An early shot of The Cure (L to R: Lol Tolhurst, Michael Dempsey and Robert Smith) hanging on the railroad tracks. This photo was likely taken around 1976/1977.
I spent a fair amount of time recently pouring through nostalgic images and musical performances by The Cure while pulling my post about the band’s first show in Boston in 1980. The Internet will often reward you with great things. Such is the case with these magical photos of Robert Smith and his bandmates, some taken as early as 1976.
If my math is correct (numbers and Cherrybomb don’t go well together) Robert Smith and drummer Lol Tolhurst were just seventeen. Bassist Michael Dempsey probably bought booze for them as he was eighteen in 1976. After you let it sink in that members of The Cure were once teenagers just like all of us, I’ll ask you to come to the realization that unlike most of us they were already on a pretty clear trajectory for greatness.
When they weren’t in school together they were already busy writing songs and by 1977 were playing gigs to a fast-growing fan base. All this noise got the teenage Smith, Dempsey and Tolhurst signed to Fiction Records (run by Chris Parry who was also an early champion of The Jam and Siouxsie and the Banshees). By the time 1979 rolled around The Cure were ready to release their stellar first album Three Imaginary Boys and a couple of follow-up singles you may have heard before “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train.” So strap in and get ready for a trip to a time before Robert Smith’s signature electrified goth hair and lipstick was a thing and see The Cure looking more like the images from your old high school yearbook.
Michael Dempsey, Marc Ceccagno, Robert Smith, Allan Hill, and Lol Tolhurst taken sometime between 1976 and 1978.
Three Imaginary Boys, likely circa 1976/77.
Smith, Dempsey, and Ceccagno.
Smith, Dempsey and Tolhurst clowning around in paper hats.
Fun with mirrors, 1979.
Tolhurst, Dempsey and Smith, 1979.
Smith, Tolhurst and Dempsey, 1979.
Dempsey, Tolhurst, and Smith, 1979.
Robert Smith on stage in 1979.
Tolhurst, Dempsey and Smith posing with a giant-sized in utero fetus, 1979.
Dempsey, Smith, and Tolhurst, 1979.
HT: Bird Mad Girl