Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about The Cure, the rock band. For alternative meanings, see cure.
The Cure is a British rock band widely seen as one of the leading pioneers of the British alternative rock and post-punk scenes of the 1980s. The band is often considered as being part of the Gothic genre, possibly because of lead singer Robert Smith's image, but Smith rejects this, saying that he considers the band to be mainstream. Regardless, The Cure is best known for their wide variety of emotions in their songs, ranging from sucidical to completely estatic and laid the groundwork for modern "Emo" bands twenty years later.
Formation and early years
In 1976 Robert Smith, a 17-year-old student, formed The Easy Cure with classmates Michael Dempsey (bass), Lol Tolhurst (drums) and Porl Thompson (guitar) from St. Wilfrid's Catholic Comprehensive School in Crawley, Sussex. They began writing their own songs almost immediately, and quickly amassed both an impressive repertoire of original material and a growing following.
In 1977, The Easy Cure auditioned for Hansa Records and received a recording contract worth £1000. A year later, following disagreements about the direction the group should take, the newly named The Cure were signed as a trio (minus Porl Thompson) by former Polydor records scout Chris Parry 's new Fiction label (distributed by Polydor). The B-Side to the single "Boys Don't Cry", "Do the Hansa" was The Cure's way of getting back at Hansa Records for not signing them.
The Cure released their first single "Killing an Arab" to 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' story The Stranger. The single was packaged with a sticker label that denied the racist connotations.
In 1979, The Cure released the album Three Imaginary Boys and embarked on an extensive period of touring, during which they performed with various other iconic bands such as Joy Division and Siouxsie & the Banshees, leading eventually to a collaboration between Smith and Banshees member Steven Severin, released under the name The Glove.
The next single "Boys Don't Cry" was a minor hit in the US, and Three Imaginary Boys was repackaged for sale there as Boys Don't Cry. Member Michael Dempsey left the band, and Simon Gallup (bass) and Matthieu Hartley (keyboards) joined.
In 1980 the 4-piece Cure released "Seventeen Seconds" which reached #20 on the UK charts. "A Forest" became the band's first UK hit single. The Cure set out on their first world tour, at the end of which Matthieu Hartley left the band. In 1981 came the album Faith, which hit #14 on the UK charts, as well as an instrumental soundtrack for the film Carnage Visors (these were packaged together as a long-play cassette called Faith/Carnage Visors). Carnage Visors was used as a "tour support" film for their "Picture Tour".
Now 21, Smith "didn't see that there was much point in continuing with life. In the next two years, I genuinely felt that I wasn't going to be alive for much longer, and I tried pretty hard to make this feeling come true" (1). Smith's increasing depression was embodied in the album, Faith, released in 1981.
The band members' lives began to be marked by increasing drug use. In 1982 The Cure recorded Pornography, a bleak, nihilist offering that led to more rumours that Smith was suicidal. Perhaps because of the rumours, Pornography became the band's first UK Top 10 album, hitting the charts at #9. The release was followed by the "Fourteen Explicit Moments" tour, and by increasing problems among the members. After an altercation in a club between Smith and Simon Gallup, Gallup left the group and started another one called Fools Dance. Smith says that he "doesn't even remember making a lot of Pornography" (2).
In 1983 The Cure released two more singles, "The Walk" (UK #12) and "The Lovecats," which became the band's first UK top 10 single at #7. The same year, Smith also recorded and toured with Siouxsie and the Banshees, contributing his writing and playing skills on their Hyaena and Nocturne albums, as well as recording the Blue Sunshine album as The Glove (see above). Reduced to the duo of Smith and Tolhurst, the Cure released four studio singles and their B-sides as the album Japanese Whispers. The singles from this period were uncharacteristically upbeat and accessible, though Smith would soon return to writing more melancholy (if not as somber) material.
In 1984 The Cure released The Top, an album on which Smith played all the instruments except the drums (played by Andy Anderson) and the saxophone (played by returnee Porl Thompson). The Cure then embarked on their "Top Tour" with Thompson, Anderson, and bassist Phil Thornalley on board. At the end of the tour, however, Anderson was fired and replaced by Boris Williams, and Thornalley was replaced by returnee Simon Gallup. Robert Smith later expressed his satisfaction with the reunited Cure, saying "we're a band again."
In 1985 the new lineup released The Head on the Door which reached #7 in the UK and #59 on the American charts. Following this release and another world tour, the band released Standing on a Beach, a collection featuring all The Cure's singles and B-sides. The album's title was taken from a line in the song "Killing an Arab." This release was accompanied by a video version called Staring at the Sea and by another tour, as well as a live concert film called The Cure In Orange.
