Saturday, 24 December 2011
Listed below are the bands and singers featured for each month in 2011, with Madonna (above) featuring amongst numerous others. The December 2011 blogs can be found due right, and include articles on The Stranglers, Buzzcocks and The Cure.
The complete list for the year is shown below:
January 2011 - Pink Floyd / Blondie & Deborah Harry / David Bowie
February 2011 - Kate Nash / Pixie Lott
March 2011 - Madonna / Elvis Presley / Joy Division / Rolling Stones
April 2011 - Kinks / Genesis / The Saturdays
May 2011 - The Clash / Pet Shop Boys
June 2011 - Nirvana / Madonna / Pet Shop Boys / The Walker Brothers
July 2011 - Cliff Richard & The Shadows / Madonna / Rachel Stevens / Pink Floyd
August 2011 - Sophie Ellis Bextor & Theaudience / Blur / Pulp / Suede / Mansun / Madonna
September 2011 - Dannii Minogue / Queen / The Beatles / Madonna
October 2011 - Madonna / Elvis Presley
November 2011 - Madness / Madonna / Flaming Lips
December 2011 - Stranglers / Buzzcocks / Cure
To look at blogs from January to November, click on the relevant month, then for the blog you wish to look at, click on the relevant link that will then appear.
"You know you've got me Burning Up, Baby"
Sunday, 11 December 2011
When Hugh Cornwell left The Stranglers in 1990, it started off a lengthy and never ending stream of compilation releases. With the band continuing to exist via various lineup changes, this has provided numerous labels - including those to whom the band were never even signed to - the opportunity to release some sort of collection to cash in on the band’s ongoing existence.
To be honest, the majority of these releases were questionable even at the time of their release, it terms of what they were aiming to achieve, but some albums have proved to be better than others. This is the first of what will probably be a slightly randomly timed set of articles looking at the band’s compilations. Now, I am a sucker for a band logo, so I have decided to list as many compilations by the band that use their iconic logo in these blogs. Any compilations that are logo-less, but seem to have been issued with the band’s blessing or on a former label, will also be mentioned. Choice of formats will probably be the CD edition where it exists, but some vinyl entries are shown where such things don’t exist.
To clarify, we are dealing here with compilations designed to showcase previously released material. Live albums released “after the event” are not included, this might be worthy of a future blog in itself. For each album, I have listed the track listing, as this should give more of a view of exactly what is on each album. Where it is known a specific mix was used, this will be detailed, if not, it is assumed the album/original mix was used. The list is based around UK releases, but we start with one from overseas, as a one off.
(LP, IRS SP 70011)
The first compilation appeared in North America in 1980. Housed in a sleeve also used for the “Who Wants The World” single in the UK, the aim of this album was to showcase a number of tracks that appeared in the band’s homeland, but not the USA. The band’s previous UK album, “The Raven”, despite being thought of as the highlight of their career, failed to get a release across the pond and so this album appeared as a sort of stop gap release.
The first half of the LP consisted of five songs from “The Raven”, and the second half was devoted mostly to A sides and B sides unreleased Stateside. Both sides of the “5 Minutes” 7” were included, along with the aforementioned “Who Wants The World” and the 12” mix of “Bear Cage”, retitled “GMBH”. There was also a brief mega rarity, as a new song, “Vietnamerica”, was included, but this track did eventually appear as a UK b-side in 1981.
Original copes came with a free 4 track EP, but - like the “Don’t Bring Harry” EP from 1979 - several tracks were from solo outings by Cornwell and JJ Burnel. Indeed, the first song on the EP was a Burnel, not a Stranglers, recording. I am not sure if every copy of the album released included the free 7” - mine doesn’t - but if you want the full monty, then the EP also includes the b-side “Straighten Out” and “Choosey Susie”, originally available on the free 7” included in the UK edition of the 1977 debut LP “Rattus Norvegicus”.
Track listing: The Raven/Baroque Bordello/Duchess/Nuclear Device/Meninblack/5 Minutes/Rok It To The Moon/Vietnamerica/Bear Cage (12” Mix)/Who Wants The World
The Collection 1977-1982
(CD, Liberty CDP 7 46066 2)
In 1982, The Stranglers jumped ship from the EMI/United Artists/Liberty boat to join Epic. To commemorate their departure, EMI released this best-of. It would be the first of many releases by the label, who always loved cashing in on the “punk” era of the band. When the band resigned to EMI in the Noughties, it gave them an even bigger excuse to start releasing more best of’s.
For some reason, the decision was taken to include many - but not all - of the band’s singles, so lesser “hits” like “Nuclear Device” were shoved aside to make way for the “album only” likes of “Hanging Around”. Tracks that had appeared as AA sides of a 7” were excluded (so no “Go Buddy Go”) but selected non-album 45’s that had appeared as a ‘proper’ A side made the cut - namely “Walk On By”, “Who Wants The World”, “Bear Cage” and “Strange Little Girl”, the latter recorded specifically for the set. What I will say though, is that the album runs more or less in chronological order, so it’s not quite as random as it might seem.
An accompanying VHS was released, with an altered track listing, altered title, and altered cover, and is arguably of more interest than the audio edition. It has since been reissued on DVD, even though it contains - I think - nothing that is exclusive. Despite this, and the fact that there have been endless compilations which tend to make this one a bit redundant, it is still possible to get this album on CD. Something which cannot be said of the next release.
