The band formed in 1976 in West Sussex, England. It was the product of several lineup and band name changes amongst school friends Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey, and Lol Tolhurst. They initially began a band, The Obelisk, for a one off performance, before forming Malice. They then became Easy Cure and signed a contract with German Label Hansa Records. Refusing to record covers, the group were dropped from the label. They renamed themselves The Cure and were picked up by the Fiction record label. Fiction released the band's debut album Three Imaginary Boys in 1979.
Before playing local pubs like the Rocket in Crawley and the Cambridge in Horley, the band played dances at their Methodist church, where they were members of the youth club.
The band's second album, Seventeen Seconds (1980), and their fourth, Pornography (1982), established the band's gothic rock sound, influenced by the members nihilistic attitudes at the time. Touring the Pornography album, the band adopted their signature style of wild hair and smeared lipstick.
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