1976 in Crawley, England
Core '80s Members:
- Robert Smith (born Robert James Smith on April 21, 1959 in Blackpool, England) - Lead vocals, guitar, primary songwriter
- Simon Gallup (born Simon Jonathon Gallup on June 1, 1960 in Duxhurst, England) - Bass guitar, songwriter
- Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst (born Laurence Andrew Tolhurst on February 3, 1959 in Horley, Surrey, England) - Keyboards, drums, songwriter
- Porl Thompson (born Paul Stephen Thompson on November 8, 1957 in Wimbledon, England) - Guitar, keyboards
- Boris Williams (born Boris Peter Bransby-Williams on April 24, 1957 in Versailles, France) - Drums
Perhaps not many general music fans know that the Cure's roots can be traced all the way back to 1973, when Smith and Tolhurst played in a band called The Obelisk at middle school. By 1976 the band had morphed into Malice, suggesting a dark take on the punk rock influences the band was absorbing at this point. In 1977 the group took on the puzzling name the Easy Cure, boasting a core membership of Smith, Tolhurst, Thompson and Michael Dempsey on bass. Eventually dropping to its now legendary moniker, the band produced its debut album, 1979's Three Imaginary Boys. Dempsey was replaced by Gallup as the new decade began.
The Cure's "Invention" of Goth Rock:
Although some may characterize the Cure's career-long musical output as the dark, brooding style called Goth rock, the group really only followed this direction during the very early '80s. On its three albums released between 1980-1982, the Cure increasingly exhibited a somber, nihilistic and depressive outlook. Strangely enough, during this period, the band sported what some called an anti-image, presenting a dullness in appearance that did not match most people's visual image of Goth rock - hair dyed black, gloomy makeup and eyeliner. The tour to support 1982's Pornography first introduced the band's iconic image.
Discord & Experimentation Delay a More "Commercial" Sound:
Around this time Gallup left the band acrimoniously, leaving Smith as pretty much the only consistent member for a couple of years. Still, though instability and rampant experimentation could have threatened the Cure's popularity in its homeland, the band continued to have hits there. It would have to wait until 1985 for a way into the American market, as Gallup's return cemented the lineup enough for Smith's songwriting to gell, mature and become more accessible. The brilliant singles "In Between Days" and "Close to Me," from 1985's The Head on the Door, were a sign of the poppier yet distinctive sound to come.
The Cure Becomes a Fixture at American High Schools:
Even as hair metal became a staple of the late '80s in America, a smaller group of music fans expressed disdain for the mainstream and an appetite for singularity by becoming Cure devotees. Ever since, a Goth subculture has persisted among American youth, even if the look and its somber tone had little to do with the band's music. Still, it's hard to deny that "Just Like Heaven," "Lovesong" and "Pictures of You" represent some of Smith's best songwriting. The fact that these songs are lush alternative pop doesn't diminish the reality that the latter half of the '80s was kind to the Cure artistically and commercially.
'90s Dividends & Beyond:
The Cure managed to sustain its peak period well into the '90s, releasing music consistently with greater success and for longer than most '80s bands could manage. As such, the group became a major bridge between the post-punk and college rock audiences of the '80s and a newer breed of music fans widely accepting of the post-Nirvana alternative rock explosion. As both influence and inspiration, the Cure has essentially never gone out of style, retaining as many hardcore fans from the past as the new ones created during subsequent tours into the 21st century.