The Cure’s First Decade

Originally a post-punk trio from the southern English city of West Sussex, they were one of the biggest Goth bands in the scene and became alternative rock superstars. #thecure #goth #altrock

Recently, an internet meme came across my feed that made me laugh:

  • Q: BIlly had 5 albums by The Cure. He just bought 2 more. What does Billy Have?
  • A: Depression. Billy has depression.

Yes, there is more than a little truth to this statement, as Cure leader Robert Smith has battled it for years, and it was particularly present during the period we cover here. The depression Smith suffered due to band infighting and constant grind of touring gave birth to the well-known and highly influential Cure sound and made him one of the first alternative rock superstars of the 1980’s.

The Cure, 1979, several years away from their trademark look. (l-r) , Lol Tolhurst, Robert Smith and Michael Dempsey. Photo by Gordon Scott.

Smith, of course, was someone who disliked the rock star label the media gave him. When he didn’t want to be associated with that type of lifestyle, he was considered “anti-image”, which was a movement in of itself. He also hated the Goth tag, and wrote Pop songs in a type of protest. In any case, music journalists couldn’t stop attempting to maddeningly dissect every lyric and guitar tone, which also made Smith unhappy with the business.

The cover for the 1984 Cure album The Top, which, despite it’s obviously anti-Goth artwork, was labeled part of the “anti-image” movement. All were tags Cure founder Robert Smith hated.

At heart, Smith, influenced heavily by artists as diverse as Brian Eno, Frank Sinatra and Jimi Hendrix, is a school dropout and social misfit who just wanted to make music and share it with the world. He worked incredibly hard at his craft for his fans, sometimes to the detriment of his own health. Shortly after the period we cover here, in 1989, The Cure were a band with enough clout and fanbase to fill stadiums in the U.S., which made Smith wish to retreat even further into his shell.

What Smith did, though, was to reach an entire generation of other misfits through the chronicling of his drama into art with enough hooks and savvy to even reach those who feel they didn’t fit into the narrow and insular world of the alternative music scene, much less the mainstream establishment.

Robert Smith of The Cure, portrait, Brazil, March 1987. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Though they have been eligible for fifteen years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has included many members who have passed through the Cure’s ranks over the decades for their 2019 ceremony. This isn’t a common practice, and one that has been under intense criticism in the past. Those that will be inducted are Perry Bamonte, Jason Cooper, Michael Dempsey, Simon Gallup, Roger O’Donnell, Robert Smith, Porl Thompson, Lol Tolhurst and Boris Williams. With the exception of Bamonte and O’Donnell, all are featured in this period.

Interestingly, Brian Eno, an important influence on Smith, will also be inducted into the Rock Hall this year as a member of Roxy Music. Should be a very interesting All-Star Jam at the end of the evening…

First Part

  • The Hanging Garden (single remix), 1982. original version on Pornography
  • Charlotte Sometimes, 1981, single A-side
  • Why Can’t I Be You?, 1987, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  • Killing an Arab, 1979, single A-side
  • Boys Don’t Cry, 1979, single A-side (U.K.) and Boys Don’t Cry (U.S.)
  • A Night Like This, 1985, Head on the Door
  • Give Me It, 1984, The Top

Second Part

  • Primary, 1981, Faith
  • Just Like Heaven, 1987, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
  • Baby Screams, 1985, Head on the Door
  • Other Voices, 1981, Faith
  • I’m A Cult Hero, 1979, single A-side by Cult Hero, a Cure side-project
  • Jumping Someone Else’s Train, 1979, single A-side
  • The Walk, 1983, U.K. single A-side, first U.S. appearance on Japanese Whispers


  • A Forest (full-length album version), 1980, Seventeen Seconds
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Love to you all.

Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner

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