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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
The Cure take the icon test
By Tim Weber
BBC News Online business editor

Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure
The Cure are still drawing the crowds
British Goth-pop band The Cure have been declared an 'MTV Icon', with 26 years of music making honoured at a tribute concert at Old Billingsgate Market in London.

Uh-oh... wasn't it just a few years ago that I bobbed along to The Cure's Inbetween Days?

Nope, I'm clearly getting old - it was the mid 1980s, at which point The Cure had already been around for some eight years.

Now, a good quarter of a century after starting out and with numerous platinum albums hanging on the walls of frontman Robert Smith, can The Cure really live up to their new iconic status?

The invitation-only event in London's old fish market was packed.

Teenage angst

Floating on a big screen above stage was a full moon, eerie enough to persuade any werewolf to give away his game.

None came forward, but the evening's compère Marilyn Manson was probably as good a replacement as one could find.

Manson, complete with trademark sneer and white face paint, played the role of story-telling uncle, taking the 1,000 strong crowd through a night of music and video flashbacks.

And there were plenty of glowing tributes from musicians and bands who claimed to have been influenced by The Cure's moody tunes.

The Cure on Top of the Pops
In the 1980s, The Cure regularly featured on Top of the Pops

From Limp Bizkit to Linkin Park, Embrace to Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dizzee Rascal to Metallica and many more - is there any musician out there who does not claim to have been under the spell of Robert Smith's yelps?

Kicking off the evening was probably the best tribute of them all, cover versions of Cure songs played by four bands that have carried the torch of teenage angst into the 21st century.

Skate punkers Blink-182 produced a relatively tame rendition of A letter to Elise, with Robert Smith joining them for All of This.

AFI did their fast and furious best with Just Like Heaven.

The tribute highlights, though, were an incredibly edgy version of Boys don't Cry played by Razorlight, and a thundering If Only Tonight We could Sleep performed by the Deftones.

Nothing pleased me more when, for technical reasons, the Deftones were asked to retake the song.

Subconcious recognition

During the many set changes of the evening, old Cure videos entertained the crowd - providing another shocking realisation: an incredible number of Cure songs and videos have entered our subconscious, just waiting to be hummed again.

Remember Inbetween Days, Lovecats, Let's go to Bed, Charlotte Sometimes, Close to Me, A Night like This, Just Like Heaven, Love Song, Lullaby, and the incomparable Friday I'm in Love... and many more.

The Cure in the early 1980s
The Cure have changed their image over the decades

So, the music is iconic, and Robert Smith is still clad all in black, with trademark eyeliner, red lipstick and wild hair.

But has the band grown as stale as Smith has chubby?

It was well past midnight when The Cure themselves finally took to the stage, and from the first riff it was obvious that they have managed to haul their music firmly into the 21st century.

The Cure may still be the masters of mourning, but their performance had an edge and drive that would do any Nu Metal band proud.

Even old favourites like Friday I'm in Love were - almost - purged of the popcorn sound of the New Wave 1980s.

It's The End of the World, proclaims one song on the band's most recent album.

The Cure, though, are far from being finished yet.

MTV Icon -The Cure will be shown in the UK on 31 October 2004 at 2100 GMT.

Review: The Cure's new album
28 Jun 04  |  Entertainment

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