Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is a song by English pop rock band Tears for Fears. It was written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley, and Chris Hughes and produced by Hughes. The song was first released on 18 March 1985 by Phonogram, Mercury, and Vertigo Records as the third single from the band’s second album, Songs from the Big Chair (1985).
“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is a new wave song with lyrics that detail the desire humans have for control and power and centre on themes of corruption.
The song’s lyrics detail the desire humans have for control and power. In 2017, Tal Rosenberg of Pitchfork stated that its lyrics could be applied in different scenarios such as the environment (“Turn your back on mother nature”), short-lived financial success (“Help me make the most of freedom and of pleasure/Nothing ever lasts forever”), dictatorial rule (“Even while we sleep/We will find you”), and the Cold War (“Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down”).
The group revisited the song and its message in an interview with Yahoo! Music, stating that the song’s themes were still “just as poignant” as they were when they first wrote it. They mentioned that they discussed the Cold War with “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and Songs from the Big Chair but that was the “U.S. and Russia then, and now the concern is more with the U.S. and [North] Korea.”
Marc Ambinder from The Atlantic used the lyrics “Say that you’ll never, never, never need it / One headline, why believe it? / Everybody wants to rule the world” in his article about the United States government’s use of “original classified authority” and the abuse of power between the branches of government. Commons