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'The Cure: A Perfect Dream' - Robert Smith's Rise from Art-Punk Teen to Goth Royalty

'The Cure: A Perfect Dream' book cover. Image: Amazon.co.uk / Palazzo

The Cure are one of the most cherished goth bands in rock history. And this year marks the 40th anniversary since they formed—well, officially changed their name to The Cure anyway—back in 1978. With singer Robert Smith being the only consistent member since they started out back in Crawley, Sussex, four decades ago.

Celebrating those four decades, along with capturing the changes, low points and successes that happened is a new book by Ian Gittins called The Cure: A Perfect Dream. It’s due out in September and contains over 250 photos, including unseen images from backstage and behind the scenes.

The Cure released their debut album 'Three Imaginary Boys' in May 1979. The band's second single, "Boys Don't Cry", was released in June of that year. This photo was taken in London in 1979. © Jill Furmanovsky

It’s not been an easy ride for them, from those early days as teen goths to becoming national treasures, but it’s certainly been eventful. As the book’s publisher Palazzo says in its synopsis:

The Cure’s story is a fantastical pop fable, but their trajectory has not been one of unbroken success. Along the way, their uneven, uneasy pop odyssey has taken in fierce intra-band tensions and fall-outs, numerous line-up changes and even a bitter court case that saw original group members feuding over payments and ownership of the band’s name.

There has been alcoholism, substance abuse and countless long, dark nights of the soul, many of which have been translated into luscious dark-rock symphonies. From gawky teenage art-punks in Crawley to gnomic, venerable rock royalty with 30 million record sales to their name, their journey has been a scarcely believable, vivid pop hallucination.

Contents page from 'The Cure: A Perfect Dream'. Image: Amazon.co.uk / Palazzo

The book starts back when Smith was at school with drummer Lol Tolhurst in Crawley, and charts their rise to the revered status they now hold. Testament to that staying power and continued success is the fact that the band’s 1990 remix album The Cure's Mixed Up got a 3 CD deluxe edition released earlier this year. And the band played a sold out show in Hyde Park in July too. Along with that Robert Smith curated the Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival this year, a sure sign that he’s become (or fast becoming) a cultural icon. Bands he brought to the festival included Nine Inch Nails, Psychedelic Furs, My Bloody Valentine, and the Manic Street Preachers.

Along with this The Cure announced earlier this year that they’ll be making a follow-up album to 2008’s 4:13 Dream. Speaking with The Guardian in June Smith said, about getting into the studio with the band for the first time in 10 years, “Meltdown has inspired me to do something new because I’m listening to new bands. I’m enthused by their enthusiasm. So if it doesn’t work, I’ll be pretty upset, because it will mean that the songs aren’t good enough.”

The Cure on the road in Holland and Belgium during their 1980 'Seventeen Seconds' tour. © Jill Furmanovsky

Smith has even been looking at his old lyrics for inspiration, but noted, “Some of them don’t make any sense to me any more. It would be weird if I felt the same as I did when I was in my 20s. I’d be mental!” continuing that his outlook now is, “slightly more cynical and slightly less optimistic, which is strange. I was very optimistic when I was young, even though I wrote very dismal songs, but now I’m kind of the opposite. I have a very dismal outlook on life.” Sounds like it could be a great Cure album, then. 

The Cure: A Perfect Dream is due out 6 September 2018, and you can pre-order it here. Find out more The Cure news at their website here. And listen to classic The Cure track “Boy Don’t Cry” below.

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer The Cure images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.