For most of the time, The Cure was a trio. Formed in 1976 and originally comprising Smith (guitar), Michael Dempsey (bass) and Lawrence Tolhurst (AKA Lol, drums), the group was called Malice before renaming themselves Easy Cure. Various other members came and went, including guitarist Porl Thompson and a couple of vocalists. With one of these singers, Easy Cure recorded a demo in April 1977 in response to an advert placed by German-based record company Hansa, looking for talent to sign. Around 1400 applications were received but Easy Cure were signed the following month. Smith took over as lead singer later in the year and the group made their first professional recordings, including the track they wanted as their debut single, Killing An Arab. But Hansa insisted they record covers of popular songs as well as their own material, and when it seemed that it would be one of those instead of Killing An Arab that would be their first release, they left the label and, becoming a trio again when Thompson quit, renamed themselves The Cure.
They made a new demo tape in May 1978, funded by the brother of Simon Gallup, whom The Cure had met when they were playing on the same bill as his band Lockjaw. This was sent to all the major record companies in the UK but regrets were received from EMI, Virgin, the Phonogram group, and Island. Chris Parry at Polydor was interested, but only for a new label of his own that he was in the process of setting up. This was named Fiction and in late 1978 The Cure made another set of recordings for them, including a new version of Killing An Arab that became the group’s, and Fiction’s, first single. To get it into the shops before Christmas, it first appeared on Small Wonder records as Fiction was not ready to go; the Fiction version appeared in early 1979. Later in that year there were more changes in personnel, with Gallup joining and founding member Dempsey leaving. In December, Smith spoke about the direction that he thought The Cure should take, telling Sounds, “I would rather play songs that bring out the blacker side of life. It seems to stir your emotions a lot more. Bleaking out. It’s a very modern desire. I don’t believe in catering for your audience. The audience should come to you on your own terms, because otherwise what you are doing is looking for a gap in the market. If we did that we’d have to call ourselves The Illness, or the Malignant Growth.”
‘Bleaking out’ was exactly what they did; the four albums they put out between 1979 and 1982 got progressively darker. At the end of ’82 it looked like The Cure was over. Gallup fell out with Smith during their tour that year and quit when it finished, reducing the band to a duo. Smith himself appeared on the verge of joining Siouxsie And The Banshees, who The Cure had toured with previously, when he stepped in while they were short of a guitarist. And fans were surprised by latest single Let’s Go To Bed, an unexpectedly upbeat song very different from their previous output. It wasn’t a big hit, but with Parry’s encouragement The Cure pushed along in the same direction with their next few singles, and four Top 20 hits followed, of which In Between Days was the last. In the meantime, both Thompson and Gallup had re-joined.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jul. 19
The CURE (Robert Smith) In Between Days (Fiction FICS22)