Throughout 1986 Lol Tolhurst's alcohol consumption was interfering with his ability to perform, and Roger O'Donnell was frequently called upon to stand in for him.
In 1987 The Cure released the double album Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, and embarked on the "Kissing Tour."
In 1988 the band history Ten Imaginary Years was released, and Lol Tolhurst, though he had not yet left the band, was replaced by Roger O'Donnell. In 1989 they released the album Disintegration, which became their highest-charting album to date at #3 and featured four Top 20 singles ("Lullaby", "Fascination Street", "Pictures of You", and "Lovesong"). Shortly before the release, Tolhurst left permanently, leaving Smith as the only remaining founding member of The Cure. The Cure embarked on the "Prayer" tour. This tour featured some of the band's longest ever shows; their final gig at Wembley Arena (announced By Robert as "probably our last show") lasted over three and a half hours.
1990s and 2000s
In 1990 The Cure released a collection of remixes called Mixed Up, a collection which was roundly panned by both critics and fans (Smith says that he expected this, but decided to release the collection anyway). "Mixed Up" was followed in 1992 by the album Wish, which went straight to #1 in the UK and to #2 in the US. The Cure also embarked on the "Wish Tour" and released the live albums Show and Paris. 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. The EP has since become an extremely sought after item, copies exchanging hands for approaching £100. Porl Thompson (guitar) left the band once more during 1993 to play with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.
During 1994, Lol Tolhurst sued Robert Smith and Fiction Records over royalties payments, also claiming joint ownership of the name "The Cure" with Smith; after a long legal battle Tolhurst eventually lost. Boris Williams (drums) left the band, and was replaced by Jason Cooper (formerly with My Life Story), and Roger O'Donnell rejoined.
In 1996 The Cure released the album Wild Mood Swings, and in 1998 Smith appeared as himself on the animated TV show South Park. The Cure also contributed to the soundtrack album for The X-Files: Fight the Future as well as For the Masses, a Depeche Mode tribute album.
The Grammy-nominated album Bloodflowers was released in 2000. This album was widely seen as the third in a trilogy including Pornography and Disintegration. 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.
In 2002 they continued recording, and also headlined twelve major music festivals, in addition to playing several three-hour concerts during which they performed the albums Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers in their entirety in Berlin. These performances were relased as the Trilogy DVD in 2003.
In the spring of 2003, The Cure signed to iam Records . In 2004 The Cure released a new four-disc boxed set on Fiction Records titled Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities, 1978-2001 (The Fiction Years). The set includes seventy Cure songs, some previously unreleased, and a 76-page full-colour book of photographs, history and quotes, packaged in a hard cover. This album peaked at #106 on the Billboard 200 album charts.
The Cure released their first eponymous album on iam records on June 28, 2004. To promote this album, the band headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on May 2. They also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The album The Cure made a top ten debut on both sides of the Atlantic in July 2004 and debuted in the top 30 in Australia. The album also received a generally positive reaction with some critics rating it as the group's best since Disintegration.
The group were awarded MTV Icon for 2004. The ceremony included performances of Cure songs by the groups AFI (Just Like Heaven), Blink 182 (A Letter to Elise), Razorlight (Boys don't Cry) and the Deftones (If Only Tonight We Could Sleep), and was hosted by Marilyn Manson. Smith subsequently included songs by AFI, Blink 182 and the Deftones in his setlist whilst presenting a special John Peel evening session on BBC Radio 1.
In 2004, a reissue of Three Imaginary Boys was released, with a second bonus disc of unreleased material, demos, live tracks etc. Inspired by Elvis Costello's reissues, other albums ("Faith", "Seventeen Seconds" and "Pornography") are planned in the series. Given that the group had just recently released a four-disc set of b-sides, the amount of non-album material the band possesses appears to be rather high.
- Three Imaginary Boys (1979)
- Seventeen Seconds (1980) #20 UK
- Faith (1981) #14 UK
- Pornography (1982) #8 UK
- The Top (1984) #10 UK, #180 US
- The Head on the Door (1985) #7 UK, #60 US
- Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (1987) #6 UK, #35 US
- Disintegration (1989) #3 UK, #12 US
- Wish (1992) #1 UK, #2 US
- Wild Mood Swings (1996) #9 UK, #12 US
- Bloodflowers (2000) #14 UK, #16 US
- The Cure (2004) #8 UK, #7 US
Compilations, reissues, remix albums, and live albums
- Boys Don't Cry (a renamed version of Three Imaginary Boys with a slightly different song lineup) (1980)
- Faith/Carnage Visors (1981), a special long-play cassette.
