The Cure

  • New wave band originating in 1978 from Crawley England. There have been many band members – founder Robert Smith has been the constant member (frontman, vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards). Other band members during their late 80s/early 90s peak were Porl Thompson (guitar, keyboards, saxophone), Simon Gallup (bass guitar, keyboards), Boris Williams (drums, percussion), Lol Tolhurst (keyboards, drum machine) and Roger O’Donnell (keyboards). Smith was the principal songwriter, though the songs generally were attributed to all band members.
  • Smith, Tolhurst and 3 others were middle school classmates that formed a band in 1973 called Obelisk. Over the next 4 years, various musicians came and went, as the group changed names to Malice, and then to Easy Cure. In 1977, Easy Cure won a talent contest, receiving a recording contract with a German label. They recorded songs for the label, but nothing was released. By March 1978, the label dropped them. The following month, down to only 3 members (Smith, Tolhurst and bassist Michael Dempsey), Smith renamed the band The Cure. They cut a demo tape that found its way to a record label and they were signed in September 1978.
  • Playing songs that had a punk/new wave sound, they released their first single, Killing an Arab, in December, and their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, was released in early 1979. To support the album, they toured with Sioxsie and the Banshees, and during the tour, the guitarist for the Banshees quit, and Smith did double duty, performing with both The Cure and the Banshees for the rest of the tour. The experience changed Smith’s vision of The Cure, and they moved to a gothic rock sound. Dempsey left, not happy with the new direction, and he was replaced with Gallup.
  • Their next 3 albums – Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography, released from 1980 to 1982 – firmly established them as gothic rock pioneers. Not yet established in the U.S., the albums were top 20 on the UK album charts. The songs were dark and moody, and the singles were not radio friendly, so they still waited for their breakthrough, though in true goth-spirit, they didn’t seem to care.
  • With their future uncertain, they decided to reinvent themselves, moving a bit toward an alt rock pop sound. They released The Top in 1984 and The Head On the Door in 1985. Fans in Europe liked the new sound, and they also charted in the US for the first time – though singles still could not crack the U.S. charts. 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me sold over 1 million copies in the U.S., but they still struggled with singles. For this album, membership in The Cure expanded to 5 musicians, as a full time guitarist and keyboardist were added.
  • Finally, The Cure had their breakthrough in 1989, with their eighth studio album, Disintegration. While the album was a return to their goth rock sound, 2 singles were huge hits in the U.S., with Fascination Street topping the Modern Rock Tracks chart, and Lovesong reaching #2 on both the Modern Rock chart and the Hot 100 chart. The success of these songs increased interest in The Cure’s previous music – a compilation album released in 1986 titled Standing On the Beach began to sell, and eventually the album was certified 2x platinum, as did Disintegration.
  • Their highest charting album was their next release, 1992’s Wish. It topped the UK charts, and reached #2 in the U.S. The singles Friday I’m In Love and A Letter to Elise peaked at #1 and #2 respectively on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album kept their gothic rock feel, with a touch of pop, making it appealing to alt rock fans.
  • More personnel changes occurred over the next few years, which delayed the recording of the next album, Wild Mood Swings, which was finally released in 1996. It was not well received, and the singles from the albums were only modestly successful. Three albums released in the 00s managed to chart with a couple of singles creeping onto the Alternative Songs chart – The End of the World peaking at #19 and The Only One reaching #31 (though it did reach #1 in Spain!).
  • The Cure continues to perform, and a new album is in the works – if/when it is released, it will be their first studio album since 2008. Surprisingly, The Cure was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019 – while eligible since 2004, they had only been nominated once before, in 2012. While not as commercially successful as many artists in the HoF, they were recognized for their contributions in developing goth rock and post-punk alt rock. Personally, Lovesong is one of my faves from the 90s – appealing to my alt rock nature! Here’s the video – an odd video for sure, I hope they did not pay the director a lot of money for this!

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