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Saturday Deluxe / 8 April 2017


Alan (far left) in The Escape in 1982

Alan Griffiths

SDE is sad to report that guitarist, songwriter and producer Alan Griffiths has died aged just 57.

In his younger days Alan formed Bristol bands Apartment and The Escape and in the 1990s would go on to work with Roland Orzabal on two Tears For Fears albums, Elemental from 1993 and 1995’s Raoul and the Kings of Spain (he also played guitar on the Songs From The Big Chair tour).

These weren’t the hit-packed years of the 1980s (although first single Break It Down Again did well) but Griffiths’ contribution to the Tears For Fears story is rather unsung. As well as being a multi-instrumentalist and co-producer, he co-wrote 18 songs with Roland across those two albums. To put that into context, Curt Smith co-penned just two songs across the band’s first three albums.

In later years, Alan had a successful career producing music for TV and films, notably for the ‘CSI’ franchise in America.


Alan co-wrote nine of the 10 tracks on 1993’s Tears For Fears album Elemental

In a moving Facebook post Tim Palmer (who co-produced Elemental) described Alan as “a super, kind, gentle and extremely talented musician and songwriter” and “pivotal in the making of that album“.

I interviewed Roland a few years ago and we discussed the Elemental album in some depth. He spoke very warmly of his time working with Alan and last week remembered him on twitter as “beautiful man” and a “close friend“.

There’s plenty of great songs from Elemental and Raoul and the Kings of Spain, but in this instance the Orzabal/Griffiths composition Goodnight Song, seems the most appropriate to sign off with. RIP Alan Griffiths.


Fleetwood Mac / Tango in the Night super deluxe edition box set

SDE ChartWatch

Impressive stuff from Fleetwood Mac‘s Tango in the Night as the reissue enters the UK Physical Album chart at number 14 – the highest charting archival release. It’s number 23 on the ‘proper’ album chart, which of course takes into account downloads and streaming. This compares to Macca at number 41 last week with Flowers in the Dirt (which was #29 on the physical chart). That reissue has now disappeared completely from both charts.

The Beatles / Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / Stereo Vinyl RemasterBetter news for McCartney, is that his work with his ‘old band‘ is doing okay, as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band re-enters the physical album chart at number 62. This isn’t the newly announced reissue of course – which isn’t out until 26 May – but the fact that there was so much publicity in the UK this week around the impending 50th anniversary combined with the album being a staple in British supermarkets that stock vinyl, has undoubtedly helped it vault up the charts.

Neil Diamond‘s three-CD 50th anniversary set only manages to enter at number 71, which might mean that this is one greatest hits to many for hardcore fans and two CDs more than casual fans want! Warner’s other big reissue this week was The Doors‘ debut album, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. It’s new in at 85 on the physical album chart which isn’t overly impressive. Like the Fleetwood Mac reissue fans are ‘forced’ to buy vinyl as part of the super deluxe package, which may have dented sales. Granted, the same issue exists for the top-of-the-range Tango in the Night, but there was far more pent up demand for that reissue, which probably explains why it’s 71 places higher in the chart.

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33 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 8 April 2017

  1. Michael khalsa says:

    I love your site Paul What tracks did Curt Smith write for Tears For Fears? He has such a sweet voice. I got the Tears Roll Down compilation. I was surprised to find the tracks from Seeds Of Love album were Amoung the stand outs for me. A friend says the title track was similar to I believe he said I am the walrus. I would also like to sincerely apologize to you when I directed venom your way. I was wrong. Please accept my sincere apology.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Curt co-wrote “Head Over Heels’ from Big Chair and “Sowing The Seeds of Love” from The Seeds of Love. He didn’t write anything on The Hurting, but also co-wrote various B-sides and the non-album single The Way You Are. Not sure what you are referring to re “venom” but apology accepted!

  2. As one of the UK’s top selling albums of the eighties and one of the top 100 selling albums of all time in the UK, Tango in the Night was always going to easily outperform reissues by McCartney and The Doors. I thought you were going to do a video review for it?

  3. DaveM says:

    Must say that the Tango remaster is superb and so are the extras. Surprised at the The Doors not performing better. I had cancelled my preorder for it due to Macca expenses, but picked it up yesterday in HMV Leeds and coincidentally the person in front of me in the queue was buying it as well. So two more sales there!

  4. Trash says:

    RIP Alan Griffiths. I will have to check out Apartment and The Escape as I really love Elemental (in some ways it is almost my favourite TFF album – it is certainly a toss up between Elemental and SFTBC). Raoul is also a very very decent album and both of them are testament to Alan’s songwriting in partnership with Roland.

    I would love to see an expanded reissue of Elemental.
    @Paul: Is the interview you mention (where you discuss Elemental with Roland) on this site somewhere? You didn’t post a link so I presume not.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The interview isn’t on the site actually. I was commissioned by Universal to interview Roland for an Elemental reissue which is queued up behind Seeds!

      • Jon says:

        I really hope the reissue of Elemental happens…for me it’s the best TFF album…”Fish Out of Water” is my all time favorite TFF song…Alan was extremely talented.

      • Graham says:

        Is Raoul queued up behind Elemental???

      • Chris Squires says:

        You must absolutely hate your life Paul. Being forced to do what you love for a living….
        I pity you.

        Here’s hoping for a quiet week and a chance to actually listen to some of the music I have bought these last few months, roll on Easter!

        • mike says:

          Love Cold from Elemental, such biting lyrics..

