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"Woman in Chains" is a song by the English band Tears for Fears, released as the second single from their 1989 album The Seeds of Love.

"Woman in Chains"
Single by Tears for Fears featuring Oleta Adams
from the album The Seeds of Love
  • "Always in the Past"
  • "My Life In The Suicide Ranks"
  • "Ghost Papa" (1992 rerelease)
Released6 November 1989
Format7", 12", CDS
GenreSoft rock, pop rock
LabelFontana Records
Songwriter(s)Roland Orzabal
Tears for Fears featuring Oleta Adams singles chronology
"Sowing the Seeds of Love"
"Woman in Chains"
"Advice for the Young at Heart"

"Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)"

""Woman in Chains"

"Break It Down Again"

It was an international success, reaching the Top 40 in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Belgium,[1] Ireland, Italy and New Zealand, and the Top 20 in Canada (just missing the Top 10, at number 11), France, the Netherlands and in Poland (where it was particularly successful, reaching number five).[2]

The studio cut features Phil Collins on drums. "Tears for Fears just wanted me to do that big drum thing from 'In the Air Tonight'…" Collins recalled. "'We want you to come in here in a big way.'"[3]

The song prominently features vocals by Oleta Adams, who went on to achieve a successful solo career. It was re-released in 1992 – with a different B-side and now credited to "Tears For Fears featuring Oleta Adams" – to capitalise on the singer's solo success and to promote the Tears for Fears compilation Tears Roll Down (Greatest Hits 82–92). This time, it reached number 57 in the UK.



"Woman in Chains" was recorded as a duet. Orzabal explained the impetus for the lyric to Melody Maker: "I was reading some feminist literature at the time and I discovered that there are societies in the world still in existence today that are non-patriarchal. They don't have the man at the top and the women at the bottom. They're matricentric — they have the woman at the centre and these societies are a lot less violent, a lot less greedy and there's generally less animosity... but the song is also about how men traditionally play down the feminine side of their characters and how both men and women suffer for it.... I think men in a patriarchal society are sold down the river a bit — okay, maybe we're told that we're in control but there are also a hell of a lot of things that we miss out on, which women are allowed to be".

The song was sampled in the S.A.S. single "So Free" featuring Cam'ron and on Uneasy Listening Vol. 1 by DJ Z-Trip and DJ P. It also appears on the soundtrack of the 1993 film Boxing Helena.

Music videoEdit

The video, directed by Andy Morahan,[4] was filmed in black and white. It focuses on the abusive relationship between a man (a boxer) and a woman (a pole-dancer, played by Angela Alvarado); interspersed with shots of the band and guest vocalist Oleta Adams performing the song. It also features Chris Hughes playing the drums.




  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Ellen, Mark (30 October 2015). "Does Everybody Still Hate Phil Collins?*". Classic Rock. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  4. ^ Garcia, Alex S. " - Tears For Fears - "Woman in chains"". Music Video DataBase. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  5. ^ " – Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  6. ^ " – Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6671." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Eurochart Top 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 6 no. 49. 9 December 1989. p. IV. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 22 October 2018 – via American Radio History.
  9. ^ " – Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  10. ^ " – Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Woman in Chains". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Tears for Fears" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  13. ^ " – Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  14. ^ " – Tears for Fears – Woman in Chains". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Tears for Fears Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. Vol. 53 no. 6. 22 December 1990. ISSN 0315-5994. Retrieved 30 October 2018 – via Library and Archives Canada.

External linksEdit