Track listing: Grip/Peaches/Hanging Around/No More Heroes/Duchess/Walk On By/Waltzinblack/Something Better Change/Nice N Sleazy/Bear Cage/Who Wants The World/Golden Brown/Strange Little Girl/La Folie
Off The Beaten Track
(LP, Liberty LBG 5001)
An attempt by EMI to try and capitalise on the band’s ongoing success whilst on Epic, this was a slightly flawed attempt at a “singles rarities” collection, surfacing in 1986. Everything on here, to it’s credit, was not currently available on a Stranglers studio LP at the time, but by keeping the release to a single slab of vinyl, various tracks that could have made it, didn’t.
What did you get? Well, A-side wise there was “Walk On By” and “5 Minutes”, AA-side wise there was “Go Buddy Go”, and there were nine other b-sides, but no “The Meninblack (Waiting For Em)”, to use just one example. You did also get “Mean To Me”, from the free 7” given with the UK “Black And White” album. Whilst the decision to put these items onto an LP was admirable, by simply missing selected rarities on the account of space, it just made the whole set a bit pointless.
Within a couple of years, the usefulness of the record was fully defunct, as 1988’s “Rarities” album did a better job of cobbling the odds and sods from the band’s past into a single set. The inclusion of “Go Buddy Go” allowed this LP to maintain a vague level of interest thereafter, as the track was absent from “Rarities”, but a 1989 singles collection would end up finally making this album rather superfluous.
Track listing: Go Buddy Go/Top Secret/Old Codger/Maninwhite/Rok It To The Moon/Love 30/Shut Up/Walk On By/Vietnamerica/Mean To Me/Cruel Garden/Yellowcake UF6/5 Minutes
(CD, EMI CDP 7 910722)
In 1987 and 1988, the seven albums the band had released on EMI were reissued on CD. Each release came with one or two bonus tracks, with the band’s singles being the source for these extras - no previously unreleased material was used. However, the majority of the band’s rarer items were deliberately left off the re-pressings, in order for them to appear on this release instead.
“Rarities”, simply because of the wealth of what it includes, remains one of the more impressive compilations in the band’s back catalogue. Not only did it include the “missing” b-sides, but you also got “Choosey Susie” again, both sides of the “Bear Cage” 12” (the A and B sides were extended exclusively for this release), plus the foreign language singles “Sverige” and “N’Emmenes Pas Harry”. Also included were four previously unreleased (commercially, at least) radio mixes of “Walk On By”, “La Folie”, “Peaches” and “No More Heroes”. The mix of the latter for radio was to edit it down length-wise, a strange choice for a song to be made shorter, as it wasn’t that long a song to start with!
Some years later, the band’s EMI era albums were reissued again, this time with additional bonus tracks, although nothing rare once more. At the same time, this album reappeared as “The Rarities” in a new cover, and in all honesty, a heavily revamped track listing, with many of the b-sides replaced by other rarities that were not on this original release (such as the “Tomorrow Was The Hereafter” fan club single), on the basis that they could now be found on the revamped reissues.
Track listing: Choosey Susie/Peaches (Edit)/Mony Mony/Mean To Me (“Celia And The Mutations” version)/No More Heroes (Edit)/Walk On By (Edit)/Sverige/N’Emmenes Pas Harry/Fools Rush Out/Bear Cage (12” Mix)/Shah Shah A Go Go (12” Mix)/The Meninblack (Waiting For ‘Em)/La Folie (Edit)/Rok It To The Moon/Shut Up/Old Codger/Yellowcake UF6/Vietnamerica/Love 30
Singles The UA Years
(CD, EMI 7917962)
In 1989, EMI issued what really should have been the last word singles-wise on the early part of their career. This release aimed to include all of the A-sides that the band had released on the likes of United Artists and Liberty between 77 and 82.
AA sides were also in, so “Straighten Out” and “Go Buddy Go” made the set. However, “London Lady”, which had appeared on the “Grip” 7”, was missing; indeed, it’s never really been thought of as a Stranglers single, despite the fact that it received equal billing on the cover of that debut 45.
“London Lady” aside (it was on the first LP, after all), nothing was really missing from this set, unless you wanted the 12” version of “Bear Cage” as well as the 7” one, but this didn’t stop EMI from issuing numerous more best-of’s after Cornwell left the band. A remixed version of “Grip” was issued as a single to help plug this album, but it’s the original mix that is included on this album. The remix would turn up on several later compilation albums instead.
Track listing: Grip/Peaches/Go Buddy Go/Something Better Change/Straighten Out/No More Heroes/5 Minutes/Nice N Sleazy/Walk On By/Duchess/Nuclear Device/Don’t Bring Harry/Bear Cage/Who Wants The World/Thrown Away/Just Like Nothing On Earth/Let Me Introduce You To The Family/Golden Brown/La Folie/Strange Little Girl
Greatest Hits 1977-1990
(CD, Epic 467541 2)
And so, as Cornwell waved farewell, and the band’s association with Epic also came to an end, this best of turned up at the tail end of 1990. A 14 track affair split equally between EMI and Epic singles, it came packaged in a superb sleeve depicting Stranglers records and memorabilia. The Cassette and CD editions took advantage of the extended playing time these formats offered, and added a bonus “hit” - “No Mercy”, from the Epic years unsurprisingly, thus destroying the 50/50 balance, and also messing up the chronological order of the album, as it was added at the very end of the record.
