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Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Tears For Fears
Songs From The Big Chair

Song Meaning of Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears For Fears, and what it is about

A huge melody and well-timed geopolitical theme, it was the band’s first Number One, and the song came out in 1985.

“Back when we were doing … ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World,’ we were really discussing the Cold War,” said band member Curt Smith.

“We argued with the American record company about releasing it as a single.”

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" is sang by English pop rock band Tears for Fears from their second studio album Songs from the Big Chair in 1985.

The song is a new wave and synth-popsong with lyrics that detail the desire humans have for control and power and centre on themes of corruption.

"The song was a "last-minute" addition during recording sessions of Songs from the Big Chair.

The decision to include the song in the album came after Orzabal played two chords on his acoustic guitar for Hughes.

It was recorded in two weeks and added as the final track on the album. According to Orzabal, the final line in the song's chorus, originally written as "Everybody wants to go to war", contributed to his indifference towards the track.

In an interview with Mix magazine, Hughes said that "as a piece of recording history, [the song is] bland as hell".

Orzabal's unimpressed reaction to the track during their songwriting sessions prompted Hughes to convince him to record it, in a calculated effort to garner American chart success.

After completing their sessions at 6 p.m., they would spend an hour reviewing each recording many times; this helped Orzabal to create the song's guitar figure and change its title.

Orzabal acknowledged that the shuffle beat used in the song was "alien" to their way of writing music, stating it was "jolly rather than square and rigid in the manner of "Shout", but it continued the process of becoming more extrovert."

Curt Smith, the song's lead singer, said the themes were "quite serious – it's about everybody wanting power, about warfare and the misery it causes."

According to Joe Strummer of The Clash in a 1988 interview, he was in a restaurant and saw Orzabal, whereupon he told him that "you owe me a fiver", explaining that the title of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was an exact lift of the first line of the middle eight in "Charlie Don't Surf".

According to Strummer, Orzabal simply reached into his pocket and gave him a five pound note, confirming that this had been the case.

The song's lyrics detail the desire humans have for control and power.

A writer for The Economist called the track "a Cold War anthem" and noted its "timeless message", stating that "the song's lyrics speak to the anxieties of every age.

The song was an international success, the song peaked at number two in Ireland, Australia, and the United Kingdom and at number one in Canada, New Zealand, and on both the US Billboard Hot 100.

Lyrics of Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears For Fears

Welcome to your life

There's no turning back

Even while we sleep

We will find you


Acting on your best behaviour

Turn your back on mother nature

Everybody wants to rule the world


It's my own design

It's my own remorse

Help me to decide

Help me make the most


Of freedom and of pleasure

Nothing ever lasts forever

Everybody wants to rule the world


There's a room where the light won't find you

Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down

When they do I'll be right behind you


So glad we've almost made it

So sad they had to fade it

Everybody wants to rule the world


I can't stand this indecision

Married with a lack of vision

Everybody wants to rule the world

Say that you'll never never never never need it

One headline why believe it?

Everybody wants to rule the world


All for freedom and for pleasure

Nothing ever lasts forever

Everybody wants to rule the world

Release Date



Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley, Chris Hughes


Chris Hughes


Phonogram, Mercury, Vertigo

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