The Cure

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The Cure
The Cure Live in Singapore 2- 1st August 2007.jpg
The Cure performing in August 2007. From left to right: Porl Thompson, Jason Cooper, Robert Smith and Simon Gallup.
Background information
Origin Crawley, England
Years active1978–present
Associated acts
Past members

The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley in 1976. The group has experienced continuous line-up changes over its lifespan, with vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. The band's debut album was Three Imaginary Boys (1979) and this, along with several early singles, placed the band in the post-punk and new wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rock revolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s the band's increasingly dark and tormented music, as well as Smith's stage look, was a staple of the emerging style of music known as gothic rock.

Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily from the genres of blues, rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.

Crawley Town & Borough in England

Crawley is a large town and borough in West Sussex, England. It is 28 miles (45 km) south of Charing Cross (London), 18 miles (29 km) north of Brighton and Hove, and 32 miles (51 km) north-east of the county town of Chichester. Crawley covers an area of 17.36 square miles (44.96 km2) and had a population of 106,597 at the time of the 2011 Census.

Robert Smith (singer) English singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter

Robert James Smith is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is the lead singer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, primary songwriter, and only continuous member of the rock band the Cure, which he co-founded in 1976. He was also the lead guitarist for the band Siouxsie and the Banshees from 1982 to 1984, and was part of the short-lived group the Glove in 1983. He is known for his distinctive voice, guitar-playing style and stage look, the latter two of which were influential on the goth subculture that rose to prominence in the 1980s. Smith was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Cure in 2019.


Following the release of the album Pornography in 1982, the band's future was uncertain. Smith was keen to move past the gloomy reputation his band had acquired, introducing a greater pop sensibility into the band's music. Songs such as "Let's Go to Bed" (1982), "Just Like Heaven" (1987), "Lovesong" (1989) and "Friday I'm in Love" (1992) aided the band in receiving commercial popularity. The band have released 13 studio albums, two EPs and over 30 singles to date. As of March 2019, the band are in the process of recording their fourteenth studio album which they hope to have released by the end of the year. [1] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. [2]

<i>Pornography</i> (album) 1982 studio album by The Cure

Pornography is the fourth studio album by British gothic rock band the Cure, released on 4 May 1982 by the record label Fiction. Preceded by the non-album single "Charlotte Sometimes" late the previous year, Pornography was the band's first album with a new producer, Phil Thornalley, and was recorded at RAK Studios from January to April. The sessions saw the group on the brink of collapse, with heavy drug use, band in-fighting and group leader Robert Smith's depression fuelling the album's musical and lyrical content. Pornography represents the conclusion of the group's early dark, gloomy musical phase which began with Seventeen Seconds in 1980.

Pop music is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s. The terms "popular music" and "pop music" are often used interchangeably, although the former describes all music that is popular and includes many diverse styles. "Pop" and "rock" were roughly synonymous terms until the late 1960s, when they became increasingly differentiated from each other.

Lets Go to Bed (The Cure song) 1982 single by The Cure

"Let's Go to Bed" is a song by English rock band the Cure, released as a stand-alone single by Fiction Records in November 1982. In the aftermath of the dark Pornography, Robert Smith returned from a month-long detox in the Lake District to write the song, the antithesis to what the Cure currently represented. It was later included on the album Japanese Whispers.


1973–1979: Formation and early years

The founding members of the Cure were school friends at Notre Dame Middle School in Crawley, West Sussex, [3] whose first public performance was at an end-of-year show in April 1973 as members of a one-off school band called Obelisk. [4] That band consisted of Robert Smith on piano, Michael "Mick" Dempsey on guitar, Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst on percussion, Marc Ceccagno on lead guitar and Alan Hill on bass guitar. [4] In January 1976 while at St Wilfrid's Comprehensive School Ceccagno formed a 5-piece rock band with Smith on guitar and Dempsey on bass, along with two other school friends. [5] They called themselves Malice and rehearsed David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Alex Harvey songs in a local church hall. [6] By late April 1976, Ceccagno and the other two school friends had left, and Tolhurst (drums), Martin Creasy (vocals), and Porl Thompson (guitar) had joined the band. [7] This lineup played all three of Malice's only documented live shows during December 1976. In January 1977, following Martin Creasy's departure, and increasingly influenced by the emergence of punk rock, Malice's remaining members became known as Easy Cure after a song written by drummer Laurence Tolhurst. [8] [9]

Michael Stephen Dempsey is a British bassist from England, who has performed as a member of several post-punk and new wave bands including The Cure and Associates.

Lol Tolhurst British drummer and keyboardist

Laurence Andrew "Lol" Tolhurst is a founding member and the former drummer and keyboardist of English band The Cure. He left the Cure in 1989 and was later involved in the band Presence and his current project, Levinhurst. In 2011, he was temporarily reunited with the Cure for a number of shows playing the band's earlier work.

St Wilfrids Catholic School, Crawley

St Wilfrid's Catholic School is a voluntary aided comprehensive Catholic secondary school in Crawley, West Sussex, England for pupils aged 11 to 18. It caters for 936 pupils in years 7 to 13, including 181 in its sixth form.

During March 1977, Easy Cure hired and fired a vocalist known only as Gary X, who by April had been replaced by Peter O'Toole (not the actor).[ citation needed ] This lineup gave their first live performance on 24 April at Saint Edward's Hall, Crawley, Sussex, England. On 5 May, Easy Cure made the first of many regular live appearances at the Crawley pub then known as The Rocket. Within the same month, the band recorded a demo in Robert's parents' house, entered and won a talent contest, and signed a recording contract with German record label Ariola-Hansa on 18 May. [5] In September, Peter O'Toole left the group to live on a kibbutz in Israel. Both Malice and Easy Cure auditioned several vocalists before Smith assumed the role of Easy Cure's frontman in September 1977. [10] The new fourpiece of Robert, Porl, Michael, and Laurence recorded their first studio demo sessions as Easy Cure for Hansa at SAV Studios in London between October and November 1977. [11]

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Demo (music) song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release

A demo is a song or group of songs recorded for limited circulation or reference use rather than for general public release. A demo is a way for a musician to approximate their ideas in a fixed format, such as cassette tape, compact disc, or digital audio files, and to thereby pass along those ideas to record labels, producers, or other artists.