Cornwell’s departure was quite high profile, I seem to recall Radio 1’s Newsbeat program making a big reference to it, and it seemed to help this one sell - it stayed in the charts for the best part of a year, and at one point, started to climb back up the charts, eventually hitting the number 4 spot.
“Golden Brown”, from the EMI days, was reissued as a single by Epic in 1991 to coincide, whilst a remixed version of “Always The Sun” was also issued at the end of 90 - note also that a limited edition CD version of this release replaced the remix with a live recording from Cornwell’s last ever gig. Limited edition copies of the album appeared as a picture CD edition, shrink-wrapped with the CD booklet inlay removed and placed behind the CD case, but how many of these still exist “untouched” is open to question.
Attempting to squeeze 13 years of hits into a 50 minute LP was never going to work, so the set fell quite short of ticking all the boxes. Several singles that were never originally on a studio LP appeared - “Walk On By”, “Strange Little Girl”, “All Day And All Of The Night” - but many more were missing. Some of the latter period songs were edited - the edits are barely noticeable when compared to the LP, but I am reliably informed that “Nice In Nice”, “Always The Sun”, “Big In America” and “96 Tears” were all affected, the first three of these thus making their debut on CD.
Track listing: Peaches/Something Better Change/No More Heroes/Walk On By/Duchess/Golden Brown/Strange Little Girl/European Female/Skin Deep/Nice In Nice (Edit)/Always The Sun (Edit)/Big In America (Edit)/All Day And All Of The Night (Single Mix)/96 Tears (Edit)/No Mercy
Although “Greatest Hits” was issued as a farewell to Cornwell, it would certainly not be the last collection designed to cover the Mark 1 period of the band. A future blog will look at the compilations that surfaced after the Mark 2 line up had started recording, but which covered material from either the Cornwell and non-Cornwell years, or both.
Saturday, 10 December 2011
When I started this site, it was inspired by what was - I felt at the time - a record industry happily fleecing the fans, via the medium of multi formatted singles and endless reissues of albums I already owned. With the single now more or less destroyed by the soulless nature of the digital download, I am starting to soften up a bit more - I recently happily re-bought the debut Charlatans LP due to it’s new cover and extra unreleased material.
To some extent, many of the articles I written have kept to my original ambition, as I have zeroed in on artists who have released the odd career spanning box set over the years - the idea is still, at times, to make mention of these, as these releases could often be the quickest and cheapest way to get a lot of releases in one go. As far as Buzzcocks releases from the EMI days go, it was possible until a couple of years ago to get everything the band had released during their first lineup(s) by buying just TWO box sets. Quite impressive, I think. In this article, I shall detail what these two releases were, and how the history of the band had evolved in the run up to these releases.
(3xCD, EMI PRODUCT 1)
Buzzcocks had formed in 1976, and went through several line up changes before their first record. Led by Howard Devoto, with Pete Shelley on Guitar, their first release featured Steve Diggle on bass and John Maher on drums - the nucleus of the classic line up now in place. After a now famous support slot in their native Manchester with the Sex Pistols, the band released their debut EP in early 77, “Spiral Scratch”, on their own New Hormones label, one of the earliest independent releases (and for younger readers, this is where the term “Indie” really comes from!)
The EP soon sold out, as word of mouth began to generate interest around the band, and sizeable numbers of repressings took place in order to meet demand. Although this line up of the band went into the studio to begin work on an LP, Devoto left midway through, having become bored of the punk scene, and after more lineup changes, it was a revamped line up of Shelley on Vocals, Diggle on Guitar, Maher and new bassist Steve Garvey that eventually recorded the official debut LP, 1978’s “Another Music In Adifferent Kitchen”.
The band’s first major label 45, the incendiary “Orgasm Addict”, surfaced in late 77, recorded by an interim line up featuring Garth Smith instead of Steve Garvey. By August 79, the band had released seven more singles on the United Artists label, and a second LP, the classic “Love Bites”, released in September 1978 and regarded by many as the band’s finest album. A best-of set, “Singles Going Steady”, was released thereafter, which included both sides of the eight UA 45’s, with the A-sides on side 1, and the B-sides on side 2. Even today, it is still thought of as one of the finest “Greatest Hits” albums released by anybody, consisting as it does of a number of truly classic pop punk masterpieces where the quality never wanes.
1979 saw the release of the third LP, “A Different Kind Of Tension”, promoted by the “You Say You Don’t Love Me” 45. Although nobody quite knew it at the time, the band were on a slow downward spiral, epitomised in part by the album failing to dent the top 40. In 1980, the band released the first of three stand alone 45’s, known as “Part One”. In theory, a double A side single featuring two new songs, the consensus with AA side releases was that one side always got more exposure than the other, so the band opted against listing one song as an a-side, and the other as the double-A, but instead identified each side of the single by the use of symbols such as stars or plus-signs. Two more stand alone 45’s were issued the same year, under the titles of “Part Two” and “Part Three”.
