Three Imaginary Boys

Three Imaginary Boys
Three Imaginary Boys
Studio album by The Cure
Released 11 May 1979
Recorded Autumn, 1978
Genre Post-punk
Length 33:44
Label Fiction (UK)
Rhino (U.S. 2004 & 2006 releases)
Producer Chris Parry
The Cure chronology
Three Imaginary Boys
Seventeen Seconds
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Blender 3/5 stars [2]
Pitchfork Media (8.7/10) [3] 7/10 stars [4]

Three Imaginary Boys is English rock band The Cure's debut album, released in May 1979 by Fiction Records. It was later released in the United States, with a slightly different song line-up, as Boys Don't Cry.



"Foxy Lady", a soundcheck with vocals sung by Michael Dempsey, was not supposed to be on the album and was removed for the American release. Smith has stated that "songs like 'Object' and 'World War' and our cover of 'Foxy Lady' were [Chris Parry's] choice, even though they were diabolical and I hated them"[5] The record company decided which songs were put on the album, as well as the cover artwork, without Robert Smith's consent. For all Cure albums since, Smith has ensured he is given complete creative control over the final product before it goes on sale.

The band has performed as an encore "Three Imaginary Boys", "Fire in Cairo", "Boys Don't Cry", "Jumping Someone Else's Train", "Grinding Halt", "10:15 Saturday Night" and "Killing an Arab" (sung as "Killing Another") on the 2007/2008 4Tour (the singles "Boys Don't Cry", "Jumping Someone Else's Train" and "Killing an Arab" were on the American release).

"Subway Song" was last performed on the 1996 Swing Tour.

"Foxy Lady" was last performed on the 1992 Wish Tour.

"It's Not You" was last performed as part of a one-off gig in 1993.

In 2011 The Cure performed the album in its entirety over two dates for the Vivid Live festival at the Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia. The performances billed as The Cure: 'Reflections' were recorded for potential DVD release.

2004 re-release

The album was reissued on 29 November 2004 in the UK (7 December in the U.S.), and featured a second disc of unreleased material, including songs recorded under the band name "Easy Cure" with Porl Thompson. Since it features a variety of old songs, it is the only Deluxe Edition by the band which does not feature an alternate version of all the songs on the first disc. Some of the early booklets in the reissue had the lyrics missing, and were made available on The Cure's website in pdf form. All copies since have the lyrics.

The first single, "Killing an Arab", was excluded from the re-issue likely due to its controversial nature[citation needed] (see the article).

It was originally supposed to be released in early 2004 along with Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography but was delayed multiple times and was finally released by itself at the end of 2004.

There also exists a one-CD reissue. It was released on 5 September 2005 in the UK and 28 March 2006 in the US. The CD features the original album, but does not contain the bonus disc. It is also released in the standard jewel case, and not a box. In some countries, the Deluxe Edition has become a collector's item as production was phased out, being replaced by the more economic one-CD version.

Track listing

Original 1979 release

All songs written and composed by Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey and Lol Tolhurst, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "10.15 Saturday Night""     3:42
2. "Accuracy"     2:17
3. "Grinding Halt"     2:49
4. "Another Day"     3:44
5. "Object"     3:03
6. "Subway Song"     2:00
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Foxy Lady"   Jimi Hendrix 2:29
2. "Meathook"     2:17
3. "So What"     2:37
4. "Fire in Cairo"     3:23
5. "It's Not You"     2:49
6. "Three Imaginary Boys"     3:17
7. "Untitled" (hidden track a.k.a. "The Weedy Burton")   1:04

The album included an uncredited, final instrumental track informally called "The Weedy Burton". The fact was not acknowledged until the Deluxe Edition re-issue.

2004 Deluxe Edition

The first disc contains the original album, with the addition of "The Weedy Burton" as a regular thirteenth track, and slightly different track lengths. The second disc contains rarities 1977 to 1979.

Disc one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "10:15 Saturday Night"     3:42
2. "Accuracy"     2:17
3. "Grinding Halt"     2:49
4. "Another Day"     3:44
5. "Object"     3:03
6. "Subway Song"     2:00
7. "Foxy Lady"   Jimi Hendrix 2:29
8. "Meathook"     2:17
9. "So What"     2:39
10. "Fire in Cairo"     3:23
11. "It's Not You"     2:52
12. "Three Imaginary Boys"     3:32
13. "The Weedy Burton"     0:53
Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "I Want to Be Old" (SAV studio demo, October 1977, previously unreleased) 2:36
2. "I'm Cold" (SAV studio demo, November 1977) 3:21
3. "Heroin Face" (live in The Rocket, Crawley, December 1977, previously available on Curiosity) 2:40
4. "I Just Need Myself" (PSL studio demo, January 1978, previously unreleased) 2:14
5. "10:15 Saturday Night" (Robert Smith home demo, February 1978) 4:36
6. "The Cocktail Party" (group home demo, March 1978, previously unreleased) 4:17
7. "Grinding Halt" (group home demo, April 1978) 3:31
8. "Boys Don't Cry" (Chestnut studio demo, May 1978, previously available on Curiosity) 2:45
9. "It's Not You" (Chestnut studio demo, May 1978) 3:16
10. "10:15 Saturday Night" (Chestnut studio demo, May 1978) 3:41
11. "Fire in Cairo" (Chestnut studio demo, May 1978) 3:42
12. "Winter" ('TIB' studio out-take, October 1978, previously unreleased) 3:46
13. "Faded Smiles" (aka "I Don't Know"; 'TIB' studio out-take, October 1978, previously unreleased) 2:16
14. "Play with Me" ('TIB' studio out-take, October 1978, previously unreleased) 3:30
15. "World War" (on early copies of Boys Don't Cry) 2:38
16. "Boys Don't Cry" (also on Boys Don't Cry) 2:37
17. "Jumping Someone Else's Train" (also on Boys Don't Cry) 2:59
18. "Subway Song" (live in Nottingham, October 1979, previously available on Curiosity) 2:27
19. "Accuracy" (live in Nottingham, October 1979) 2:36
20. "10:15 Saturday Night" (live in Nottingham, October 1979) 4:38


  • Porl Thompson – lead guitar and background vocals on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 & 7 on Bonus Disc.
  • David Dragon – illustrations
  • Michael J. Dutton – assistant
  • Martyn Goddard – photography
  • Mike Hedges – engineer
  • Connie Jude – illustrations
  • Chris Parry – producer
  • B. Smith – photography
  • Bill Smith – design

Recorded and mixed at Morgan Studios, London, England.


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