That year, Easy Cure won a talent competition with German label Hansa Records, and received a recording contract. Although the band recorded tracks for the company, none were ever released. [12]

Hansa Records was a record label founded in the 1960s based in West Berlin, West Germany.

A recording contract is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist, where the artist makes a record for the label to sell and promote. Artists under contract are normally only allowed to record for that label exclusively; guest appearances on other artists' records will carry a notice "By courtesy of ", and that label may receive a percentage of sales.

They continued to perform regularly around Crawley (including The Rocket, St Edward's, and Queen's Square in particular) throughout 1977 and 1978. On 19 February 1978 they were joined at The Rocket for the first time by a support band from Horley called Lockjaw, featuring bassist Simon Gallup. [13] Hansa was dissatisfied with the group's demos and did not wish to release "Killing an Arab". The label suggested that the band attempt cover versions instead. They refused, and by March 1978 Easy Cure's contract with the label had been dissolved. [14] Smith later recalled, "We were very young. They just thought they could turn us into a teen group. They actually wanted us to do cover versions and we always refused." [12]

Horley town in Surrey, England

Horley is a town in the borough of Reigate and Banstead in Surrey, England south of the towns of Reigate and Redhill. The county border with West Sussex is to the south with Crawley and Gatwick Airport close to the town. With fast links by train round-the-clock to London from Horley railway station, it qualifies as a commuter town and has a significant economy of its own, including business parks and a relatively long high street.

Simon Gallup British musician

Simon Jonathan Gallup is an English musician and bassist of the alternative rock band The Cure.

Killing an Arab original song composed by Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Michael Dempsey, words by Robert Smith

"Killing an Arab" is the first single by The Cure. It was recorded at the same time as their first LP in the UK, Three Imaginary Boys (1979), but not included on the album. However, it was included on the band's first US album, Boys Don't Cry (1980).

On 22 April 1978, Easy Cure played their last gig at the Montefiore Institute Hall (in the Three Bridges neighbourhood of Crawley) [15] before guitarist Porl Thompson was dropped from the lineup because his lead guitar style was at odds with Smith's growing preference for minimalist songwriting; [16] the remaining trio were soon renamed "The Cure" by Smith. [17] Later that month, the band recorded their first sessions as a trio at Chestnut Studios in Sussex, which were distributed as a demo tape to a dozen major record labels. [18] The demo found its way to Polydor Records scout Chris Parry, who signed the Cure to his newly formed Fiction label—distributed by Polydor—in September 1978. [19] The Cure released their debut single "Killing an Arab" in December 1978 on the Small Wonder label as a stopgap until Fiction finalised distribution arrangements with Polydor. "Killing an Arab" garnered both acclaim and controversy: while the single's provocative title led to accusations of racism, the song is actually based on French existentialist Albert Camus's novel The Stranger . [20] The band placed a sticker label that denied the racist connotations on the single's 1979 reissue on Fiction. An early NME article on the band wrote that the Cure "are like a breath of fresh suburban air on the capital's smog-ridden pub-and-club circuit", and noted, "With a John Peel session and more extensive London gigging on their immediate agenda, it remains to be seen whether the Cure can retain their refreshing joie de vivre." [21]

The Cure released their debut album Three Imaginary Boys in May 1979. Because of the band's inexperience in the studio, Parry and engineer Mike Hedges took control of the recording. [22] The band, particularly Smith, were unhappy with the album; in a 1987 interview, he admitted, "a lot of it was very superficial – I didn't even like it at the time. There were criticisms made that it was very lightweight, and I thought they were justified. Even when we'd made it, I wanted to do something that I thought had more substance to it". [23] The band's second single, "Boys Don't Cry", was released in June. The Cure then embarked as the support band for Siouxsie and the Banshees' Join Hands promotional tour of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales between August and October. The tour saw Smith pull double duty each night by performing with the Cure and as the guitarist with the Banshees when John McKay quit the group in Aberdeen. [24] That musical experience had a strong impact on him: "On stage that first night with the Banshees, I was blown away by how powerful I felt playing that kind of music. It was so different to what we were doing with the Cure. Before that, I'd wanted us to be like the Buzzcocks or Elvis Costello; the punk Beatles. Being a Banshee really changed my attitude to what I was doing." [25]

The Cure's third single, "Jumping Someone Else's Train", was released in early October 1979. Soon afterwards, Dempsey was dropped from the band because of his cold reception to material Smith had written for the upcoming album. [26] Dempsey joined the Associates, while Simon Gallup (bass) and Matthieu Hartley (keyboards) from the Magspies joined the Cure. The Associates toured as support band for the Cure and the Passions on the Future Pastimes Tour of England between November and December—all three bands were on the Fiction Records roster—with the new Cure line-up already performing a number of new songs for the projected second album. [27] Meanwhile, a spin-off band comprising Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey, Gallup, Hartley, and Thompson, with backing vocals from assorted family and friends and lead vocals provided by their local postman Frankie Bell, released a 7-inch single in December under the name of Cult Hero. [28]