In 1981, plans for a fourth album were abandoned, and even plans for a “Part Four” single were scrapped as the band ground to a halt. One of the songs from the “Part Four” session, “I Look Alone”, crept out instead on the Various Artists “C81” Cassette compilation. Buzzcocks were no more.
In 1989, EMI issued “Product”, a five-LP box set. The accompanying sleeve notes referred to the band in the past tense, but the band had reformed by the end of the year. The box set included, in their original sleeve, the three studio albums and the “Singles Going Steady” set. A bonus “incentive purchase” album, “Many Parts”, was included, which consisted of the Parts One to Three singles, “I Look Alone”, and eight previously unissued live recordings.
The CD edition squeezed all of this material onto just 3 discs. CD1 included the first two LP’s, CD2 included “A Different Kind Of Tension” and most of “Singles Going Steady”. Of the 16 tracks on “SGS”, four had appeared on earlier Buzzcocks studio LP’s, and so as there was only space on the remainder of the disc for the 12 remaining songs, it was these twelve only which appeared on CD2. “Many Parts” filled up CD3.
For many years, “Product” had the distinction of including everything the band had taped for United Artists, and even today, I think it is still the only way to get the live recordings on “Many Parts”. It’s a brilliantly impressive set, but with the three studio albums having being expanded in recent years with that old chestnut, “previously unreleased tracks”, and “SGS” having been reissued with extra tracks (and then superceeded by an even later singles compilation including everything the band released on 45 from 1977 to 2004), it’s lost a bit of it’s sparkle.
(14xCD, EMI 7243 5 51824 2 5)
“Spiral Scratch” was reissued soon after it’s original release, and was credited to “Buzzcocks With Howard Devoto”, so people would be aware that this was a different Buzzcocks to the one that had done ‘all the hits’. It was reissued on CD during the early nineties, meaning that it was possible to get (nearly) the entire Buzzcocks back catalogue on Compact Disc by buying this reissue and “Product”. The one missing song at the time was the live version of “Time’s Up”, as included on the Various Artists “Live At The Electric Circus” 10”.
In 2003, EMI released “Inventory”, which was designed to include all of the band’s singles from 77-81 in handily reissued CD form. Not only did it include “Spiral Scratch”, and the 12 UA singles the band had released, but it also included the US-only “I Believe”, released in edited form as a single by IRS in the States to help plug “Tension”.
The CD’s came in their original sleeves, although as some singles had been issued in two or three different covers back in the 70’s, it was therefore impossible for it to tick all the boxes. “I Don’t Mind” included “Moving Away From The Pulsebeat” as a bonus track, on the basis that the latter had surfaced as a promo only 12” at the time - it’s a shame EMI did not include this song on it’s own in it’s own sleeve in the box, something they did do on the Madness Singles Box the same year with the “Don’t Quote Me On That” promo. The “I Believe” disc added the album version, on the basis that the b-side, “Something’s Gone Wrong Again”, had already appeared as the b-side in the UK to “Harmony In My Head”, and was thus already included in the box.
“I Look Alone” was tagged onto the end of the “Part Three” disc, simply because it made sense to do so, and although much of this material can be found on “Product”, “Singles Going Steady”, etc, it’s a great little item, and a brilliant way of getting hold of these singles.
Whilst it may be quick to just buy these two releases and be done with it, I figured I should at least list the individual releases that more or less made up these two sets. For the studio albums, I have detailed the expanded reissues that came out a couple of years ago, as any novices should really go for these. The singles list details the original 7” pressings of the singles featured in “Inventory“. My Buzzcocks collection post-1989 has quite a few gaps, so I don’t feel qualified to talk about it just yet, but I would hope to cover the reunion years at some point in the future. There have also been several other releases post-1989 of pre-1989 material (live albums, Peel Sessions, etc), again, I hope to look at some of these at some point.
“EXPANDED EDITION” STUDIO ALBUMS
Another Music In Another Kitchen (2xCD, EMI 50999 207336 2 9)
Love Bites (2xCD, EMI 50999 207342 2 0)
A Different Kind Of Tension (2xCD, EMI 50999 207348 2 4)
SELECTED COMPILATION ALBUMS
Singles Going Steady (LP, Liberty LBR 1043)
Singles Going Steady (CD, 2nd reissue with material from all 12 UA singles, EMI 7243 5 34442 2 8)
Complete Singles Anthology (3xCD, all EP and A-side/B-side material from 77-81 and beyond, EMI 7243 5 71028 2 7)
Spiral Scratch EP: Breakdown/Time’s Up/Boredom/Friends Of Mine (7”, New Hormones ORG1)
Orgasm Addict/Whatever Happened To? (7”, United Artists UP36316)
What Do I Get?/Oh Shit (7”, United Artists UP36348)
I Don’t Mind/Autonomy (7”, United Artists UP36386)
Love You More/Noise Annoys (7”, United Artists UP36433)
Ever Fallen In Love/Just Lust (7”, United Artists UP36455)
Promises/Lipstick (7”, United Artists UP36471)
Everybody’s Happy Nowadays/Why Can’t I Touch It (7”, United Artists UP36499)
Harmony In My Head/Something’s Gone Wrong Again (7“, United Artists UP36541, different coloured sleeves available)
You Say You Don’t Love Me/Raison D’Etre (7”, Liberty BP 316)
I Believe (Edit)/Something’s Gone Wrong Again (US 7”, IRS IR 9010)
Part 1: Are Everything/Why She’s A Girl From The Chain Store (7”, Liberty BP 365)
Part 2: Airwaves Dream/Strange Thing (7”, Liberty BP 371)
Part 3: What Do You Know?/Running Free (7”, Liberty BP 382)
Thursday, 1 December 2011
When you have been a fan of a band for years, but don’t necessarily play their records day in day out, it becomes easy to forget on which format you first owned a particular song. I have seen The Cure a few times over the years, and as soon as the (lengthy) encore has approached, you pretty much expect “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Killing An Arab”. And yet, it is easy to overlook the fact that, in the UK at least, neither of these songs appeared on a Cure studio LP. Both were actually issued in the band’s homeland as stand alone 7” singles.
