The Synth Sounds of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"

In the last episodes of the new season of our "The Synth Sounds of..." series, William Kurk has examined and replicated the classic tones of Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" and Hall & Oates' "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)." This week, William is back in the studio to dig into Tears for Fears' seminal track "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," from their 1985 album, Songs From The Big Chair.

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" represented the zenith of the new wave group's chart success, peaking at number two in the UK and remaining at number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for two solid weeks. Since its release, the song has continued to permeate popular culture and is often used in film and television soundtracks—notably, Lorde covered the song in 2012 for The Hunger Games.

The steadily pulsating bassline that grounds the track was played on a now-elusive synth called the PPG Wave, which was made in three variations from 1981 to 1987. To approximate the low resonance and metallic thickness of the tone, we're using the Arturia Prophet VS' wavetable (vector oscillator) feature. (See below for details on a Reverb Exclusive Arturia sale.)

Unique to this song, particularly, is the way that the drum part was constructed. Instead of following in the footsteps of most of their contemporaries, who used a single drum machine for a song's drum part, Tears for Fears put together a piecemeal kit using a lot of different instruments.

It was comprised of a slightly pitched snare sound from their song "Shout," shakers and auxiliary percussion from the famous LinnDrum, and the kick from the original Fairlight CMI. We used sounds from Reverb's LinnDrum Sample Pack and the Fairlight CMI V from Arturia—all of which we put into Ableton Live 10 to recreate the drum loop.

Tears for Fears used the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 to record "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," but as with his lesson on The Synth Sounds of Talking Heads, William is using a new Prophet-6 to create the brassy keyboard line. William then turned the filter cutoff up on the Prophet-6 for the song's bigger and brighter-sounding keyboard part.

Be sure to watch the full video above, and check back next week for the next episode of "The Synth Sounds Of..."

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Arturia Sale: Now through the end of our "The Synth Sounds Of..." series on May 15, U.S. customers can get a Reverb Exclusive discount on the Arturia software synths used in our videos. Use promo code REVERBSOUNDS at checkout for 33% off the Arturia Prophet V and 20% off the Arturia V Collection 6.


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