1980–1982: Early gothic phase

Due to the band's lack of creative control on the first album, Smith exerted a greater influence on the recording of the Cure's second album Seventeen Seconds , which he co-produced with Mike Hedges. [29] The album was released in 1980 and reached number 20 on the UK charts. A single from the album, "A Forest", became the band's first UK hit single, reaching number 31 on the singles chart. [30] The album was a departure from the Cure's sound up to that point, with Hedges describing it as "morose, atmospheric, very different to Three Imaginary Boys." [31] In its review of Seventeen Seconds the NME said, "For a group as young as the Cure, it seems amazing that they have covered so much territory in such a brief time." [32] At the same time, Smith was pressed concerning the concept of an alleged "anti-image". [33] Smith told the press he was fed up with the anti-image association that some considered to be "elaborately disguising their plainness", stating, "We had to get away from that anti-image thing, which we didn't even create in the first place. And it seemed like we were trying to be more obscure. We just didn't like the standard rock thing. The whole thing really got out of hand." [34] That same year Three Imaginary Boys was repackaged for the American market as Boys Don't Cry , with new artwork and a modified track list. The Cure set out on their first world tour to promote both releases. At the end of the tour, Matthieu Hartley left the band. Hartley said, "I realised that the group was heading towards suicidal, sombre music—the sort of thing that didn't interest me at all." [35] In a 1981 interview with the Dutch magazine Muziekexpress, Smith also stated about Hartley's departure: "About half a year ago we took Matthieu as a 4th member of the Cure because we would give a particular mood to our music with a synthesizer. However, Matthieu was always frustrated on stage because he thought the role of the keyboard which we had in mind was too little. So he did more keyboard-parts. And that was what frustrated us again. We want to use other instruments again for the next album. We have also recorded some songs in which I play keyboard, but we don't already know what is going to happen "live". Besides it will be very difficult to find someone who can fill up the now-empty place. It's not that it's very difficult for us to like or dislike him or her, but it will be difficult for them to feel in place with us in the band." [36]

The band reconvened with Hedges to produce their third album, Faith (1981), which furthered the dour mood present on Seventeen Seconds. [37] The album peaked at number 14 on the UK charts. [30] Included with cassette copies of Faith was an instrumental soundtrack for Carnage Visors , an animated film shown in place of an opening act for the band's 1981 Picture Tour. [38] In late 1981 the Cure released the non-album single "Charlotte Sometimes". By this point, the sombre mood of the music had a profound effect on the attitude of the band. The band would refuse requests for older songs in concert, and sometimes Smith would be so absorbed by the persona he projected onstage he would leave at the end in tears. [39]

In 1982 the Cure recorded and released Pornography , the third and final album of an "oppressively dispirited" trio that cemented the Cure's stature as purveyors of the emerging gothic rock genre. [40] Smith has said that during the recording of Pornography he was "undergoing a lot of mental stress. But it had nothing to do with the group, it just had to do with what I was like, my age and things. I think I got to my worst round about Pornography. Looking back and getting other people's opinions of what went on, I was a pretty monstrous sort of person at that time". [23] Gallup described the album by saying, "Nihilism took over [...] We sang 'It doesn't matter if we all die' and that is exactly what we thought at the time." [41] Parry was concerned that the album did not have a hit song for radio play and instructed Smith and producer Phil Thornalley to polish the track "The Hanging Garden" for release as a single. [42] Despite the concerns about the album's uncommercial sound, Pornography became the band's first UK Top 10 album, charting at number eight. [30] The release of Pornography was followed by the Fourteen Explicit Moments tour, where the band finally dropped the anti-image angle and first adopted their signature look of big, towering hair and smeared lipstick on their faces. [43] The tour also saw a series of incidents that prompted Simon Gallup to leave the Cure at the tour's conclusion. Gallup and Smith did not talk to each other for eighteen months following his departure. [44]

1983–1986: Early commercial success

With Gallup's departure from the Cure and Smith's work with Siouxsie and the Banshees, rumours spread that the Cure had broken up. In December 1982, Smith remarked to Melody Maker , "Do the Cure really exist any more? I've been pondering that question myself [...] it has got to a point where I don't fancy working in that format again." He added, "Whatever happens, it won't be me, Laurence and Simon together any more. I know that." [45]

Parry was concerned at the state of his label's top band, and became convinced that the solution was for the Cure to reinvent its musical style. Parry managed to convince Smith and Tolhurst of the idea; Parry said, "It appealed to Robert because he wanted to destroy the Cure anyway." [46] With Tolhurst now playing keyboards instead of drums, the duo released the single "Let's Go to Bed" in late 1982. While Smith wrote the single as a throwaway, "stupid" pop song to the press, [47] it became a minor hit in the UK, reaching number 44 on the singles chart, [30] but entered the Top 20 in Australia and New Zealand. It was followed in 1983 by two more successful songs: the synthesiser-based "The Walk" (number 12), and "The Love Cats", which became the band's first British Top 10 hit, reaching number seven. [48] [30] The group released these studio singles and their B-sides as the compilation album Japanese Whispers , designed by Smith for the Japanese market only, but released worldwide on the decision of the record company. The same year, Smith also recorded and toured with Siouxsie and the Banshees, contributing as guitarist on their Nocturne live album and video and their Hyæna studio album. Meanwhile, he recorded the Blue Sunshine album with Banshees bassist Steven Severin as the Glove, while Lol Tolhurst produced the first two singles and debut album of the English band And Also the Trees.

Smith in 1985. Robert-smith-cure-miyako-np.jpg
Smith in 1985.