With the physical single now only being used by record companies who have on their books either the sort of act whose fans will buy anything on any format, or bands of an “Indie” persuasion who love the 7“ single in a retro-style fashion, I am becoming increasingly fascinated by these old “non album” 45’s, especially as very few are being made in physical form nowadays. So I thought it would be worth looking at The Cure’s UK Singles Discography, shining the spotlight specifically on those stand alone singles, and the various compilation albums that later collected them all up - apart from one.
Boys Don't Cry
The band released their debut 7”, “Killing An Arab”, on the Small Wonder label in late 1978, before re-issuing the single early the next year on Fiction, the label the band would remain signed to for nearly 25 years. Indeed, during those 25 years, The Cure seemed to be the ONLY band signed to the label. The b-side, “10.15 Saturday Night”, was included on the band’s debut UK LP “Three Imaginary Boys”. I have always thought that this 7” was a AA-side release, on the account that a video for “10.15” exists, but the latter was actually issued as a single in it’s own right in France, with a b-side also taken from the album, which explains my confusion. Nonetheless, the band have regularly performed both songs during their live shows, often back to back. By the end of 79, the band had released two more stand alone 45’s, “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Jumping Someone Else’s Train”. The b-sides on both these releases were also new and exclusive recordings, not to be found on “Three Imaginary Boys”.
In my Rolling Stones in the 60’s blog, I referred to how US record labels would often drastically alter a UK album for the Stateside market. To be honest, it’s a situation which has never quite gone away, and in the USA, the band’s debut LP, released in 1980, was titled “Boys Don’t Cry”. It included the three singles, plus the b-side of “Boys Don’t Cry”, “Plastic Passion”. Eight numbers from “Three Imaginary Boys” were included, along with a new song, “World War”. The album also got a release in the UK, as the band’s UK label figured that the public would be interested in a Cure album that housed the three 45’s issued up to that date.
Despite the fact that “Boys Don’t Cry” was not really a proper Cure LP, this did not prevent Fiction from releasing it on CD later on during the 80’s. However, the reissue differed from the LP and Cassette originals, most notably by removing “World War” from the set entirely, apparently because Robert Smith thought it was rubbish. This may explain why it was never on “Three Imaginary Boys” in the first place, and is now one of the hardest-to-find Cure recordings.
Charlotte Sometimes & Japanese Whispers
After a couple of albums and a single from each to help sell the accompanying product, The Cure’s next stand alone single was 1981’s monumental “Charlotte Sometimes”, probably their finest record ever. By now, the band had started to release singles on the new fangled 12”, and “Charlotte” dutifully appeared on the format. The b-side of the 7” edition of the single, “Splintered In Her Head”, appeared on side 1 of the 12” with the a-side, whilst the entire second side of the vinyl was taken up by a live version of “Faith”, the title track of their latest LP. This rarity is now on the expanded “Faith” Double-CD, reissued in 2005.
By the time the band had finished touring their next studio LP, 1982’s “Pornography”, the group were at breaking point. Drink, drugs, having toured a relentlessly gloomy record, it was all too much and the band went on hiatus. Smith joined Siouxsie And The Banshees, but when asked if The Cure had split up, he wasn’t actually too sure himself.
Smith did re-ignite the band before the end of 1982, although by now, the band consisted of just Smith and Keyboard Player Lol Tolhurst. Possibly due to the fact that they were now some sort of Synth-Pop duo, the band began heading off in a more pop/electronic direction, although they managed to get a drummer in to help record the two songs that would appear on their next single. “Let’s Go To Bed” was a reasonable hit, but sounded unlike anything the band had ever done before. Smith later claimed he had wished this song had been the b-side instead, and that the other song, “Just One Kiss“, had been the A-side. As well as being issued as a 7”, a 12” was also released which featured extended mixes of both sides of the single.
1983’s “The Walk” was a bigger chart hit, and was full blown synth-pop, with Smith and Tolhurst playing everything on the record. The format of choice was the 12”, which included three additional extra tracks, although rather strangely, “The Walk” appeared on side 2 of the single, and not side 1. In some overseas territories, the band released a mini album also titled “The Walk”, using the same cover. This release included all four songs from the 12”, “Just One Kiss” and the extended mix of “Let’s Go To Bed”.
