For 10 of the 20 years on my little 80s radio program, STUCK IN THE 80s, on WMPG community radio in Portland, Maine, I aired a special series called FAST FORWARD, which featured new music from 80s artists, reissues, new covers of 80s songs, and artists who had nothing to do with the 80s but whose music was inspired by the 80s and sounded like it could have come from there.
Last Sunday (10.9.2016), I aired the first installment in a five-part series, titled THE NEXT GENERATION, highlighting those non-80s artists that kept the 80s revolution going well past Y2K.
With 17 shows left to go before I retire the show from WMPG on my 50th birthday in February, four of those remaining shows will be dedicated to the FAST FORWARD: THE BEST OF 2000-2016 series. The next installment airs tonight (10.16.16), and it’s all dedicated to The Cure.
Between 2000 and 2016, The Cure released three new albums, a live album, and three compilations, including the amazing 4-CD box set from 2004, JOIN THE DOTS: B-SIDES & RARITIES 1978-2001 (THE FICTION YEARS). I’ll be dipping heavy into that tonight, as well as some of their music Y2K onward. Mainly, though, tonight’s show will feature some excellent covers of Cure gems. To my knowledge, no other band has been covered more since 2000 than the British Goth legends. In fact, on the show I will feature four different covers of one song by The Cure – 1983’s “The Lovecats.”
The original version of that fun music catnip, “The Lovecats” was released this week in October 1983 and was not initially featured on any album, though it was later included on the compilation JAPANESE WHISPERS, released later that year.
According to a number of Robert Smith’s fans (though not confirmed), he was inspired to write “The Lovecats” after reading THE VIVISECTOR, a 1970 novel by Australian author Patrick White. Without giving anything away in the novel involving cats, I can say that according to the author, “the cats symbolize the most innocent and vulnerable members of society, and the casual cruelty with which they sometimes meet their fate.”
The band’s U.K. homeland loved “The Lovecats” so much, it became their first Top 10 hit there, reaching No. 7. It also reached No. 6 in Australia, No. 15 in Ireland, and No. 23 in New Zealand.
As mentioned before, “The Lovecats” has been covered a number of times, mainly since 2000, including covers by English Trip Hop artist Tricky, Canadian Indie Rock singer Luke Doucet, English Alt-Rockers The Hotrats, Throwing Muses co-founder Tanya Donelly, and in 2005, longtime Pop superstar Paul Anka covered “The Lovecats” on his 2005 Swing Jazz covers album, ROCK SWINGS. I don’t have the strength to play that version, though I do have it.
I love cats and I love “The Lovecats,” though truth be told, I wasn’t introduced to this song until prolly the end of the 80s. But I’ve loved it ever since, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who doesn’t like this song. It’s three minutes and 33 seconds of fun Alt-Rock perfection, with some New Wave and Jazz thrown in for good measure. Meow…