The songwriting credentials of The Cure frontman Robert Smith speak for themselves, and he has a delicate way of combining heartfelt lyrics with fuzzy distortion that has made his band a staple of every true music lover’s record collection.
Together, The Cure has successfully transcended genre and style for decades, a skill which has seen their pop goth amalgamation spark alternative music their illuminating sounds. While The Cure is often incorrectly pigeonholed into one specific area, it is often by those quick to judge the band on appearance alone. “One of the reasons people like the band is because they’re never quite sure what’s gonna happen next,” Smith once said. “If we were predictable, we wouldn’t have really lasted this long.”
When Smith revealed the one song he wishes he wrote to Rolling Stone in 2004, he didn’t disappoint with his answer, proving that he’s a man that you can’t pin down. “‘Happy Birthday to You’ just so that people all around the world every second of the day were singing my song,” he said in jest before revealing his honest answer, adding, “Either that or Bowie’s “Life on Mars?”.
Davie Bowie was an artist who, like Smith, shapeshifted his way through a career of unrelenting experimentation, donning a cloak of unpredictability at all times. The Cure frontman has spoken about his adoration for the Bromley boy a number of times in recent years, highlighting his discovery of Bowie as a vital moment in his voyage of musical exploration.
“I listened to music before Bowie, obviously,” Smith once explained. “I have an older brother and he played me Hendrix, Cream and Captain Beefheart… all that type of stuff from the ’60s but David Bowie was probably the first artist that I felt was mine. He was singing to me.
“He [Bowie] was the first album I ever bought, Ziggy Stardust was the first vinyl album I ever bought. I always loved how he did things as much as what he did. I love that idea of being an outsider and creating characters.”
He added, “I look back at some the things we’ve [The Cure] done and I can see echoes of some of Bowie’s stuff in it. I got my dream come true when he invited me to sing with him at his birthday in New York. That was a fantastic night, unreal actually for something like that to happen”. Of course, that one night in New York’s Madison Square Garden, performing tracks ‘The Last Thing You Should Do’ and ‘Quicksand’ is an evening that has lived long in his memory.
When Smith was growing up in Crawley and stumbled upon Bowie, something clicked for him that day, but never in his wildest dreams did he imagine one day they’d be sharing a stage. However, he savoured every second they spent on stage and lost himself in the moment.
See the clip, below.