By the end of the year, The Cure had expanded into a fully blown “proper” band again, a line up which would more or less be the group that recorded the next LP, 1984’s “The Top” (sort of). Another stand alone single surfaced in late 83, the jazzy genius-pop that was “The Lovecats”, issued on both 7” and 12” with different mixes of the track on each format. Despite sounding a million miles away from the likes of “Killing An Arab” or “Charlotte Sometimes”, “The Lovecats” was further proof that The Cure could “do pop” whenever they wanted, and would do so again and again in later years on the likes of “Why Can’t I Be You” and “Friday I’m In Love”.
Before the end of the year, Smith was asked to compile a Japanese only Mini Album, mainly due to the fact that the band had recorded an albums’ worth of material since “Pornography”, but without issuing an actual album. The world of the Japanese Mini Album is a fascinating one, and there are thousands of these releases in existence, used as a tool to house non-album material. Of the nine new songs released on the previous three singles, eight of the songs were to be included on the album - “Mr Pink Eyes”, from the “Lovecats” 12” was not be included, for whatever reason.
Repetition was out - so you only got the 7” mixes of “Let’s Got To Bed”, “The Lovcats” and “Just One Kiss”, and not the 12” versions. By the time the release was ready to go, Fiction decided that maybe the LP would be of interest to UK fans as well, and the album got a full blown release in the UK and other countries. The material has since eeked out on other releases, and when the band’s back catalogue was reissued in the mid-noughties, “Japanese Whispers” was ignored and is now out of print.
Standing On A Beach, etc.
By 1986, The Cure had released enough singles to warrant the release of a “Greatest Hits” collection, and in May of that year, the band’s first career spanning collection hit the shelves. Issued on a variety of different formats, with at times different titles, “Standing On A Beach” (the standard title) offered a fairly straight run through of the band’s UK 45’s in chronological order.
The vinyl edition offered the basic “Cure on 45” set, using - where they existed - the 7” versions of the singles. The only exception was “A Forest”, which used a hybrid mix of the edited 7” mix and the full length LP version. The CD edition, titled “Staring At The Sea”, added a number of bonus album tracks, thereby taking advantage of the additional playing time the format offered, although one such bonus was “A Night Like This”, which did turn up on the A-side of a US only EP “Quadpuss”, with a promo video being made as well.
The most important format though was the Cassette. With another variant title, “Standing On A Beach - The Singles And Unavailable B-Sides”, this format took advantage of the extended playing time cassettes could offer over CD. On side 1, you got the basic 12 track vinyl edition, whilst Side 2 included all of the band’s studio B-sides that had not made the “Boys Don’t Cry” or “Japanese Whispers” collections - hence the “unavailable” tag. Live B-sides of “normal” songs were not included, so the live versions of things like “Faith” were still only available on the original singles, and the 12” mix of “Just One Kiss” was still AWOL. This was not the first time The Cure had offered additional material on Cassette - I shall look at the band’s live and studio LP’s in greater depth in the future.
To tie in with the album, a new version of “Boys Don’t Cry” was issued as a single. Dubbed the “New Voice” mix, it featured a new Smith vocal over the original backing track. An extended remix adorned the 12” edition of the single, but neither mix made the album. Indeed, if we treat this release as a separate one to the 1979 original, then this to date remains the only stand alone Cure 45 that has not appeared again on a Cure compilation album.
Never Enough onwards
By the end of the 80’s, The Cure had more or less gotten out of the habit of releasing non-album singles, but would every so often go down that other route - recording a new song for a collection, and then releasing the track as a single in it’s own right. First up was 1990’s “Never Enough”. Included in remixed form on the band’s remix LP “Mixed Up”, the bog standard single offered the original “standard” recording of the track, although the remix turned up on the 12” format instead of the regular mix. A second single from “Mixed Up” appeared before the end of the year, as the remixed version of “Close To Me” was issued soon after. Some formats featured a remix of the remix on the a-side as well!
In 1997, the band issued “Galore”, a follow up compilation to “Standing On A Beach”, which covered the years from 1987 to 1997. Again, a thorough run through of the hits in order, the set included a new song, “Wrong Number”, at the end of the album, which was also issued as a single to coincide. Although the single appeared on several editions, it was the 12” and CD formats that offered the most interest, as they both included exclusive remixes of the track.
“Galore” seemed to mark the end of The Cure as left field chart bothering stars. The likes of Radio 1 began to ignore them for being “too old”, and even the record label seemed to decide that releasing singles was a bit pointless, as not a single 45 was taken from the next studio LP, 2000’s “Bloodflowers”. With the band contracted to release one more album for Fiction, 2001 saw the release of “Greatest Hits” - the title says it all. Trying to condense “Standing On A Beach” and “Galore” into a single CD was never going to be easy, and it wasn’t - the set concentrated quite heavily on material post-1982, with the likes of “Primary” and “Charlotte Sometimes” being ignored. Sacrilege. In an attempt to get people to shell out their hard earned cash for what was a bit of a shabby album, initial pressings featured a free bonus acoustic album, consisting of entirely new recordings of the old hits.
