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Raoul and the Kings of Spain

Raoul and the Kings of Spain is the fifth studio album by the British pop-rock band Tears for Fears, released on 10 October 1995. Like the band's previous album, Elemental (1993), it is essentially a solo effort by Roland Orzabal—neither album being made with the involvement of Curt Smith, who had left the band at that time.

Raoul and the Kings of Spain
Tears for Fears - Raoul.jpg
Studio album by
Released10 October 1995
Recorded1993–1994 at Neptune's Kitchen (England) and Record Plant (Los Angeles, CA, USA).
GenreNew wave, pop rock
Cherry Pop (2009 reissue)
ProducerTim Palmer
Roland Orzabal
Alan Griffiths
Tears for Fears chronology
Raoul and the Kings of Spain
Saturnine Martial & Lunatic
Singles from Raoul and the Kings of Spain
  1. "Raoul and the Kings of Spain"
    Released: 25 September 1995
  2. "God's Mistake"
    Released: October 1995 (US)/17 June 1996 (UK)
  3. "Secrets"
    Released: January 1996 (US)
  4. "Falling Down"
    Released: February 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic1.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyC[2]


The album, according to Orzabal, has a recurring theme of familial relationships and delves into his own Spanish heritage. The album's title was mooted as far back as the 1980s as a possible contender for the band's third album (which ultimately became The Seeds of Love). Raoul was originally Orzabal's first name given at birth before being anglicized by his parents to Roland (Orzabal later gave the name "Raoul" to his first son, born in 1991).

The album was originally scheduled to be released by Mercury Records but the project was cancelled after Tears For Fears left the label to sign with Sony/Epic Records. The album was eventually released by Sony in October 1995 with a slightly different track listing and new cover art.

The album peaked at #41 in the UK and #79 in the US, but was more successful in continental Europe, reaching #23 in Italy, #13 in Belgium (Wallonia)[3] and #5 in France. It was poorly received by critics, with much of the criticism directed at Orzabal's lyrics, which Tom Demalon of Allmusic described as "either inscrutable or embarrassingly silly". He also described some of the album's musical arrangements as "genuinely pretty, if unexciting".

The album features a reunion with Oleta Adams, who had recorded and toured extensively with the band for The Seeds of Love album, and here duets with Orzabal on the track "Me and My Big Ideas".

The front cover photo titled, Running Them In At Pamplona, is by Jose Galle and is a depiction of the annual "Running of the Bulls" festival held in Pamplona in Spain. Several inner sleeve photographs were by David Tack, taken from his book Impressions Of Spain published by Quartet (the Bullfighter On Horseback on page 4 is Rafael Peralta, a renowned Spanish Rejoneador bullfighter). Inner sleeve photos of Roland Orzabal were taken by Pamela Springsteen, shot at the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, California, where the promo video for "Raoul and the Kings of Spain" was filmed.

The album was re-released in August 2009 by Cherry Pop Records,[4] complete with seven bonus tracks (see below).

Track listingEdit

1995 release (Sony/Epic Records)
1."Raoul and the Kings of Spain"
  • Roland Orzabal
  • Alan Griffiths
2."Falling Down"Orzabal4:56
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
4."God's Mistake"
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
5."Sketches of Pain"Orzabal4:21
6."Los Reyes Católicos"
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
8."Humdrum and Humble"
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
9."I Choose You"Orzabal3:26
10."Don't Drink the Water"
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
11."Me and My Big Ideas"
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths
12."Los Reyes Católicos (Reprise)"
  • Orzabal
  • Griffiths


  • Due to the band's label switch to Sony in 1994, none of the B-sides from the album's singles (tracks 13-17 on the 2009 reissue) are included on the Tears for Fears B-sides collection Saturnine Martial & Lunatic, which was released in 1996 by Phonogram/Mercury, the band's old record company.


Tears for Fears

Additional personnel


  • Producers – Tim Palmer (Tracks 1-7, 10, 11 & 12); Roland Orzabal and Alan Griffiths (Tracks 8 & 9).
  • Engineer – Mark O'Donoughue
  • Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering (Portland, ME).
  • Album Coordinators – Jason Geake and Philippa Sprigg
  • Design – Gail Marowitz
  • Front Cover Photo – Jose Galle
  • Inner Sleeve Photos – David Tack and Pamela Springsteen
  • Management – Debra Baum, Whirlwind Entertainment Group Inc.


Chart Position
UK 41
BELGIUM (Wallona) 13
US (Billboard Top 200) 79


Year Single Chart Position
1995 "Raoul and the Kings of Spain" UK Singles Chart 31
1996 "God's Mistake" UK Singles Chart 62