Cure's Robert Smith

Robert Smith is the brooding lead singer of the British goth-pop group the Cure. The group recently launched a world tour in support of its latest effort, Bloodflowers.

Smith was born April 21, 1959, in Blackpool, England. Along with drummer Lol Tolhurst and bassist Michael Dempsey, Smith founded the Easy Cure in Crawley, England, in 1976.

The band played dark nervy guitar-pop and made literary references in their enigmatic lyrics. A demo they made — featuring the Albert Camus-inspired "Killing an Arab" (RealAudio excerpt) — came to the attention of Polydor Records, which released it on the indie label Small Wonder at the end of 1978 under the band name the Cure.

In concert, the Cure highlighted their gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance, but their music was more diverse. Their debut LP, Three Imaginary Boys (1979), was praised by critics.

Pornography (1982) increased their dedicated following. Standing on a Beach: The Singles (1986) established the band as a major presence in the U.S. The double-length Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me gave the Cure its first U.S. top-40 hit, "Just Like Heaven," in 1987. Disintegration (1989) went top 20 in the United States, where "Love Song" became a hit and sent the band to American stadiums.

Wish (1992) went to #2 in the U.S. and spawned the hits "High" and "Friday I'm in Love." In 1997, the Cure released the compilation Galore, which featured the new song, "Wrong Number" (RealAudio excerpt).

In February, they released Bloodflowers, which included the singles "Maybe Someday" and "Watching Me Fall" (RealAudio excerpt).

Other birthdays Friday: Iggy Pop (born James Osterberg), 53; Alan Warner (Foundations), 53; Johnny Weider (Animals, Family), 53; Nicole Barclay (Fanny), 49; and Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), 41.