          • Trash says:

            @Mike – Actually I think Fish Out of Water tops Cold for biting lyrics, especially when you consider that they were directed at Curt. Roland doing a “How do You Sleep?”.

      • Trash says:

        Aces! That is good news although Seeds seems to have been forever delayed (or is it waiting for the new TFF to be released)?

        I will be interested to see what bonus material they ship with Elemental. There are some great B-sides:
        – Schrodinger’s Cat
        – Lord of Karma
        – Bloodletting Go
        – Deja Vu & The Sins Of Science
        – Break It Down Again (Karaoke Version)

        But no remixes or extended versions from what I recall.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          There was a remix of Elemental on some US CD I seem to remember…

          • Neil says:

            Elemental (Sons of August Mix) was on the French CD single of Goodnight Song. There is a US CD single 858 499-2 with live versions of Dog’s A Best Friend’s Dog and Elemental. I feel the last two tracks on this album are absolutely stunning Brian Wilson Said and Goodnight Song.

      • Ryan says:

        I just hope that Universal can finally get “The Seeds of Love” reissue out this year so that way they can reissue “Elemental” next year for its 25th anniversary.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          That would be a play…

        • Trash says:

          @Neil – Yes indeed the last two tracks are particularly strong in a strong album of songs.
          I will have to and locate that French CD single of Goodnight song as I think I have all the other contemporaneous tracks.
          Thanks for the heads up!

  5. Eamonn says:

    Surely any chart entry for a reissue is a result given that the Album charts are primarily made up of “current” LP’s and compilations. Reissued deluxe/super-deluxe albums will always be niche-ier though their burgeoning popularity in the last few years is now evident with regular appearances, albeit low down, in the charts.

  6. richie says:

    `tis sad news about Alan Griffiths, should any of his friends & family read this I`d like to say he was an extremely talented musician and songwriter, I didn`t know him but what I knew of him was all good and positive. Yes sad news.

  7. Tim says:

    Lovely piece about Mr Griffiths Paul; the number of songs he co-wrote versus Curt is astonishing…I had no idea! I really liked both Elemental and Raoul so look forward to deluxe editions of both…at some point in the next decade.

  8. Steve Marine says:

    ELEMENTAL reissue?!?!?! Yeeeeeessssssssssssss!!!!!!! This is great news! Thank you! I was worried that the amazing reissues would stop after SEEDS OF LOVE.

  9. Daniel ( from Berlin ) says:

    i bought the “deluxe edition” of “tango in the night” and i’m very happy
    to have all the 12” mixes in good quality now – plus the beautiful “book of miracles”.
    one of the demos ( “special kind of love” )
    i really like. also the “alternate mix” of “isn’t it midnight” ( yet another mix – not the same as
    the “alternate edit mix” from “the chain” box set ).
    but the rest of the demos are not so good to my mind.
    i have 10 more demos from “tango” bootlegs and they are sadly missing.
    most of all: the beautifil christine demo of “you and I”: “..if you will love me today…”
    i think they hold back the rest of the demos for a “super deluxe edition”….

  10. Steve Lewis says:

    I ran Virgin Music (Publishers) in the 80s and published Tears For Fears. I was introduced to Alan by Debra Baum, their manager, when Alan began writing with Roland and we made a publishing deal. Alan was an absolute delight to work with as well as being a very talented writer and musician. So sad to lose him so young.

  11. Chris Squires says:

    As an aside: Is it true that ELO have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? If so well done Jeff, Bev, Richard Mik, Kelly and I guess Roy et. al. The Brum boys done good.

  12. Don says:

    Godspeed to Alan Griffiths. His contributions to those TFF albums were massive.

  13. HalloweenJack says:

    An “Elemental” reissue?!?! How exciting!!!
    The second disc in my collection consists of the following…

    2-01 Elemental [Edit]
    2-02 New Star
    2-03 Deja-Vu & the Sins of Science
    2-04 Bloodletting Go
    2-05 Schrodinger’s Cat
    2-06 Break It Down Again [Acoustic Version]
    2-07 Elemental [Sons Of August Mix]
    2-08 Dog’s A Best Friend’s Dog [Live at Wembley Arena, London, UK, December 14th, 1993]
    2-09 Elemental [Live at Wembley Arena, London, UK, December 14th, 1993]
    2-10 Break It Down Again [Karaoke Version]

    * be great to have the full Wembley gig as an added bonus disc!

    ** RIP Alan Griffiths, who also co-wrote “Out Of Control” with Roland, Curt, and Charlton Pettus which appeared as a bonus track on the UK, Italian and French releases of 2004’s “Everybody Loves A Happy Ending”

  14. Shawn says:

    Absolutely love “Elemental.” My second fave TFF album behind “Seeds of Love.” “Goodnight Song” is beautiful. Can’t wait for the reissue – didn’t know it was in the works.

  15. Congrats Paul, you’re one of the few who’s honoured Alan Griffiths. (Though I may be allowed to say that I miss mention of Roland’s solo album “Tomcats Screaming Outside” and Emiliana Torrini’s “Love in the Time of Science” produced by Orzabal/Griffiths!)

    I’ve always felt that “Raoul and the Kings of Spain” in particular deserved far more attention, a truly timeless album that flows almost from beginning to end with no weak moments whatsoever. Also featuring loads of guitars shattering the idea of TFF as a “synth” band.

    Of course, it’s the experimental b-sides like “Schrödinger’s Cat” and “The Madness of Roland” where Roland and Alan really cut loose. They were a great team.

    RIP Alan.

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