Not one but two new songs appeared on the album, one of which, “Cut Here”, was issued a single to help plug the LP. Although the single and album were the official signing off of the band from Fiction, there was in fact another release on the label, with 2004’s 4-CD Box Set “Join The Dots”. Primarily billed as a B-side collection, a sizeable chunk of unreleased material and other rarities were used to pad out the set. Every “proper” b-side the band had done made the set, but the choice of remixes that were included were slightly random. Several tracks from 1996’s “Wild Mood Swings” had been remixed to be used as b-sides for the 1997 single “Gone”, but only one of them made the box. Repetition, sometimes, was out - you got three different versions of the band’s cover of “Hello I Love You”, but the 12” mixes of “Just One Kiss” (again) and “A Japanese Dream” were absent. Still, it’s a decent set, even if the decision to fill up most of CD4 with alternate versions of album tracks seems a bit lazy.
Although there were rumours the band would throw in the towel back in 2001, 2004 also saw the group sign to Geffen and release a self titled studio album which spawned several singles. Another studio album, 2008’s “4.13 Dream”, saw the band release no less than four singles from the album - each single referred to the a-side as appearing in it’s “Mix 13” form, although I think they are the same mixes as featured on the album anyway, so not sure what all that is about. I assume each song was mixed 13 times and this was the final mix? Maybe??
I have listed below the bulk of the Cure’s UK singles discography. What I have not included are any singles that when released only offered material on album or the formats listed below, and thus no exclusive material - so several 2-track 7” singles are therefore omitted from the list, for example. Coloured Vinyl and Picture Disc editions are only listed where they include items of notable musical interest.
A number of Cure singles were issued on different “extended play” formats, but with identical track listings. For the most part, the formats listed below for such releases are from my own collection, and the other formats are mentioned in passing where relevant. Anything that does happen to be missing from the list, AFAIK, will provide you with nothing not already listed here.
For the ease of use, I have also listed the singles - for those issued on more than one format - that when first released did offer unique material, but which have in recent years, dipped in interest due to the “Japanese Whispers” and “Join The Dots” releases, which have made these rarities available again. I have detailed some of the singles which are thus ’affected’ and whose interest, in my view, is now to completists only. I have also omitted the mail order only EP releases and things like the “LaMent” flexi discs, as this would be worthy of a separate article.
Killing An Arab/10.15 Saturday Night (7”, Fiction FICS 001)
Boys Don’t Cry/Plastic Passion (7”, Fiction FICS 002)
Jumping Someone Else’s Train/I’m Cold (7”, Fiction FICS 005)
A Forest (7” Edit)/Another Journey By Train (7”, Fiction FICS 010)
Primary (12” Version)/Descent (12”, Fiction FICSX 12)
Charlotte Sometimes/Splintered In Her Head/Faith (Live) (12”, Fiction FICSX 14)
The Hanging Garden/One Hundred Years/A Forest (Live In Manchester)/Killing An Arab (Live In Manchester) (2x7”, Fiction FICG 15)
Let’s Go To Bed/Just One Kiss (7”, Fiction FICS 17, both songs included on “Japanese Whispers“)
Let’s Go To Bed (Extended Mix)/Just One Kiss (Extended Mix) (12”, Fiction FICSX 17)
The Walk/The Dream (7” Picture Disc, Fiction FICSP 18, also available as standard black vinyl 7”)
The Upstairs Room/The Dream/The Walk/La Ment (12”, Fiction FICSX 18)
The Lovecats/Speak My Language (7” Picture Disc, Fiction FICSP 19, also available as standard black vinyl 7”, but both tracks on “Japanese Whispers”)
The Lovecats (Extended Version)/Speak My Language/Mr Pink Eyes (12”, Fiction FICSX 19)
The Caterpillar/Happy The Man/Throw Your Foot (12”, Fiction FICSX 20)
In Between Days/The Exploding Boy/A Few Hours After This (12”, FICSX 22, later issued on CDV with bonus live tracks from “Cure In Orange“ VHS)
Close To Me (Extended Version)/A Man Inside My Mouth/Stop Dead (12“, Fiction FICSX 23, later issued on CDV with “New Day” as bonus track)
Half An Octopuss EP: Close To Me/A Man Inside My Mouth/New Day/Stop Dead (10”, Fiction FICST 23)
Boys Don’t Cry (New Voice Mix)/Pillbox Tales (7”, Fiction FICS 24)
Boys Don’t Cry (Extended 12” Dance Version)/Pillbox Tales/Do The Hansa (12”, Fiction FICSX 24)
Why Can’t I Be You/A Japanese Dream (7”, Fiction FICS 25, also available as double pack with extra live tracks from “Cure In Orange” VHS, b-side later included on “Join The Dots“)
