Amazing as it sounds, Goth Rock heroes The Cure have been together 40 years this year. And in their U.K. homeland, the band – led by singer, guitarist and songwriter Robert Smith – has amassed 34 hits on the U.K. singles chart. Out of those 34 hits, 23 reached the Top 40, and four of those reached the Top 10. Their highest-charting U.K. single to date is “Lullaby,” a No. 5 hit from The Cure’s eighth studio album, DISINTEGRATION.
Over here in the U.S., The Cure hasn’t fared as well as in their own country, but they’ve done alright for themselves, with three Gold records and five Platinum and Multi-Platinum records to their credit, as well as placing 14 songs on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 between 1985’s “Inbetween Days” and 1996’s “Mint Car.” And, along the way, three of those songs also managed to reach the Top 40 of the Hot 100 – 1987’s “Just Like Heaven” (No. 40), 1992’s “Friday I’m In Love” (No. 18), and on this week in 1989, they debuted with their second Top 40 hit, “Lovesong” (also from DISINTEGRATION).
“Lovesong” debuted in the Top 40 the same week as three other great songs – “Bust A Move” by Young M.C., “Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty and “Don’t Look Back” by Fine Young Cannibals. And “Lovesong” would surprise them all.
Out of all the songs on DISINTEGRATION, “Lovesong” is the fastest. It was also written by Robert Smith as a wedding present for his then-fiancée, Mary Poole. As for writing a love song, Robert Smith said, in a 2005 interview, “It’s an open show of emotion. It’s not trying to be clever. It’s taken me ten years to reach the point where I feel comfortable singing a very straightforward love song.”
As for the song’s place on DISINTEGRATION, in the same interview, Robert Smith said that, without “Lovesong,” the album would have taken on a whole different feel: “That one song, I think, makes many people think twice. If that song wasn’t on the record, it would be very easy to dismiss the album as having a certain mood. But throwing that one in sort of upsets people a bit because they think, ‘That doesn’t fit’.”
“Lovesong” would spend a week at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in October 1989, held off from No. 1 by Janet Jackson’s huge hit, “Miss You Much.” It would also reach No. 2 on BILLBOARD’s Modern Rock chart and No. 27 on the Mainstream Rock chart. Around the globe, “Lovesong” reached No. 18 in the U.K., No. 13 in Ireland, the Top 30 in Canada and Germany, and the Top 40 in New Zealand. It’s also been covered by the American Rock band 311 for the 2004 Adam Sandler film, 50 FIRST DATES, and in 2011 by the biggest pop star on the planet right now, Adele.
Though they haven’t released a studio album since 2008, The Cure toured this year (including Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels on guitar), playing Boston in June 2016 on a tour that promised “37 years of Cure songs, mixing hits, rarities, favourites, and as yet unreleased tracks in a brand new stage production.”
Over 20 years of hosting and producing STUCK IN THE 80s, my little 80s radio show on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine, “Lovesong” has consistently been one of THE most-requested songs in the show’s history. Though not my favorite song by The Cure, I still have the import Fiction Records 12” single and the domestic Elektra Records CD single, and to borrow from the song’s lyrics, it’s a song of which I can safely say, “However long I stay, I will always love you…”