In 1984, the Cure released The Top , a generally psychedelic album on which Smith played most of the instruments except the drums—played by Andy Anderson—and the saxophone—played by returnee Porl Thompson. The album was a Top 10 hit in the UK, and was their first studio album to break the Billboard 200 in the US, reaching number 180. [30] [49] Melody Maker praised the album as "psychedelia that can't be dated", while pondering, "I've yet to meet anyone who can tell me why the Cure are having hits now of all times." [50] The Cure then embarked on their worldwide Top Tour with Thompson, Anderson and producer-turned-bassist Phil Thornalley on board. Released in late 1984, the Cure's first live album, Concert consisted of performances from this tour. Near the tour's end, Anderson was fired for destroying a hotel room and was replaced by Boris Williams. [51] Thornalley also left because of the stress of touring. [52] However, the bassist slot was not vacant long, for a Cure roadie named Gary Biddles had brokered a reunion between Smith and former bassist Simon Gallup, who had been playing in the band Fools Dance. Soon after reconciling, Smith asked Gallup to rejoin the band. [53] Smith was ecstatic about Gallup's return and declared to Melody Maker, "It's a group again." [54]

In 1985, the new line-up of Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup, Thompson and Williams released The Head on the Door , an album that managed to bind together the optimistic and pessimistic aspects of the band's music between which they had previously shifted. [55] The Head on the Door reached number seven in the UK and was the band's first entry into American Top 75 at number 59, [30] [49] a success partly due to the international impact of the LP's two singles, "In Between Days" and "Close to Me". Following the album and world tour, the band released the singles compilation Standing on a Beach in three formats (each with a different track listing and a specific name) in 1986. This compilation made the US Top 50, [49] and saw the re-issue of three previous singles: "Boys Don't Cry" (in a new form), "Let's Go to Bed" and, later, "Charlotte Sometimes". This release was accompanied by a VHS and LaserDisc called Staring at the Sea, which featured videos for each track on the compilation. The Cure toured to support the compilation and released a live concert VHS of the show, filmed in the south of France called The Cure in Orange . During this time, the Cure became a very popular band in Europe (particularly in France, Germany and the Benelux countries) and increasingly popular in the US. [56]

1987–1993: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Disintegration, and worldwide success

In 1987, the Cure released the musically eclectic double LP Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me , which reached number six in the UK, the Top 10 in several countries [57] and was the band's first entry into the US Top 40 at number 35 (where it was certified platinum), [30] [49] [58] reflecting the band's rising mainstream popularity. The album's third single, "Just Like Heaven", was the band's most successful single to date in the US, being their first to enter the Billboard Top 40. [49] The album produced three other singles. After the album's release, the band embarked on a successful tour. During the European leg of the tour, Lol Tolhurst's alcohol consumption was interfering with his ability to perform, so the Psychedelic Furs keyboardist Roger O'Donnell was frequently called upon to stand in for him. [59]

In 1989, the Cure released the album Disintegration , which was critically praised and became their highest charting album to date, entering at number three in the UK and featuring three Top 30 singles in the UK and Germany: "Lullaby", "Lovesong" and "Pictures of You". [30] [60] Disintegration also reached number twelve on the US charts. [49] The first single stateside, "Fascination Street", reached number one on the American Modern Rock chart, but was quickly overshadowed when its third US single, "Lovesong", reached number two on the American pop charts (the only Cure single to reach the US Top 10). [49] By 1992, Disintegration had sold over three million copies worldwide. [61]

During the Disintegration sessions, the band gave Smith an ultimatum that either Tolhurst would have to leave the band or they would. [62] In February 1989, Tolhurst's exit was made official and announced to the press; [63] this resulted in Roger O'Donnell becoming a full-fledged member of the band and left Smith as the Cure's only remaining founding member. Smith attributed Tolhurst's dismissal to an inability to exert himself and issues with alcohol, concluding, "He was out of step with everything. It had just become detrimental to everything we'd do." [64] Because Tolhurst was still on the payroll during the recording of Disintegration, he is credited in the album's liner notes as playing "other instrument" (sic) and is listed as a co-writer of every song; however, it has since been revealed that while Tolhurst had contributed to the song "Homesick", [65] his contributions to the album were minimal as he was battling alcoholism during the recording of the album. [65] The Cure then embarked on a successful tour which saw the band playing stadiums in the US. On 6 September 1989, the Cure performed "Just Like Heaven" at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. [66]

In May 1990, Roger O'Donnell quit and was replaced with the band's guitar technician Perry Bamonte. That November, the Cure released a collection of remixes called Mixed Up . The one new song on the collection, "Never Enough", was released as a single. In 1991 the Cure were awarded the Brit Award for Best British Group. [67] That same year, Tolhurst filed a lawsuit against Smith and Fiction Records in 1991 over royalties payments, and claimed joint ownership of the name "the Cure" with Smith; the verdict was handed out in September 1994 in favour of Smith. In respite from the lawsuit, the band returned to the studio to record their next album. [68] Wish reached number one in the UK and number two in the US and yielded the international hits "High" and "Friday I'm in Love". [30] [49] The Cure also embarked on the "Wish Tour" with Cranes, and released the live albums Show (September 1993) and Paris (October 1993). As a promotional exercise with the Our Price music chain in the UK, a limited edition EP was released consisting of instrumental outtakes from the Wish sessions. Entitled Lost Wishes, the proceeds from the four-track cassette tape went to charity. In 1993, the band were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for Wish.

In the years between the release of Wish and the start of sessions for the Cure's next album, the band's line-up shifted again. Thompson left the band once more during 1993 to play with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, and Bamonte took over as lead guitarist. Boris Williams also left the band, and was replaced by Jason Cooper (formerly of My Life Story).

1994–1998: Period of transition

The sessions for the new album began in 1994 with only Smith and Bamonte present; the pair were later joined by Gallup (who was recovering from physical problems) and Roger O'Donnell, who had been asked to rejoin the band at the end of 1994. [69] The Cure performed "Burn" in the movie The Crow and "Dredd Song", the theme song of the 1995 movie Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone. It was not released on a Cure album until 2004 on Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities 1978–2001 (The Fiction Years) .

Wild Mood Swings , finally released in 1996, was poorly received compared with previous albums and marked the end of the band's commercial peak. [70] Early in 1996, the Cure played festivals in South America, followed by a world tour in support of the album. In 1997 the band released Galore , a compilation album containing all of the Cure's singles released between 1987 and 1997, as well as the new single "Wrong Number", which featured longtime David Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels. Gabrels also accompanied the Cure on a brief American radio festival tour as an onstage guest guitarist for "Wrong Number". In 1998, the Cure contributed to the soundtrack album for The X Files feature film as well as the Depeche Mode tribute album For the Masses with their cover of "World in My Eyes".