Why Can’t I Be You (Extended Mix)/A Japanese Dream (Extended Mix) (12”, Fiction FICSX 25, CDV also exists with “Hey You!” as bonus track, as this was missing from original CD editions of “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me“ album)
Catch/Breathe/A Chain Of Flowers/Icing Sugar (New Mix)/Catch (Video) (CDV, Fiction 080 186-2, very rare, but as all b-sides are now on “Join The Dots“, other easier to find formats are worth hunting down)
Just Like Heaven (7” Mix)/Snow In Summer (7”, Fiction FICS 27)
Just Like Heaven (Remix)/Snow In Summer/Sugar Girl (CD, Fiction FIXCD 27, also on 12“, a-side now on “Galore“, b-sides on “Join The Dots“)
Hot Hot Hot!!! (Extended Mix)/(Remix)/Hey You! (Extended Mix) (CD, Fiction FIXCD 28, also on 12“)
The Peel Sessions EP: Killing An Arab (BBC)/10.15 Saturday Night (BBC)/Fire In Cairo (BBC)/Boys Don’t Cry (BBC) (CD, Strange Fruit SFPSCD 050)
Lullaby (Remix)/Babble/Out Of Mind/Lullaby (Extended Mix) (CD, Fiction FICCD 29)
Lovesong (7” Mix)/2 Late/Fear Of Ghosts/Lovesong (Extended Mix) (CD, Fiction FICCD 30, other formats exist in different coloured sleeves with various track listings)
Pictures Of You (Single Edit)/Last Dance (Live at Wembley) (Numbered Green Vinyl 7”, Fiction FICPA 34, also available on 2nd 7” with different b-side or CD with extra tracks, a-side on “Galore“)
Pictures Of You (Extended Version)/Last Dance (Live at Wembley)/Fascination Street (Live At Wembley) (12”, Fiction FICXA 34)
Pictures Of You (Strange Mix)/Prayers For Rain (Live at Wembley)/Disintegration (Live at Wembley) (Numbered Purple Vinyl 12”, Fiction FICXPB 34. All b-sides from these two 12“ singles are now on the “Entreat“ CD. “Strange Mix“ appears in retitled form on “Mixed Up“)
Never Enough/Harold And Joe/Let’s Go To Bed (Milk Mix) (CD, Fiction FICCD 35, also on 12“ with mix of a-side from “Mixed Up“ instead of normal version, and also on limited edition picture CD. “Never Enough“ now on “Galore“)
Close To Me (Closest Mix)/Just Like Heaven (Dizzy Mix)/Primary (Red Mix) (CD1, Fiction FICCD 36)
Close To Me (Closer Mix)/Just Like Heaven (Dizzy Mix)/Why Can’t I Be You (Extended Version) (CD2, Fiction FICDR 36, different p/s)
High (Trip Mix)/Open (High Mix) (Numbered Clear Vinyl 12” in see through sleeve, Fiction FICSX 41)
High/This Twilight Garden/Play/High (Higher Mix) (CD, Fiction FICCD39, in oversized box to hold “Wish” CD and the two forthcoming singles, plus card lyric insert)
Friday I’m In Love (Strangelove Mix)/Halo/Scared As You (Coloured Vinyl 12”, various colours available, Fiction FICSX 42, also on CD with LP version of a-side as bonus track)
A Letter To Elise (Edit)/The Big Hand/A Foolish Arrangement/A Letter To Elise (Blue Mix) (CD, Fiction FICCS 46, with lyric insert)
The 13th (Swing Radio Mix)/It Used To Be Me/The 13th (Killer Bee Mix) (CD1, Fiction 576 469-2)
The 13th (Two Chord Cool Mix)/Ovean/Adonis (CD2, Fiction 576 493-2, different p/s)
Mint Car (Radio Mix)/Home/Mint Car (Buskers Mix) (CD1, Fiction FICCD 52)
Mint Car (Electric Mix)/Waiting/A Pink Dream (CD2, Fiction FISCD 52, different p/s)
Gone! (Radio Mix)/The 13th (Feels Good Mix)/This Is A Lie (Ambient Mix)/Strange Attraction (Strange Mix) (CD1, Fiction FICCD 53)
Gone! (Radio Mix)/(Critter Mix)/(Ultraliving Mix)/(Spacer Mix) (CD2 in moving image sleeve, Fiction FICDD 53)
Wrong Number (Single Mix)/(Analogue Exchange Mix)/(p2p Mix)/(Crossed Line Mix)/(ISDN Mix) (CD, Fiction FICD 54)
Wrong Number (Single Mix)/(Dub Analogue Exchange Mix)/(Engaged Mix)/(p2p Mix)/(Digital Exchange Mix) (12”, Fiction FICSX 54)
Cut Here/Signal To Noise/Cut Here (Missing Remix)/(Video) (Enhanced CD, Fiction FICDD 55)
The End Of The World/This Morning/Fake/The End Of The World (Video) (Enhanced CD, Geffen 0602 498 62976 5)
Taking Off/Why Can’t I Be Me/You God Is Fear/Taking Off (Video) (Enhanced CD, Geffen 9864491)
The Only One (Mix 13)/NY Trip (7”, Geffen 1773441, also on CD)
Freakshow (Mix 13)/All Kinds Of Stuff (7”, Geffen 1774695, also on CD)
Sleep When I’m Dead (Mix 13)/Down Under (7”, Geffen 1778505, also on CD)
The Perfect Boy (Mix 13)/Without You (7”, Geffen 1780801, also on CD)
Hypnagogic States EP: The Only One (Remix)/Freakshow (Remix)/Sleep When I’m Dead (Remix)/The Perfect Boy (Remix)/Exploding Head Syndrome (Remix) (CD, Geffen 1782688)
As with any band who have done a b-sides set, many of the tracks listed above are on “Join The Dots”, meaning that for any single where the a-side was not remixed/extended/edited, the original 7” pressing would be of equal interest (such as the “Inbetween Days” 7”), as the b-sides are no longer “rare“. I would suggest you get “Join The Dots”, and take it from there.