The Cure's Close To Me has a harrowing back-story

21 April 2019, 18:00 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 15:07

Robert Smith explains the rather creepy story behind the classic 1985 single…

Close To Me is one of The Cure's most famous hits, but did you know it was inspired by Robert Smith's childhood bout of chicken pox?

The singer added the lyrics to the 1985 track at the "last minute" as he wasn't sure the band had produced anything musically that would pair with the words he'd written. “Originally it was a much more upbeat song,” he recalled.

He told Q magazine: “The words were actually about this sense of impending doom that I used to get.

“I had chicken pox when I was really young and it started there.

"I used to get these horrible, nightmarish visions of this head that used to hover in a chink of light that used to come when the bedroom lights were turned off and the door was just ajar."

"The shaft of light that came from the hallway used to illuminate this patch of wallpaper and it would come to life and prophesise doom to me through the night whenever I put my eyes in that general direction.”

Robert Smith of The Cure in 1985
Robert Smith of The Cure in 1985. Picture: Frédéric REGLAIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

This vision gave The Cure’s Head On The Door album its title, which was recorded after a hectic period in which Smith was also the guitarist in Siouxsie And The Banshees… and had recorded an LP with his own side project The Glove.

“It came back to me when I was writing the album. I was running myself into the ground a little bit and I started to suffer. I suddenly also started to get the same hallucinations, which was very odd.”

The Head On The Door also included the hit In Between Days.

"The song was essentially about those two things, but at the last minute I tried singing them over this jaunty bassline and drum pattern and it just clicked."

Smith has also claimed that the title Close To Me came from the idea that the song was being sung as the protagonist was getting into bed at the end of a bad day: “I never thought tonight could ever be this close to me.”

Video director Tim Pope famously interpreted this idea by having the five-piece band packed into a tiny wardrbobe… which was perched perilously on the edge of a clifftop. The wardrobe inevitably tips over and falls into the sea below.

The video was followed up with a look at what happens next when the song was remixed in 1990:

Robert Smith in 1985 and the reissue of Boys Don't Cry

The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry: why this classic song wasn’t a hit first time

Robert Smith of The Cure in 1985

The Cure's Close To Me has a harrowing back-story

The Cure and Bananarama on TV in 1985

The Cure drunk dancing with Bananarama on TV is brilliant

The Cure in 1987

Where did The Cure get their name from?

Robert Smith of The Cure in 1989

How a wedding gift gave The Cure their biggest US hit


Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2021:  Anthony Kiedis, John Frusciante, Flea and Chad Smith

Red Hot Chili Peppers' 2022 UK tour dates: How to buy tickets

Sam Fender

Sam Fender adds new dates to 2022 UK Seventeen Going Under tour

2007 artists: Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A. and Calvin Harris

Only a mastermind can score 100% in this 2007 lyric quiz