Standing On A Beach – The Cure (1986)
So….does it mean that Standing On A Beach coming in at #13, one place ahead of Singles Going Steady, is the more favoured record?
I couldn’t separate them in terms of preference, but a couple of things led to me putting The Cure just above Buzzcocks.
Firstly, the two sides of vinyl consist entirely of A-sides. Secondly, unlike the Buzzcocks compilation, Standing On A Beach was a commercial success, reaching #4 and selling around 100,000 copies. Part of this might have been down to a greater willingness of fans to now shell out for compilation albums, but it might also have had something to do with the fact that its contents spanned the period 1978-1985 and a number of the earliest 45s were increasingly hard to find.
There are 13 tracks all told. Side One goes from Killing An Arab (1978) through to The Hanging Garden (1982). For the most part, these seven songs represent The Cure at their most gothic – well, at least to that point in time, as there was more dark material later in the career. Only two of the tracks had actually made it into the Top 40 when originally released.
Side Two goes from Let’s Go To Bed (1982) through to Close To Me (1985) and generally represents the more commercially successful era of early Cure, with four of the six songs being top 20 hits.
I remember thinking at the time that the career-spanning compilation was perhaps a sign that Robert Smith & co were considering calling it a day. Just as well that I never went to a bookie and asked for odds, given that there have been a further seven studio albums and two more singles compilations in the ensuing years, not to mention remix and live releases and the countless tours that have been undertaken. Smith might now be 64 years of age, but he shows no signs of slowing up.
mp3: The Cure – Primary
Now….at this point I had intended to offer up Primary……but Dirk featured it recently as part of his wonderfully curated 111 singles series.
Primary is not one of their better known singles in that it peaked at #43 in 1981. It’s the one more than any other which highlights how close they were, melodically speaking, to the early-mid 80s Bunnymen. Or maybe that’s just me…….
Along with A Forest, this was regularly aired at the ‘dining room disco’ on Saturday nights at Strathclyde Students Union – that was the location where the playlist was eclectic and spanned the years whereas the upstairs Level 8, as well as being the hall in which bands played live, was also the disco where the pop hits of the day would be played. It was where many of us lay down our raincoats and grooved……
Primary, despite not making the Top 40, was responsible for The Cure’s first ever appearance on Top of The Pops.
And, as Dirk also mentioned, the song was made with two bass guitars and drums. No keyboards or six-string guitars…..just an innovative use of effects pedals.
So….instead of that, here’s one of the big hits. A song that is up there with the best 45s from the 80s.
mp3: The Cure – In Between Days