Another soundtrack appearance occurred with the song "Watching Me Fall" (later appearing in a different form on the Cure's next album, Bloodflowers), which was remixed by Underdog (of Massive Attack) for the 2000 American film American Psycho .

1999–2009: Later years

With only one album left in their record contract and with commercial response to Wild Mood Swings and the Galore compilation lacklustre, Smith once again considered that the end of the Cure might be near and thus wanted to make an album that reflected the more serious side of the band. [71] The Grammy-nominated album Bloodflowers was released in 2000 after being delayed since 1998. [72] According to Smith, the album was the third of a trilogy along with Pornography and Disintegration. [73] The band also embarked on the nine-month Dream Tour, attended by over one million people worldwide. In 2001, the Cure left Fiction and released their Greatest Hits album and DVD, which featured the music videos for a number of classic Cure songs. In 2002, the band headlined twelve major summer music festivals, and played three extended concerts (one in Brussels, two in Berlin) in which they performed the albums Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers in their respective entireties each night. The Berlin performances were released on DVD as The Cure: Trilogy in 2003.

In 2003, the Cure signed with Geffen Records. In 2004, they released a new four-disc boxed set on Fiction Records titled Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978–2001 (The Fiction Years). The compilation includes seventy Cure songs, some previously unreleased, and a 76-page full-colour book of photographs, history and quotes, packaged in a hard cover. The album peaked at number 106 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. [49] The band released their twelfth album The Cure on Geffen in 2004, which was produced by Ross Robinson. It made a top ten debut on both sides of the Atlantic in July 2004. [30] [49] To promote the album, the band headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that May. From 24 July to 29 August, the Cure headlined the Curiosa concert tour of North America. While attendances were lower than expected, Curiosa was still one of the more successful American summer festivals of 2004. [74] The same year the band was honoured with an MTV Icon award in a television special presented by Marilyn Manson. [75]

The Cure in concert in 2004. From left to right: Robert Smith, Jason Cooper and Simon Gallup. The Cure live 2004.jpg
The Cure in concert in 2004. From left to right: Robert Smith, Jason Cooper and Simon Gallup.

In May 2005, Roger O'Donnell and Perry Bamonte were fired from the band. O'Donnell claims Smith informed him he was reducing the band to a three-piece. Previously O'Donnell said he had only found out about the band's upcoming tour dates via a fan site and added, "It was sad to find out after nearly twenty years the way I did, but then I should have expected no less or more." [76] The remaining members of the band—Smith, Gallup and Cooper—made several appearances as a trio before it was announced in June that Porl Thompson would be returning for the band's 2005 Festival summer shows, as well as their set at Live 8 in Paris on 2 July. Later that year, the band recorded a cover of John Lennon's "Love" for Amnesty International's charity album Make Some Noise . It is available for download on the Amnesty website, while the album was released on CD in 2006. On 1 April 2006, the Cure appeared at the Royal Albert Hall on behalf of the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was their only show through to the end of the year. In December a live DVD, entitled The Cure: Festival 2005 , including thirty songs from their 2005 Festival tour, was released.

The Cure began writing and recording material for their thirteenth album in 2006. Smith initially stated it would be a double album. [77] The Cure announced a last-minute postponement of their autumn 2007 North American 4Tour in August to continue working on the album, rescheduling the dates for spring 2008. [78] The group released four singles and an EP—"The Only One", "Freakshow", "Sleep When I'm Dead", "The Perfect Boy" and Hypnagogic States respectively—on or near to the 13th of each month, in the months leading up to the album's release. Released in October 2008, 4:13 Dream was a commercial failure in the UK compared to their previous album releases, only staying in the charts two weeks and not peaking higher than number 33. In February 2009, the Cure received the 2009 Shockwaves NME Award for Godlike Genius. [79]

2010–present: Trilogy Tours and new album

Robert Smith performing at the Roskilde Festival in 2012. Robert Smith - The Cure - Roskilde Festival 2012 - Orange Stage.jpg
Robert Smith performing at the Roskilde Festival in 2012.

In 2011, the band played Three Imaginary Boys , Seventeen Seconds and Faith in their entirety during two shows in Sydney. These "Reflections" shows notably featured Roger O'Donnell and Lol Tolhurst, both in a keyboard and percussion role. Porl Thompson was absent from the performances. The shows were due to be released on DVD in 2012. The band later headlined Bestival, which they recorded and released as Bestival Live 2011 . Roger O'Donnell again joined the band on stage. On 11 September 2011, Roger O'Donnell announced on his Facebook page that he had officially rejoined the band. The band announced seven more Reflections shows, one in London, three in New York City and three in Los Angeles. [80] On 27 September, the Cure was announced as a nominee for 2012 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [81]

In NME's cover article for March 2012, the Cure announced that they would be headlining a series of summer music festivals across Europe, including the Leeds/Reading Festival. Smith said that the band were currently without a recording contract and that he had "absolutely no idea" when they would next record or release new material. "We've been going for so long that I don't feel that urge to capitalise on everything all the time. I mean we're headlining pretty much every major European festival and we won't have anything released." [82] [83] Subsequent media reports quoting directly from the same article suggested that the Cure had ruled out recording any new material altogether. [84] [85] [86]

On 1 May, following months of speculation, Porl Thompson, now going by the name of Pearl, confirmed via the Chain of Flowers blog that he would no longer be playing with the Cure, and apologised for upsetting fans with the decision. "[I] am working on a lot of new projects... jewelry, music, art and mixed media [...] paint still flows and my mind state is better than it has been for [a] long while." [87] On 26 May, the Cure embarked on a 19-date summer festival tour of Europe, commencing at the Pinkpop Festival, joined by former the Cure/COGASM collaborator Reeves Gabrels on guitar. On the same day, it was announced that Gabrels would be standing in for the tour, but at that point was not a fully-fledged member of the band. [88] [89] [90] Gabrels later revealed that Smith had emailed him at the end of April to ask if he was free over summer, saying that he missed "having a wingman" on guitar. Gabrels learned dozens of songs and hastened to England to begin rehearsals. Several weeks into the tour, the band invited Gabrels to become a member and he accepted. [91] The SummerCure tour, featuring a five-piece line-up of Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Roger O'Donnell, Jason Cooper and Reeves Gabrels, included headlining appearances at the 2012 Reading and Leeds Festivals, and concluded in Ireland on 1 September with a headline slot at the Electric Picnic. [92] [93] [94] After some shows in 2012 over Europe, and 2013 shows in Latin America which included an acclaimed return visit to Argentina [95] [96] after 26 years (and Robert Smith's revoked "oath" of never going back to play in that country), [97] [98] The Cure started The Great Circle Tour, headlining big festivals around North America and Asia.

