"Out of all the bands that emerged in the immediate aftermath of punk rock in the late '70s, the Cure was one of the most enduring and popular. Led through numerous incarnations by guitarist/vocalist Robert Smith (born April 21, 1959), the band became notorious for their slow, gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance. But the public image often hid the diversity of the Cure's music. At the outset, they played jagged, edgy pop songs and they slowly evolved into a more textured outfit. As one of the bands that laid the seeds for goth rock, the group created towering layers of guitars and synthesizers, but by the time goth caught on in the mid-'80s, the Cure had moved away from the genre. By the end of the '80s, the Cure had crossed over into the mainstream not only in their native England, but also in the United States and in various parts of Europe.
Originally called the Easy Cure, the band was formed in 1976 by schoolmates Smith (vocals, guitar), Michael Dempsey (bass), and Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst (drums). Initially, the group was playing dark, nervy guitar pop with pseudo-literary lyrics, as evidenced by the Albert Camus-inspired "Killing an Arab." A demo tape, featuring "Killing an Arab," arrived in the hands of Chris Parry, an A&R representative at Polydor Records; by the time he received the tape, the band's name had been truncated to the Cure."