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"Pale Shelter" is a song by the Britishmarker band Tears for Fears. 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.


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.



Shortly after signing a contract with Mercury Records, a Mike Howlett produced version of the song became the band's second single release. While it gained some club play, the single was ultimately a failure in the UK charts. In 1983, after the success of singles "Mad World" and "Change", "Pale Shelter" was given another shot as a single to promote the recently released LP The Hurting. 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 mix as a single, complete with a new picture sleeve. The release was a modest success, denting the UK Top 75.

Song versions

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, 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 Canadamarker. 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.

Music video

The promotional music video for "Pale Shelter" was filmed in early 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USAmarker. The video is notable for a scene in which Orzabal and Smith walk on the tarmac of an airport towards an image of a giant iron burn, with steam coming off the image as they walk over it. It was also notable for a scene in which they walk headfirst into a sea of flying paper airplanes, with one of them hitting Orzabal directly in the eye. The video was directed by music video pioneer Steve Barron.

Track listings

7": Mercury / IDEA2
  1. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)" (3:55)
  2. "The Prisoner" (2:40)

12": Mercury / IDEA212
  1. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love) [Extended]" (6:25)
  2. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love)" (3:55)
  3. "The Prisoner" (2:40)

7": Mercury / IDEA5 / 812 108-7
  1. "Pale Shelter [Album Version]" (4:08)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)

12": Mercury / IDEA512 / 812 108-1
  1. "Pale Shelter [New Extended Version]" (6:41)
  2. "Pale Shelter [Album Version]" (4:14)
  3. "We Are Broken" (4:03)

7": Vertigo / SOV 2328
  1. "Pale Shelter [Canadian Single Version]" (3:57)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)

2x7": Vertigo / SOVD 2328
  1. "Pale Shelter [Canadian Single Version]" (3:57)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)
  3. "Mad World [World Remix]" (3:30)
  4. "Ideas As Opiates [Single Version]" (3:54)

12": Vertigo / SOVX 2328
  1. "Pale Shelter (You Don't Give Me Love) [Extended]" (6:25)
  2. "We Are Broken" (4:03)

Picture sleeves

Image:TFF_Pale_Shelter_YDGML.jpg|     Original 1982 ReleaseImage:TFF_Pale_Shelter_Blue.jpg|     1983 Reissue
     Blue Vinyl
Image:TFF_Pale_Shelter_Grey.jpg|     1983 Reissue
     Grey Variation
Image:TFF_Pale_Shelter_YDGML1985.jpg|     1985 Reissue

Chart positions

Year Chart Position
1982 UK Singles Chart #193
1983 UK Singles Chart #5
1983 Canadian Singles Chart #15
1983 German Singles Chart #25
1983 Irish Singles Chart #5
1985 UK Singles Chart #73

Other appearances

"Pale Shelter" has been covered by the following artists:

In addition, Tears for Fears bassist Curt Smith included a reworking of the song on his solo EP Aeroplane (2000).

The song is featured in the 2002 PlayStation 2 videogame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as part of the playlist of new wave radio station Wave 103.

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