The Cure paid tribute to Paul McCartney on the album titled The Art of McCartney , which was released on 18 November 2014. The Cure covered the Beatles' song "Hello, Goodbye" which featured guest vocals and keyboards from Paul's son, James McCartney. A video of the band and James performing the song was released on 9 September 2014 filmed at Brighton Electric Studio in Brighton. [99] Robert Smith also covered McCartney's "C Moon" on the album's bonus disc. [100]

In the summer of 2015 the Disintegration single "Plainsong" was featured in a humorous moment in the movie Ant-Man (film), but did not appear on the movie's soundtrack. [101] It was announced on 10 November 2015 that the Cure would embark on a 26 date North American tour in 2016 including their first shows in some cities in nearly a decade as well as cities in which the band had never before appeared. The press release promised "37 years of Cure songs, mixing hits, rarities, favorites, and as yet unreleased tracks in a brand new stage production". [102] Also in 2016 they played shows across Europe, ending with three concerts at London's Wembley Arena. Along the way they flew as well to Australia and New Zealand to perform. At a concert in New Orleans on 10 May 2016, the Cure played two new songs, "It Can Never Be The Same", and "Step Into The Light". [103] At a Montreal festival on 14 June 2016, the band performed Pornography for the first time since 2002. [104] [105]

In December 2017, it was announced that the Cure would perform a 40th anniversary concert at Hyde Park in London on 7 July 2018 as part of the British Summer Time concert series. [106] The event featured support performances by Interpol, Goldfrapp, Slowdive, the Twilight Sad, Ride and Editors. [107] Also 2018, Smith was the curator for the Meltdown Festival, which was held from 15 June to 24 June at London's Southbank Centre; the festival was Meltdown's 25th year running. The special show at "Robert Smith's Meltdown" by the five members of the Cure (Smith, Cooper, Gabrels, Gallup, O'Donnell) was billed as CURÆTION-25. [108]

For Record Store Day 2018, the Cure released a remastered, deluxe edition of Mixed Up , along with a sequel titled Torn Down featuring 16 new remixes all created by Robert Smith. [109] In April 2018, Robert Smith announced that the Cure would be heading into the studio to record a new album with plans to release it in 2019. "It's the 40th anniversary of the first album in 2019. I thought, if I don't have something out new that year, that's it for me," Smith said. [110]

In February 2019 it was announced that the Cure will embark on a twenty-three date tour from June through August consisting mostly of festival performances along with four dates in Sydney, Australia where the band will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Distintegration by performing the album in its entirety along with rarely or never performed outtakes from the album. The final Sydney show on 30 May was also live-streamed (and is currently still available) on YouTube. Smith hinted that the band might also perform the album in the United States at some point. [111] It was announced on 15 March that the Cure would headline the Glastonbury Festival in June, closing out the festival on Sunday 30 June. It would be their first set at Glastonbury since 1995, and their fourth appearance overall, tieing with Coldplay. [112]

In a 30 March interview with Rolling Stone , Smith commented on the band's next album saying, "For the first time in 20 years, we went into a studio—we actually went into the studio where they (Queen) did 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. The songs are like 10 minutes, 12 minutes long. We recorded 19 songs. So I have no idea what to do now. The others are saying, 'Triple album!' I'm saying, no let's not. I'll pick six or maybe eight songs and do like a single album. But I think it will delight our hardcore fans. And probably really, really infuriate everyone else. At my age, I'm still doom and gloom. We'll finish it before we start in the summer, and it'll be mixed through the summer. And then so release date, I don't know, October? Halloween! Come on!" [113] In an interview published on July 5 in NME, he noted that the band would be re-recording 3 or 4 songs in August 2019 but that, "I feel intent on it being a 2019 release and would be extremely bitter if it isn’t." [114]

The band will release their CURÆTION-25 concert at the 2018 Meltdown festival as a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray box-set titled CURÆTION-25: From There to Here on 18 October 2019. [115]

Musical style

The Cure are often identified with the gothic rock genre, and are viewed as one of the form's definitive bands. [116] [117] [118] However, the band has routinely rejected classification, particularly as a gothic rock band. Robert Smith said in 2006, "It's so pitiful when 'goth' is still tagged onto the name the Cure", and added, "We're not categorisable. I suppose we were post-punk when we came out, but in total it's impossible [...] I just play Cure music, whatever that is." [119] Smith has also expressed his distaste for gothic rock, describing it as "incredibly dull and monotonous. A dirge, really." [120] While typically viewed as producers of dark and gloomy music, the Cure have also yielded a number of upbeat songs and been part of the new wave movement. [121] Spin has said "the Cure have always been an either/or sort of band: either [...] Robert Smith is wallowing in gothic sadness or he's licking sticky-sweet cotton-candy pop off his lipstick-stained fingers." [122]

