I hate to categorize the Cure with 80s bands because to me, the Cure and their music are absolutely timeless. They didn’t start in the 80s and their success has continued long past the end of the decade. But the Cure’s 80s music is what catapulted the band into cult-like stardom.
In the 80s, people became fanatic about music. New musical genres and a little station called MTV made music more personal and easier to access. So, subcultures became rampant.
One of the most notable 80s subcultures was the new wave movement. Some new wave music was labeled modern rock. Much of it would evolve into the gothic realm.
Mod 80s People
In the 80s, people who listened to new wave 80s music and wore dark clothing sometimes accompanied by pale face makeup were labeled “mods.” Today, this style is generally considered gothic (“goth”) or emo.
Because of their music and dress style, the Cure became affiliated with the gothic subculture, although Robert Smith, the Cure’s lead singer, has stated that he doesn’t personally use the “goth” label. Many other 80s bands were happy to slap a label on, but the Cure was more focused on their own artistry. In 2006, Robert Smith said, “It’s so pitiful when ‘goth’ is still tagged onto the name The Cure.” He went on to add, “We’re not categorizable. I suppose we were post-punk when we came out, but… I just play Cure music, whatever that is.”
Enigmatic 80s Music
The Cure originates from West Sussex, England. The band was formed in 1976 but has undergone several changes in its lineup since then. The only constant in the Cure is Robert Smith, who is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and principal songwriter.
Their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, came out in 1979 and established The Cure in the post-punk, new wave movements that were sweeping Great Britain. By the early 80s, their music had a distinctly dark edge and this sound along with the band’s style linked them to the gothic rock scene.
Displeased with the band’s dreary reputation, Robert Smith wanted to inject more pop sensibility into their 80s music. The result was 1982′s “Let’s Go to Bed,” a fun, frolicking tune about doing the nasty. Spin Magazine said, “The Cure have always been an either/or sort of band… [Either] Robert Smith is wallowing in gothic sadness or he’s licking sticky-sweet cotton-candy pop off his lipstick-stained fingers.”
But the Cure would never become one of the many trendy 80s bands that rose and fell throughout the decade. Their unique sound set them apart and helped them gain mainstream success without sounding like every other 80s group. In 1992, when asked about the Cure’s unique sound, Robert Smith stated, “I think when people talk about the ‘Cure sound,’ they mean songs based on 6-string bass, acoustic guitar, and my voice, plus the string sound from the Solina.”
Unusual 80s Bands
In the 80s, The Cure became somewhat of a hit machine. They reached an international audience and were eventually recognized as the single most successful alternative band of all time. In fact, The Cure was one of the first alternative 80s bands to achieve commercial success, and they did it before alternative rock became mainstream.
- At least two films have used Cure songs as film titles: Boys Don’t Cry (1999) and Just Like Heaven (2005).
- Robert Smith appears in an episode of South Park in which Kyle yells “Disintegration is the best album ever!”
- The Cure has had at least 19 hit singles and has sold 27 million albums (2004)
- They have released thirteen studio albums and more than thirty singles.
In the 80s, people discovered the Cure. Today, people still adore them.
The Duran Duran video, “Rio,” was the first video I ever saw on MTV. That’s not surprising, since Duran Duran was one of the most heavily played 80s bands on Music Television. In fact, they put out some of biggest 80s music hits and enjoyed heavy rotation on most radio stations as well.
They came from Britain and were part of the second British Invasion, which included tons of 80s bands who brought rock, pop, and new wave music over the pond and into the melting pot.
Originally created by Nick Rhodes, John Taylor, and Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy, Duran Duran found success after switching up band members until the band consisted of Rhodes and Taylor along with Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor, and lead singer Simon Le Bon. Contrary to rumor, none of the Taylors are related.
Duran Duran rolled into commercial success with their 80s music and put out hits into the 90s. They’ve had fourteen hits in the UK Singles Chart Top Ten and twenty-one of their songs have reached the Billboard Hot 100. The band has sold over 70 million records to date. That’s totally awesome for these talented British babes!
And it’s no wonder. Together, the five-piece band is sheer, lip-smacking eye candy. In the 80s, what girl didn’t have one (if not all) members of Duran Duran pinned to her wall? Their pretty faces probably graced the walls in a few boys’ bedrooms as well.
Commercial Appeal for 80s Bands
Being a band of pin-ups had its pros and cons. Their undeniable good looks added to the group’s commercial appeal and undoubtedly helped them sell records. However, those lovely visages annoyed naysayers who referred to them as less-than-serious musicians. That’s right, some people accused Duran Duran of being nothing more than a boy band.
But the boys from Duran Duran took their music seriously, and consistently produced cutting-edge rock with a new wave flavor and lyrics that bordered on poetry.
They were also adept at producing catchy, popular 80s music videos. Remember, this was back when many 80s bands built entire careers around videos. And they could, because in those days, MTV actually played music videos. Some of their most popular videos were “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Wild Boys,” “The Reflex,” “Girls on Film,” and “Rio.”
80s Music Facts – Duran Duran
The band’s career has been packed with interesting moments. Here are a few fast facts about Duran Duran:
- During Live Aid, a charity packed with the hottest 80s music performers of the decade, Simon Le Bon botched the last note while performing the song “A View to a Kill,” and it became known as the note heard round the world.
- The band was named after a villain, Dr. Durand Durand, from sci-fi movie Barbarella.
- In 1985, members of Duran Duran tackled side projects, forming two new 80s bands. Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes joined under the moniker Arcadia and put out one album, So Red the Rose. John and Andy Taylor hooked up with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson to form the band Power Station.
If you lived during the 80s, you better know who these guys are. They helped define 80s music and put an attractive spin on what 80s bands could look like. Duran Duran is still out there today making music so they are not gone and they most certainly not forgotten.