- Happily Ever After (Seventeen Seconds and Faith together U.S.-only release)
- Japanese Whispers (singles/b-sides) (1983) #26 UK, #181 US
- Concert (1984, live) #26 UK
- Concert and Curiosity (1984), The Concert album with unreleased tracks on the b-side. Available only on cassette.
- Standing on a Beach (1986, singles compilation) #4 UK, #48 US
- Entreat (1991) (songs from Distintegration live) #10 UK
- Integration (boxed set)
- Mixed Up (1990, remixes) #8 UK, #14 US
- Paris (1993, live) #118 US
- Show (1993, live) #29 UK, #42 US
- Galore (1997, compilation of singles 1987-1997) #37 UK, #32 US
- Greatest Hits (2001, compilation of singles 1978-2001/two new tracks) #33 UK, #58 US
- Three Imaginary Boys (2CD Deluxe edition)(2004)
- Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities, 1978-2001 (The Fiction Years) (2004) #106 US
- "Killing an Arab" (b-side: "10:15 Saturday Night") (1979)
- "Boys Don't Cry" (b-side "Plastic Passion") (1979)
- "Jumping Someone Else's Train (b-side "I'm Cold") (1979)
- "A Forest" (b-side "Another Journey By Train") (1980) #31 UK
- "Primary" (b-side: "Descent") (1981)
- "Charlotte Sometimes" (b-side: "Splintered in Her Head") (1981)
- "The Hanging Garden" (1982) #34 UK
- "Let's Go To Bed" (b-side: "Just One Kiss") (1982)
- "The Walk" (b-side: "The Dream") (1983) #12 UK
- "The Lovecats" (b-side "Speak My Language")(1983) #7 UK
- "The Caterpillar" (1984) #14 UK
- "Inbetween Days" (1985) #15 UK, #99 US
- "Close To Me" (1985) #24 UK
- "Boys Don't Cry" (re-issue) (1986) #22 UK
- "Why Can't I Be You?" (b-side: "A Japanese Dream") (1987) #21 UK, #54 US
- "Catch" (b-side: "Breathe") (1987) #27 UK
- "Just Like Heaven" (b-side "Snow In Summer"/"Sugar Girl") (1988) #29 UK, #40 US
- "Hot Hot Hot" (1988) #65 US
- "Lullaby" (b-side "Babble"/"Out Of Mind") (1989) #5 UK, #74 US
- "Fascination Street" (1989) #46 US
- "Lovesong" (1989) #18 UK, #2 US
- "Pictures of You" (1990) #24 UK
- "Never Enough" (b-side: "Harold and Joe") (1990) #13 UK
- "Close to Me" (remix) (1990) #13 UK
- "High" (1992) #8 UK
- "Friday I'm in Love" (1992) #6 UK, #18 US
- "A Letter to Elise" (1992) #28 UK
- "The 13th" (1996) #15 UK
- "Mint Car" (1996) #31 UK
- "Wrong Number" (1997)
- "Cut Here" (2002)
- "The End of the World" (2004) #25 UK
- "Taking Off" (2004) #39 UK
Easy Cure song list
- "See the children" - demo from '77/'78
- "Meathook" - demo from '77/'78
- "Listen" - demo from '77/'78
- "Need Myself" - demo from '77/'78
- "I want to be old" - demo from '77/'78
- Standing on a Beach
- The Cure in Orange
- Picture Show
- The Cure Play Out
- Greatest Hits
- Robert Smith (vocals, guitar, keyboards; member 1976-present)
- Roger O'Donnell (keyboards; member 1987-1990 & 1995-present)
- Perry Bamonte (keyboards, guitars; member 1990-present)
- Jason Cooper (percussion; member 1995-present)
- Simon Gallup (bass guitar; member 1979-1982 & 1985-present)
- Lol Tolhurst (percussion, keyboards; member 1976-1989)
- Michael Dempsey (bass guitar; member 1976-1979)
- Matthieu Hartley (keyboards; member 1979-1980)
- Phil Thornalley (bass guitar; member 1983-1984)
- Andy Anderson (percussion; member 1983-1984)
- Boris Williams (percussion; member 1984-1994)
- Porl Thompson (guitars; member 1977-1978 & 1984-1992)
1. The Cure, Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities 1978-2001 (13). 2. The Cure, Join the Dots: B-Sides and Rarities 1978-2001 (15).
- thecure.com: The Official Site
- A Chain of Flowers
- The13th - ALL The Cure´s Pages!!!
- Pictures Of You
- Lost Wishes
- Stiff As Toys and Tall As Men
- Musicbrainz Cure discography
- Cure : Home (Hungarian website)
- A Pink Dream - International Forum
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