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  • Three Imaginary Boys [Deluxe Edition]
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Three Imaginary Boys [Deluxe Edition] Box set, Original recording remastered

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Image of album by The Cure


Image of The Cure


Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Out of all the bands that emerged in the immediate aftermath of punk rock in the late '70s, few were as enduring and popular as the Cure. Led through numerous incarnations by guitarist/vocalist Robert Smith (born April 21, 1959), the band became notorious for its slow, gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance, a public image that often ... Read more in Amazon's The Cure Store

Visit Amazon's The Cure Store
for 143 albums, 28 photos, discussions, and more.

Product details

  • Audio CD (29 Nov. 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Commercial Marketing
  • ASIN: B00066FMVU
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 114,641 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. 10:15 Saturday Night 3:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Accuracy 2:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Grinding Halt 2:49£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Another Day 3:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Object 3:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Subway Song 1:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Foxy Lady 2:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Meat Hook 2:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. So What 2:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Fire In Cairo 3:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. It's Not You 2:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Three Imaginary Boys 3:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. The Weedy Burton0:53£0.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. I Want To Be Old ('Easy Care' Sav Studio Demo 10/77) 2:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. I'm Cold (Sav Studio Demo 11/77) 3:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Heroin Face (The Rocket Live 12/77) 2:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. I Just Need Myself (PSL Studio Demo 1/78) 2:12£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. 10:15 Saturday Night (RS Organ Home Demo With Vox 2/78) 4:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. The Cocktail Party (Group Home Demo) 4:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Grinding Halt (Group Home Demo 4/78) 3:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Boys Don't Cry (Chestnut Studio Demo 5/78) 2:43£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. It's Not You (Chestnut Studio Demo 5/78) 3:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. 10:15 Saturday Night (Chestnut Studio Demo 5/78) 3:39£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Fire In Cairo (Chestnut Studio Demo 5/78) 3:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Winter (3IB Studio Out-Take 10/78) 3:45£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Faded Smiles (aka I Don't Know) (3IB Studio Out-Take 10/78) 2:15£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Play With Me (3IB Studio Out-Take 10/78) 3:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. World War 2:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Boys Don't Cry 2:36£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Jumping Someone Else's Train 2:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Subway Song (Live In Nottingham 10/79) 2:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Accuracy (Live In Nottingham 10/79) 2:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen20. 10:15 Saturday Night (Live In Nottingham 10/79) 4:38£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Maybe it was youthful exuberance or perhaps it was the fact that the band itself was not pulling all the strings, Three Imaginary Boys is not only a very strong debut, but a near oddity (it's an admittedly "catchy" record) in the Cure catalogue. More poppy and representative of the times it was made that any other album during their long career, Three Imaginary Boys is a semi-detached bit of late-'70s English pop-punk. Angular and lyrically abstract, its strong points are in its utter simplicity. There are no dirges here, no long suites, just short bursts of energy, and a rather strange cover of Hendrix's "Foxy Lady." For some, this is the last good Cure record, many fans of this album being in no way prepared for the sparse emptiness and gloom that would be the cornerstone of future releases. For the most diehard Cure-head, however, it's an interesting side note, hard to place in the general flow of the band's discography. Cure leader Robert Smith has voiced many times over his mixed feelings about the record, most notably the cover art, (the three "representative" appliances on the cover, the lack of a real track listing -- all the songs are represented with arty type pictures -- and in no real order) and the production, which at times is admittedly a little muddy, but even that lends it a certain youthful charm. What the Cure would do next wasn't entirely obvious to the listener of this album, but there are some definite hints. --Chris True, All Music Guide

BBC Review

A fine year for alienation, 1979. The Clash made the apocalyptic London Calling; Manchester's Joy Division debuted with the brutally despairing Unknown Pleasures; Gerry Dammers and co. set the Midlands' malaise to a ska beat with The Specials. Meanwhile, in darkest Crawley, 20-year-old Robert Smith was forging his own take on the post-punk zeitgeist. Twenty-five years on, and in a beautifully repackaged edition, Three Imaginary Boys stands as one of that year's most audacious albums.

Forget about The Cure's later wallowings in gothic gloom and drawn-out suffering. After dark, Fiction Records' boss Chris Parry smuggled his budget-lite band into the studio where The Jam were recording All Mod Cons by day. Smith and the boys used that band's equipment to make midnight hay. From declamatory opener "10.15 Saturday Night", through the power-pop of "Grinding Halt" and the 999-sounding "Foxy Lady" to the lyrically abstract "Fire In Cairo" and psychedelia-tinged title track, TIB maintains a Japanese-water-torture insistence.

Recorded practically live over three nights with few over-dubs, the album is stark, angry and strafed with Smith's urgent guitar. Punk's predecessors and contemporary nightmares made it into the mix - "Object" evokes Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie; "Subway" could be sister to The Jam's "Down In The Tube Station At Midnight". Parry and engineer-cum-producer Mike Hedges gave the collection an icy veneer that upset Smith in 1979, but now feels starkly reflective of its moment.