The Cure's primary musical traits have been listed as "dominant, melodic bass lines; whiny, strangulated vocals; and a lyric obsession with existential, almost literary despair." [123] Most Cure songs start with Smith and Gallup writing the drum parts and bass lines. Both record demos at home and then bring them into the studio for fine-tuning. [124] Smith said in 1992, "I think when people talk about the 'Cure sound', they mean songs based on six-string bass, acoustic guitar and my voice, plus the string sound from the Solina." [124] On top of this foundation is laid "towering layers of guitars and synthesisers". [125] Keyboards have been a component of the band's sound since Seventeen Seconds, and their importance increased with the instrument's extensive use on Disintegration. [126]

Music videos

The band's early music videos have been described as "dreadful affairs" and have been maligned for their poor quality, particularly by the band itself. Lol Tolhurst said, "Those videos were unmitigated disasters; we weren't actors and our personalities weren't coming across." [127] The video for "Let's Go to Bed" was their first collaboration with Tim Pope. The director added a playful element to the band's videos; the director insisted in a 1987 Spin interview, "I think that side of them was always there, but was never brought out." [23]

Pope would go on to direct the majority of the Cure's videos, which became synonymous with the band, and expanded their audience during the 1980s. [128] Pope explained the appeal of working with the Cure by saying, "the Cure is the ultimate band for a filmmaker to work with because Robert Smith really understands the camera. His songs are so cinematic. I mean on one level there's this stupidity and humour, right, but beneath that there are all [Smith's] psychological obsessions and claustrophobia." [120]


The Cure were one of the first alternative bands to have chart and commercial success in an era before alternative rock had broken into the mainstream. In 1992, NME declared the Cure had, during the 1980s, become "a goth hit machine (19 to date), an international phenomenon and, yet, the most successful alternative band that ever shuffled disconsolately about the earth". [61] As a leading figure of gothic rock, NME made Smith the cover artist in their 2004 edition, Originals: Goth. [129]

Interpol lead singer Paul Banks was quoted as saying, "the Cure is the band that all of us in Interpol can say influenced us. When I was younger I listened to them a lot. Carlos as well. Actually, he took a straight influence from this band on the way he played the bass and the keys. To me, Robert Smith is also one of these examples: you can't be Robert Smith if you're not Robert Smith. It's one of the bands with the deepest influence on Interpol, because we all like them. They're legendary." [130] The Cure were also a formative influence on the Smashing Pumpkins. Frontman Billy Corgan has named the Cure as a primary influence,' [131] and drummer Mike Byrne described himself as a "huge Cure fan." [132]

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chose the Cure for induction in its Class of 2019. [133] Although the Cure had been eligible for the Hall of Fame since 2004, they were only nominated once previously, in 2012. [134] The formal induction ceremony was held 29 Mar 2019 at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York. The members named by the Rock Hall for induction as part of the band are Perry Bamonte, Jason Cooper, Michael Dempsey, Reeves Gabrels, Simon Gallup, Roger O'Donnell, Robert Smith, Porl Thompson, Lol Tolhurst and Boris Williams. [134] Gabrels was initially not included in the induction, but was added in February 2019. [135] At the Hall of Fame ceremony on 29 March 2019, the Cure were inducted by Trent Reznor and performed "Shake Dog Shake", "A Forest", "Lovesong", "Just Like Heaven" and "Boys Don't Cry". [136]

Awards and nominations

The Cure have been given at least six awards, including two Brit Awards (Best British video for "Lullaby" in 1990, and Best British group in 1991), and a Viewer's Choice (Europe) MTV Video Music Award for "Friday I'm In Love" in 1992. Robert Smith was given an Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement in 2001.

The Brit Awards are the British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) annual pop music awards. [137] The Cure has received two awards from three nominations.

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1990 "Lullaby" British Video of the Year Won
1991 "Close to Me"Nominated
The Cure British Group Won
1993 Nominated
"Friday I'm in Love"British Video of the YearNominated

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by The Recording Academy of the United States for outstanding achievements in the music industry. Often considered the highest music honour, the awards were established in 1958. [138]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1993 Wish Best Alternative Music Album Nominated
2001 Bloodflowers Nominated

The Ivor Novello Awards are awarded for songwriting and composing. The awards, named after the Cardiff born entertainer Ivor Novello, are presented annually in London by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA). [139]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1993"Friday I'm In Love"Best Contemporary SongNominated
2001 Robert Smith International AchievementWon

The Juno Awards are presented annually to Canadian musical artists and bands to acknowledge their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music. New members of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame are also inducted as part of the awards ceremonies. [140]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2005 "The End of the World" Best Video Nominated

The Los Premios MTV Latinoamérica is the Latin American version of the MTV Video Music Awards. It was established in 2002 to celebrate the top music videos of the year in Latin America and the world. [141]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2007 The CureInfluencia AwardWon

Lunas del Auditorio are sponsored by The National Auditorium in Mexico to honor the best live shows in the country. [142]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2005The CureBest Foreign Rock ArtistNominated

The MTV Europe Music Awards were established in 1994 by MTV Networks Europe to celebrate the most popular music videos in Europe. [143]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2004 "The End of the World" Best Video Nominated
2008 The Cure Best Live Act Nominated

The MTV Video Music Awards were established in the end of the summer of 1984 by MTV to celebrate the top music videos of the year. [144]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1989 "Fascination Street" Best Post-Modern Video Nominated
1992 "Friday I'm In Love"Viewer's Choice (Europe)Won

The MVPA Awards are annually presented by a Los Angeles-based music trade organization to honor the year's best music videos.

