Sunday 16 April 2023


For a time in the 80's and 90's, spring would coincide with a new Cure album, their latest work would often be released in mid-April or early May. A John Peel session, would often precede the album release with early versions different from the finalised studio tracks.

The band recorded six sessions for the BBC Radio 1 John Peel show. As you will have noted this upload does not included the word 'Complete'. The very first session that the Cure recorded for the Peel show was officially released on the Strange Fruit label in 1988 on vinyl and CD.

This post includes the five unreleased sessions that the band recorded between 1979 and 1985. Two of these have been upgraded and if you already have the BBC sessions by the Cure you will need this post as it includes the superior upgraded sources.

Session #2
Captured the spirit far more than the subsequent album versions. Michael Dempsey declared the first two sessions for Peel "as the defining sound of the early Cure." Desperate Journalist... is Robert Smith's interpretation of a disparaging review of the debut album by NME journalist, Ian Penman and is set to the rhythm of 'Grinding Halt'. The other tracks remain crucial, 'Subway Song' is especially chilling and 'Plastic Passion' is slightly faster but less angrier!

Session #3
Is slower and set to a darker pace than the final album versions, no mean feat when you consider 'Seventeen Seconds' as being the first of a doom laden trilogy, along with 'Faith' (1981) and 'Pornography' (1982). Little of the Cure's previous sound remained.

Session #4
A session that ranks among the greatest of the Cure's BBC performances. 'Cold Colours' is radically different from it's final version 'Primary'. 'Forever' never made it onto a studio album but did appear as a 1984 live cut on the album 'Curiosity'. 'The Holy Hour' and 'All Cats Are Grey' are more familiar but lyrical changes and passionate performance mark them out from the album tracks.

Session #5
Only three tracks this time as the fourth 'The Hanging Garden' was incomplete because of time constraints and subsequently not broadcast. Spectacular and aggressive, only 'Siamese Twins' with its desolate, sparse and jangly guitars would temper the raging anger of this haunting session.

Session #6
This remarkable session was their first in over four and a half years for Peel. Offering a more thoughtful side to the band than the public image of the Cure as successful charting pop band. The sound has echoes of the earlier 1980-81 sessions.

01. Grinding Halt
02. Desperate Journalist In Ongoing Meaningful Review Situation
03. Accuracy
04. Subway Song
05. Plastic Passion
John Peel Session #2 BBC Studio Maida Vale 4, London.
Recorded 9 May 1979

06. A Forest
07. Seventeen Seconds
08. Play For Today
09. M
John Peel Session #3 Maida Vale Recording Studios, London. Recorded 3 March 1980

10. The Holy Hour
11. Forever
12. Primary (aka Cold Colours)
13. All Cats Are Grey
John Peel Session #4 BBC Langham Studio 1, London. Recorded 7 January 1981.   

14. Siamese Twins
15. One Hundred Years
16. The Figurehead
John Peel Session #5 Maida Vale Recording Studios, London. Recorded 21 December 1981

17. The Exploding Boy
18. Six Different Ways
19. Screw
20. Sinking
John Peel Session #6 BBC Maida Vale Studio 5, London. Recorded 30 July 1985 

Link 1 (session #2-4) 

Link 2 (session #5-6) 

The Band: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup & Lol Tolhurst (session 3 only Matthieu Hartley, session 6 only Boris Williams) 

N.B. The dates on this post are correct and are dated from the actual session recording and not the over-the-air broadcast.


  1. Thank you for this! Almost makes up for me missing out on tickets for the US tour. Almost....!

  2. No it doesn't. I hope you managed to hear some of the European leg boots. The Basel, Switzerland show in November has a great audience recording circulating. The final Wembley show on 13 December has an interesting set list and great performance too. See the Dimeadozen torrent site for further info.

  3. Excellent but why no session 1?

    1. I guess because it was released officially (SFPSCD050)

  4. many thanks in taking the time to out this together,
    very much appreciated.

    1. My pleasure and thanks for taking the time to leave some comments. Nice work on your blog I downloaded the Bunnymen and will check it out over the weekend. All the best, thebasement67