Disc 2 of this deluxe edition contains twenty previously unreleased Cure rarities from 1977-1979. Home and studio demos track the development of many TIB tracks and of others like "Boys Don't Cry"; out-takes and live versions further mark the band's evolving sound. Smart cover notes reveal the album's genesis and Smith's own thoughts. Exciting, mascara-free and surprisingly upbeat, Three Imaginary Boys captures a key British talent let off the leash for the first time. It also helps recolour a band best known for inky melancholy. Available only in black? On this evidence, The Cure's music was much more than that. --Simon Morgan

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 Mar. 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first got this on LP from my brother in the late eighties when I was 15 or 16 and have been listening to it ever since. In an age where over production is the norm, the almost minimalistic sound, quirky riffs, Smith's jerky vocals and off-beat subject matter still make Three Imaginary Boys a breath of fresh air. As one of the Cure's ealiest works, it captures them in post-punk, pre-gothic mode. The tracks it features will (sadly) never be remembered as the Cure's finest, though songs such as 10:15 Saturday Night, Fire in Cairo, Acuracy and Meat Hook will always stand up against later classics such as Love Cats. Sadly, my turntable has passed away but this is one of the few LP's I have that I've also bought on CD..... need I say more?
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 July 2004
Format: Audio CD
The best way I cxan describe this album is that listening to it is like spending a Friday night sitting in on a band finding their feet rehearsing their set and you gradually realise they are magnificent.
My brother bought this record in 1979 after seeing the band at the Marquee, and after our initial fascination with the cover and anonymous songs fell in love with it. It was the first album of the post-punk era to be unashamedly catchy and yet safely uncommercial, a very difficult balance to strike.
The atmopshere is incredibly gloomy and yet in a very believeable way, not as some art-student pose. The gloom is in the mood more than the lyrics. And best of all, the band display a fine sense of humour that makes this album their most diverse collection of songs.
10.15 is a classic piece of introspection, incredibly assured: a character and mood is established within about 10 seconds thanks to the precision yet not virtuoso playing and the like most of the record it sounds deceptively effortless.
One of the best tracks for me is Another Day, one of the bleakest but most distrinctive moments. And Subway Song is an instant classic and will always remain a great party trick piece.
Fire in Cairo and Grinding Halt are bright yet dark snappy tracks, but the two stand out tracks on the second half of the record are the title track and the extraordinary So What? Over a slick and catchy tune Smith drunkenly reads out the words on the back of a bag of sugar, occasionally wandering into something else, perhaps the original lyrics? It's a brilliant, self-deprecating moment that could have started a whole trend! And it's oddly infectious after a few listens, as well as being very funny.
And the title track is absolutely beautiful, and heartbreaking.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bad Monkey Mick on 13 May 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is pre goth Cure at its best. This sounds surpassingly modern today. Just compare what band like Bloc Party and Hot Hot Hot Heat are doing today to the sound of The Cure in 1979. Want to hear where Razorlight got their Golden Touch? Just listen to 10.15 Saturday Night. Songs such as Fire in Cairo and Accuracy are angular new wave guitar pop. Three Imaginary Boys and Another Day are the sound of the birth of goth. Object is an enjoyable piece of the Cure try punk. Despite a dodgy cover version (Michael Dempsey sung 'Foxy Lady)' this is a forgotten all time classic album.
The bonus discs highlights are the non album classics, Boys Don't Cry and Jumping Someone Else's Train. Here are also very rough demos of some of the album tracks. These are quite interesting insights into the composition of the finished songs. A glaring omission however is the excellent 'Killing an Arab' single.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Krista on 15 May 2009
Format: Audio CD
When I started to listen to the Cure I had only heard their "Friday I'm In Love" song, so basically I thought all of their songs were like that. I decided to start off with their very first album. At first I was a bit skeptical about it, it didn't sound at all as I'd expect it to sound! But then it grew on me and now I really really love it. Someone said it is very addictive, and I must admit, it indeed is! A great album by a great band :-) I highly recommend this one !
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By alaric everett on 5 Jan. 2008
Format: Audio CD
i felt i had to write in, as i'm just re-listening to it and i'm realising that there isn't one single track that i would skip- and i can't think of one other album in my 500 or so of which that's true- even blood on the tracks [come on lily, rosemary and the jack of hearts is OK, but only that].

fortunately these reviewers above have done the album justice, but i just wanted to add how brilliant, beautiful and charming this record is. i love the way he sings and he is a truly exceptional and innovative guitarist whose style can be seen in loads of what later came to be indie music from blur, mogwai and bloc party and so on.

this is definitely their best record and it works so well as there is a real flavour of all the different moods and styles they would play with over the years.

i partly wanted to write this cos i recently read that book on post punk 'rip it up and start again' that gave two paragraphs to the cure in over 550 pages- AND dismissed them as goth-lite no more than second rate siouxie and the banshees. this is an absolute travesty! make no mistake along with 'entertainment!' 'unknown pleasures' 'jeopardy'[another sadly overlooked classic] 'metal box' 'pink flag' 'crocodiles' 'singles going steady'... etc this is one of the few landmarks of that era.

wonderful angular [bass-driven] pop- my absolute favourite type of music. this record can be heard in so much alternative music that followed it- for me most interestingly in more recent times in razorlight [mixed with a bit of talking heads & television].
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