When one thinks about the indie legends The Cure and pop trio Bananarama you might not see them as drinking partners. But in the autumn of 1985, the two bands got together and gave the bar a proper British battering before taking part in a hilarious performance on the Dutch TV show ‘Countdown’. It is one moment that always deserves revisiting.
The Cure were promoting their new record The Head On The Door when they were invited to perform on pop music TV show. ‘Countdown’. Arriving at the airport they locked eyes with their fellow scenesters Bananarama and the wild ride began. The two groups were known for their rogue ways and, when given the opportunity to connect and challenge one another, they didn’t disappoint and drank the bar dry.
Once famed for his technical ability at the pub and his penchant for a pint or eight, Robert Smith was once quoted as saying “Bananarama were the first band I met who managed to drink with us until the end!” Judging by the video below that would be a very messy end indeed and would leave countless casualties along the way.
While Smith and The Cure were appearing across the airwaves wherever they could in support of new single ‘Close To Me’, Bananarama were also on the campaign trail. The soon to be pop icons appeared on the show to perform their own single ‘Do Not Disturb’ which would then appear on their album True Confessions.
Having cut their teeth in the new wave that swept London in the early eighties, Bananarama were beginning to ascertain their credentials as one of the most successful female pop groups ever by 1985, releasing their smash cover of ‘Venus’ a year later to global success and worldwide fame. A similar story faced The Cure as the new album proved the group’s ability to straddle the line between credible and commercial with effortless grace.
The new album had seen the band traverse the line between pessimism and optimism and dress emotive subjects in infectious pop tunes — something which would later become their trademark sound. ‘Close To Me’ was the stand out single alongside ‘In Between Days’ and showed that quality indie music could break the charts. The Cure became a hot commodity and saw them appear across a host of TV shows. While some performances allowed Smith and The Cure to express this subtle balancing act, this appearance is memorable for another reason entirely.
The two groups’ seemingly parallel careers would crossover again at the departure lounge bar over a fair few drinks. It meant that when they arrived at the studio to perform their playback performance, all members of the rowdy bands were quietly sozzled and some not so quietly.
Bananarama, appearing to be every bit the consummate consumers of beverages as Smith suggested, mimed ‘Do Not Disturb’ without incident and, in fact, a lot of professional flare. But when The Cure arrived at the studio stage the girls were ready for some trouble and weren’t afraid of the repercussions.
After the first few notes of ‘Close To Me’ the trio invaded the stage and soon the song’s performance was quickly forgotten. What happens instead is a group of musicians and friends have a small party on stage, dancing to their song and offering a glimpse into the rock and roll lifestyle the audience so greedily wanted to see.
Watch below as The Cure and Bananarama drunkenly lip-sync ‘Close To Me’ on Dutch TV.