We’re not sure how many people are actually reading the site, since we know that Robert Smith’s birthday is considered an official holiday by most goths, but just on the off chance that you are perusing the place, hello and welcome to Totally ‘80s’ official Robert Smith birthday post!
To celebrate the date of Mr. Smith’s birthday, we’ve gone through The Cure's recordings of the decade and pulled out our eight favorite singles released by the band during the ‘80s. Okay, so maybe we stretched things a bit with our last inclusion, since it wasn’t actually released as a single until the ‘90s, but in our defense, we make it quite clear that we always preferred the album version anyway.
“A Forest” (1980): This song was responsible for providing The Cure with a couple of firsts, starting with the fact that it resulted in the band’s first appearance on Top of the Pops, which is a monumental moment in any U.K. artist’s career. In addition, it was the first song by the band to be released as a 12” single, which was a pretty big deal if you were the sort of Anglophile who collected those sorts of things...not that we know anyone like that.
“Charlotte Sometimes” (1980): Released as a standalone single, this track was inspired by a Penelope Farmer novel called - wait for it - Charlotte Sometimes. It’s a bit Outlander-y, frankly, with the premise involving the titular character moving back and forth 40 years in time. Probably best not to tell Robert Smith we said that, though, because he’d probably call our suggestion a load of twaddle...or something like that.
“The Hanging Garden” (1981): Not entirely surprisingly for a song with this title, the video for “The Hanging Garden” was filmed - where else? - in the York House Gardens in London. Also not entirely surprisingly, Smith couldn’t stand it, calling it “really awful.” For Smith, the problem was that it was directed by Chris Gabrin, who directed the video for Madness’s “It Must Be Love.” Said Smith, “They wanted to make us look serious and we wanted them to make us look like Madness.” Never the twain shall meet, apparently...
Read More: April 1981: The Cure Find 'Faith'
“The Lovecats” (1983): Once upon a time, Smith said of this track, “(It’s) far from being my favorite song: composed drunk, video filmed drunk, promotion made drunk. It was a joke.” That said, it was the band’s first Top 10 hit in the U.K., and Smith eventually got over himself and played it without (much) grumbling.
“The Caterpillar” (1984): The only single released from the band’s decidedly psychedelic album, The Top, this track climbed to No. 14 on the UK Singles chart. One interesting bit about the Tim Pope-directed video: both Phil Thornalley and Porl Thompson are in it, despite the fact that neither of them actually play on the song.
“In Between Days” (1985): Welcome to the very first Cure ever to crack the Billboard Hot 100. Oh, sure, it topped out at No. 99, but that’s hardly the point, now, is it? With a very New Order-esque bassline, it’s one of the band’s poppiest tunes, blending that bass with acoustic guitars and a synth riff to die for. Cure songs don’t get much catchier than this.
“Just Like Heaven” (1987): Call this the antithesis of “The Lovecats,” at least as far as how Smith feels about it: when he initially penned the tune, he told the other members of The Cure, “I’ll never write something this good again.” If you agree with him, say nothing. If you disagree, say nothing. It’s a no-win scenario, plain and simple.
“Pictures of You” (1989): Based on an essay by Myra Poleo entitled “The Dark Power of Ritual Pictures,” this tune ended up being cut down considerably for single release, and while that was probably always inevitable, the only thing that listening to that version accomplishes is an increase in your desire to listen to the full album version. One of the band’s most beautiful songs, and then some.