a new wave ska band called Graduate with Orzabal on vocals? I’m pretty sure most people would have a deep, contemplative moment of “huh?” and then would want to see and hear proof. And if that’s what you want then today is your lucky day, rude boys and girls because I’ve got footage of Graduate performing on a Spanish television show in 1980 about a year before the duo became Tears for Fears.
Below is footage of Graduate performing three different songs, “Acting My Age,” “Bad Dreams,” and the insanely catchy “Elvis Should Play Ska” which is a bouncy homage to Elvis Costello, not the American guy. The band would put out only one album in 1980 with Pye Records (which was home to The Kinks and Status Quo in the 60s and early 70s), Acting My Age. A second record was shelved after both Orzabal and Smith left the band, but everything the band did during their short time together can be found on a remaster of Acting My Age from 2001 that also includes other rarities. I have to say that whenever Orzabal and the band get going with their special brand of “skanking,” I don’t ever want it to stop. Vinyl copies of Graduate’s debut record are rare and even a sealed compact disc of Acting My Age I found on eBay was listed at $199.99, just in case you were curious. Lastly, if you never got to see Tears for Fears back in the day, the band is currently on tour with Hall and Oates.
The fantastic cover of ‘Acting My Age.’
“Elvis Should Play Ska.”
“Acting My Age.”
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘This Is Ska’: hi-energy documentary on Jamaican dance music from 1964
Ska, Ska, Ska: The Specials, Selecter & Bad Manners: Cool photos of the bands & their fans 1979-80