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Nothing to Fear is the second studio album by American new wave band Oingo Boingo, released in 1982 on A&M Records.

Nothing to Fear
Nothing To Fear Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJune 22, 1982
RecordedNovember 1981-January 1982
GenreNew wave, synth pop, experimental
ProducerJoe Chiccarelli and Oingo Boingo
Oingo Boingo chronology
Only a Lad
Nothing to Fear
Good for Your Soul
Singles from Nothing to Fear
  1. "Private Life"
    Released: June 1982
  2. "Grey Matter / Nothing to Fear"
    Released: 1982



Nothing to Fear possesses a more hard-edged sound than the band's previous releases, featuring louder electric guitar and percussion, an increased and more varied use of synthesizers and the introduction of sequencers on some tracks. The songs also feature an unorthodox range of instruments, some of which were designed and built by the band.

Initial vinyl pressings of the album contain a different mix of the song "Private Life," featuring more prominent bass guitar and xylophone. The single version, which was subsequently used on all re-releases of the album, is 27 seconds shorter than the initial album mix, truncating the transition into the chorus, among other alterations.[1] The song's release was accompanied by a music video, directed by Danny Elfman's brother Richard Elfman, founder of The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.


Despite continuous condemnation from critics, Nothing to Fear received high regional sales and radio airplay at the time of its release, selling 125,000 copies in its original run.[citation needed] Elfman often used the negativity of critics to the band's advantage through publicity, stating: "The music [the critics] like is inspirationless and contrived. If we start getting praise from this clique of six or eight reviewers, we'd probably have to evaluate where we went astray."[citation needed]

Following the album's release, the band went on a successful tour opening for bands such as The Police and Fear. The song "Wild Sex (In the Working Class)" was later featured in the John Hughes film Sixteen Candles.[2]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written by Danny Elfman.

1."Grey Matter"5:50
3."Private Life" (3:45 on earliest pressings)3:18
4."Wild Sex (in the Working Class)"4:06
5."Running on a Treadmill"3:20
6."Whole Day Off"3:54
7."Nothing to Fear (But Fear Itself)"3:52
8."Why'd We Come"3:57
10."Reptiles and Samurai"5:23
Total length:41:34


Oingo Boingo

  • Danny Elfman – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Steve Bartek – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Richard Gibbs – keyboards, synthesizers, backing vocals
  • Kerry Hatch – bass, synth bass, key rhythm vocal, backing vocals
  • Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez – drums
  • Sam "Sluggo" Phipps- tenor and soprano saxophone, spoken words on "Reptiles and Samurai"
  • Leon Schneiderman – baritone and alto saxophone
  • Dale Turner – trumpet, trombone
  • The inner sleeve notes from Nothing to Fear state: "All the boys bang things: Rumba-phones, original instruments designed and built by Leon Schneiderman."

Additional personnel

  • Steve Bartek – horn arrangements
  • Joe Chiccarelli – engineer
  • Krohn McHenry – second recording engineer
  • Mitch Gibson – second mixing engineer
  • Jules Bates (artrouble) – back cover and sleeve, art direction
  • Laura Engel – production assistant
  • Georganne Deen – front cover


  1. ^ "Oingo Boingo - Private Life (RARE EXTENDED VERSION)". YouTube. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Sixteen Candles (1984)". IMDb. Retrieved 29 September 2014.