Robert Smith, the oft-lipsticked frontman for The Cure, turns 57 years old today, and as we continue to wait for the long-promised 4:14 Scream, featuring 14 of the unreleased songs from the band’s 2007 recording sessions which resulted in their 2008 album 4:13 Dream, we thought we’d spotlight some non-Cure material on which Smith can be heard.
1. The Associates, “The Affectionate Punch” (1980) – Smith contributed backing vocals to the opening track – and title track – of the debut album by this Scottish band, led by the late, great Billy Mackenzie. Smith also turned up a few years later on “Even Dogs in the Wild,” a song released by the Associates on a flexidisc for Flexipop Magazine.
2. Reeves Gabrels, “Yesterday’s Gone” (2000) – Given that Smith had turned up at David Bowie’s big 50th birthday concert bash to sing on “The Last Thing You Should Do” and “Quicksand,” it’s not such a big stretch that Smith might also contribute to a solo project by Bowie’s guitarist, Reeves Gabrels. In fact, it was at that very concert that Smith and Gabrels first met. Just as a side note, Gabrels returned the favor by playing lead guitar on The Cure’s single “Wrong Number.”
3. Earl Slick, “Believe” (2003) – Clearly, Smith gets along with Bowie’s guitarists, as that’s arguably one of Slick’s most high-profile past gigs…although working with John Lennon and Yoko Ono ain’t too shabby, either! This was another instance where Smith’s agreement to contribute guest vocals resulted in a bit of payback: in turn, Slick added guitar to a remix of “A Forest” done by Mark Plati.
4. Blink-182, “All of This” (2003) – More than a few folks did a double take when word got out that Smith had contributed to a Blink-182 album, and in their defense, the band was kind of surprised when he agreed to participate. In an interview with Billboard, guitarist/vocalist Tom Delonge admitted that he didn’t think Smith would be into the idea, given the band’s perceived immaturity in the past, but it was “just amazing” when Smith responded and said, “’Nobody knows what kind of songs you are going to write in the future and nobody knows the full potential of any band. I really like the music you sent me.”
5. Junior Jack, “Da Hype” (2003) – If this doesn’t confirm that Smith was all over the damned place in 2003, we don’t know what will. When Jack corralled Smith to chime in on this single, it paid off handsomely: the song hit #1 on the US Dance chart.
6. Billy Corgan, “To Love Somebody” (2005) – There’s something rather magical about the idea that the lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins and the lead singer of The Cure getting together in the studio and deciding, “Say, let’s cover a Bee Gees song!” Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly how it went down, but that was the end result nonetheless, which is still pretty darned cool.