The Cure

The Cure

Synopsis of Pop Music

“You, soft and only,
You, lost and lonely,
You, just like heaven...”

Alternative-rock rose from the ashes of punk and new wave in the late 70’s to provide a new rush for listeners tired of the average Top-40 radio sounds. One of the first and foremost alternative-rock bands was the Cure, a group that mixed solid pop songcraft with the kind of lush, moody soundscapes that aren’t usually found on pop music stations. They won scores of fans around the world with their quirky yet stylish music as they paved the way for gothic rock with their intense and atmospheric sound.

The Cure was the brainchild of Robert Smith, who formed the band with classmates during his high school years. They immediately set to rehearsing and writing songs. One of these, the Albert Camus-inspired "Killing An Arab,” won the band a recording contract. It was released as a single at the end of 1978, its brooding sound providing a contrast to the manic energy of punk rock. It was soon followed by an album, Three Imaginary Boys, and another single called “Boys Don’t Cry.” This stylish slice of guitar-pop became popular on college radio and gave the Cure their first U.S. exposure.

The Cure toured the U.K. extensively in 1979, playing alongside post-punk faves like New Division and Wire. On album, they played up the gloomy atmosphere but managed to keep their keen sense of pop songwriting. They added a keyboardist for their second album, 17 Seconds, and scored another U.K. hit with the darkly pretty “A Forest.” The next few years passed quickly as they toured Europe and issued two more albums, Faith and Pornography. The latter album was both their darkest work yet and their first Top-10 album in the U.K.

In 1982, the Cure began to take their sound into a brighter, more playful direction with a tongue-in-cheek synth-disco tune called “Let’s Go To Bed.” It subsequently became their first successful single in the U.S. as they continued in this vein with the danceable “The Walk” and the jazzy “The Lovecats.” The latter became their first Top-10 single in the U.K. The Cure continued to tour as they refined their blend of atmospheric mood and quirky pop on albums like The Top and The Head On The Door. Their breakthrough was just around the corner.

In 1986, the Cure commemorated the first phase of their career with a collection called Standing On A Beach: The Singles. It became a Top-5 hit in the U.K. and scored the group their first gold album in the U.S. This success paved the way for their breakthrough, a double album called Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. This album spawned four hits in the U.K. and gave the group their first Top-40 success in the U.S. with “Just Like Heaven,” a lovely ballad built on a lush soundscape of synth and guitar. The guitar-driven and suprisingly funky “Why Can’t I Be You” also became a favorite on college radio.

The Cure continued to have success in the U.S. with Disintegration, an album that went to #14 on the album charts and gave them their biggest U.S. single with the #2 smash “Love Song.” “Fascination Street” was also a radio favorite from this album. In 1990, they released a popular album of remixes that was appropriately dubbed Mixed Up. In 1992, the Cure released Wish. It became many a fan’s favorite Cure album and was another big hit, going to #1 in the U.K. and #2 in the U.S. “Friday I’m In Love,” a sweet-natured and gentle pop song, became a Top-20 hit from this album.

The Cure followed up the success of Wish with a massive world tour that was documented on a pair of live albums, Show and Paris. The former also functioned as the soundtrack to a full-length concert film called Show. In 1995, they wrote an original tune called “Dredd Song” for the action film Judge Dredd. In 1996, they released Wild Mood Swings, a sonically-adventurous album that featured a brass section, a string quartet, an Indian orchestra and a Mexican trumpeter. The next year, they released a second singles anthology, Galore: 1987-1997.

In 1998, Robert Smith lent his voice to an episode of South Park. Meanwhile, he and the Cure recorded an original tune, “Something More Than This,” for the soundtrack of The X-Files. Most recently, the Cure have issued Bloodflowers. The meditative sound of the album shows the group has reached a new level of maturity. Their individuality and ability to create a mood through sound will no doubt continue to inspire musicians everywhere for a long, long time.

Artist Release History

1979 - Three Imaginary Boys
1980 - Boys Don't Cry
1980 - Seventeen Seconds
1981 - Carnage Visors
1981 - Faith
1982 - Pornography
1984 - The Top
1984 - Concert: The Cure Live
1985 - The Head on the Door
1986 - Staring at the Sea: The Singles
1987 - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
1989 - Disintegration
1990 - Mixed Up
1990 - Integration
1990 - Entreat (live)
1992 - Wish
1993 - Paris (live)
1993 - Show (live)
1996 - Wild Mood Swings
2000 - Bloodflowers

Pop Sub Categories


Essential Music Albums

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (Elektra)
Disintegration (Elektra)
Staring At The Sea: The Singles (Elektra)
Galore: 1987-1997 (Elektra)

Band Members

Robert Smith lead vocals, guitar
Porl Thompson guitar
Perry Bamonte guitar
Simon Gallup bass
Lol Tolhurst keyboards
Roger O'Donnell keyboards
Boris Williams drums
Jason Cooper drums

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