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2005"The End of the World"Best Alternative VideoNominated
Best Art DirectionNominated

Music Television Awards

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1992 Wish Best AlbumNominated
"High"Best VideoNominated
ThemselvesBest GroupNominated
Best AlternativeNominated
"The End of the World"Best VideoNominated

The NME Awards were created by the NME magazine and was first held in 1953. [145]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2009The CureGodlike Genius AwardWon
4:13 Dream Best Album ArtworkNominated

The Pollstar Concert Industry Awards is an annual award ceremony to honor artists and professionals in the concert industry. The Cure has been nominated seven times. [146]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
1985ThemselvesWhich Artist is Most Likely to Successfully Headline Arenas for the First Time in 1985?Nominated
1986Next Major Arena HeadlinerNominated
1988The Kissing TourSmall Tour of the YearNominated
1990The Prayer TourMost Creative Stage ProductionNominated
ThemselvesSurprise Hot Ticket of the YearNominated
1997The Swing TourMost Creative Stage ProductionNominated

The Q Awards are the United Kingdom's annual music awards run by the music magazine Q to honour musical excellence. Winners are voted by readers of Q online, with others decided by a judging panel. [147]

YearNominee / workAwardResult
2003The CureQ Inspiration AwardWon
2011Q's Greatest Act of the Last 25 YearsNominated


Concert tours

Band members

Related Research Articles

<i>Seventeen Seconds</i> 1980 studio album by The Cure

Seventeen Seconds is the second studio album by British alternative rock band the Cure, recorded at Morgan Studio and released on 22 April 1980 by Fiction Records. For Seventeen Seconds, Robert Smith co-produced for the first time with Mike Hedges. After the departure of original bassist Michael Dempsey, Simon Gallup became an official member along with keyboardist Matthieu Hartley. The single "A Forest" was the band's first entry in the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart.

<i>Disintegration</i> (The Cure album) 1989 studio album by The Cure

Disintegration is the eighth studio album by English rock band the Cure, released on 2 May 1989 by Fiction Records. The record marks a return to the introspective and gloomy gothic rock style the band had established in the early 1980s. As he neared the age of 30, vocalist and guitarist Robert Smith had felt an increased pressure to follow up on the group's pop successes with a more enduring work. This, coupled with a distaste for the group's newfound popularity, caused Smith to lapse back into the use of hallucinogenic drugs, the effects of which had a strong influence on the production of the album. The Cure recorded Disintegration at Hookend Recording Studios in Checkendon, Oxfordshire, with co-producer David M. Allen from late 1988 to early 1989. Following the completion of the mixing of the album, founding member Lol Tolhurst was fired from the band.

<i>Faith</i> (The Cure album) 1981 studio album by The Cure

Faith is the third studio album by British alternative rock band the Cure, released on 14 April 1981 by record label Fiction. Preceded by the single "Primary", the album was a commercial success in the UK, peaking at number 14 and staying in the albums chart for 8 weeks. It was mostly well received by critics.

<i>Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me</i> 1987 studio album by The Cure

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the seventh studio album by British alternative rock band The Cure, released in May 1987.

<i>The Top</i> (album) 1984 studio album by The Cure

The Top is the fifth studio album by British alternative rock band the Cure, released on 30 April 1984 by record label Fiction. It entered the UK Albums Chart at N°10 on 12 May. Shortly after its release, the Cure embarked on a major UK tour culminating with a three-night residency at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

<i>The Head on the Door</i> 1985 studio album by The Cure

The Head on the Door is the sixth studio album by English alternative rock band the Cure, released in August 1985 on record label Polydor. Preceded by the single "In Between Days" which had reached No. 15 on the UK Singles Chart, The Head on the Door was described by Melody Maker as "a collection of pop songs", while PopMatters declared that it defined alternative rock. With its variety of styles, it allowed the group to reach a wider audience in both Europe and North America. In the United Kingdom, it became their most successful album to date, entering the albums chart at No. 7 on 7 September.

<i>Standing on a Beach</i> 1986 compilation album by The Cure

Standing on a Beach is a singles compilation album released by English rock band the Cure in May 1986, marking a decade since the band's founding in 1976. The album's titles are both taken from the opening lyrics of the Cure's debut single, "Killing an Arab".

<i>Concert: The Cure Live</i> 1984 live album by The Cure

Concert: The Cure Live is the first live album by English rock band the Cure. It was recorded in 1984 at the Hammersmith Odeon in London and in Oxford. The cassette tape edition featured, on the B-side, a twin album of anomalies, titled Curiosity : Cure Anomalies 1977–1984.

A Forest single by The Cure

"A Forest" is a song by the English alternative rock band the Cure. Co-produced by Mike Hedges and the band's Robert Smith, it was released as a single from the band's second album Seventeen Seconds on 8 April 1980. It was their debut entry on the UK Singles Chart, reaching number 31. The accompanying music video was first shown on BBC's Top of the Pops programme on 24 April 1980.

Why Cant I Be You? 1987 single by The Cure

"Why Can't I Be You?" is a song by the English rock band The Cure, released as a single from their 1987 album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

Hot Hot Hot!!! (The Cure song) 1988 single by The Cure

"Hot Hot Hot!!!" is the name of a 1988 single by British rock band The Cure from their album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. The song reached number 45 in the UK whereas it was more successful in Ireland, where it reached number 18, and in Spain, entering the Top 10.

Lullaby (The Cure song) 1989 single by The Cure

"Lullaby" is a 1989 single by The Cure from their album Disintegration. The song is the highest charting single by the band in their home country, reaching number five on the UK Singles Chart. Additionally, the song reached number one in Poland and number three in Germany and Ireland while becoming a top-ten hit in several other European countries and New Zealand. The music video won the British Video of the Year at the 1990 Brit Awards.

The Hanging Garden (song) song performed by The Cure

"The Hanging Garden" is a song by English rock band the Cure, released as the sole single from their fourth studio album, Pornography. The release is sometimes referred to as A Single. The single reached No. 34 in the UK Singles Chart.

Charlotte Sometimes (song) 1981 single by The Cure

"Charlotte Sometimes" is a song by English rock band the Cure, recorded at producer Mike Hedges' Playground Studios and released as a non-album single on 5 October 1981 by Polydor Records, following the band's third studio album Faith. The titles and lyrics to both sides were based on the book Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer.

Im a Cult Hero single

"I'm a Cult Hero" is a single released by an extended lineup of the Cure under the name Cult Hero.


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Further reading