Happy Birthday Robert Smith
Today’s the birthday of Cure frontman Robert Smith, the man who – armed with a little bit of lipstick, a heavy dose of hairspray, and more than a bit of melancholy – mixed gloom and doom with pop sensibilities and built a band that’s been going strong for over three decades now.
Born in Blackpool, England in 1959, Smith started his life in music by taking piano lessons, but he soon switched to guitar. Unfortunately, his guitar tutor was less than impressed with his ability, but Smith was undeterred, deciding to simply teach himself by listening to his brother’s record collection and learning to play by ear…on his brother’s guitar.
Thankfully, Smith finally managed to get his own guitar a few years later – one from Woolworth’s, by all accounts – and, by 1972, he’d begun his first band: The Obelisk. Mind you, they apparently only played one gig, but at least a couple of the members stuck with Smith for the long haul (most notably drummer Lol Tolhurst), and after spending some time in an outfit called Malice, the punk movement led Smith and company to shift gears and start Easy Cure, which Smith eventually renamed The Cure.
The Cure’s story is well-documented, of course, and we’ve documented it further in the playlist that accompanies this piece, but let’s not forget that Smith’s career is more than the Cure: he spent a short stint as guitarist for Siouxsie and the Banshees, teamed with Steve Severin and Jeanette Landray for a one-off album as The Glove, and in recent years he’s contributed vocals to tracks by Blink-182, Billy Corgan, Faithless, Crystal Castles, the Japanese Popstars, and many others.
Later this year, Smith assures fans that the Cure will be releasing 4:14 Scream, an album containing 14 additional songs recorded during the sessions for their 2008 album, 4:13 Dream. For now, though, we can celebrate his birthday by listening to some of the band’s earlier work…one track for each year.