Primary (song)

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Cure - Primary picture cover.jpg
Single by The Cure
from the album Faith
Released March 20, 1981
Format 7" and 12" vinyl
  • 3:39 (7")
  • 5:56 (12")
Label Fiction
The Cure singles chronology
"A Forest"
"Charlotte Sometimes"
"A Forest"
"Charlotte Sometimes"

"Primary" is a song by English rock band The Cure, released as the sole single from their third studio album Faith (1981).


"Primary" was first played during the Seventeen Seconds tour with completely different lyrics (aside from the chorus) and a slightly different bassline. Bootleggers who released recordings of those shows named it "Cold Colours" and the name is still often used in regards to these early versions, although recordings from the time show that even then it was introduced by Robert as "Primary".[citation needed] A studio demo from September 1980 can be heard on the second disc of the deluxe reissue of Faith, and another recorded for the John Peel show on BBC Radio One in January 1981, the early version was sometimes dedicated to the late Ian Curtis of Joy Division when played live.[citation needed]

The song is still played live to this day, though less frequently than others from this era.[citation needed]


The song is unusual in that both Simon Gallup and Robert Smith play bass, with the effects pedals on Smith's giving the leads a unique sound. There are no guitars (other than bass) or keyboards played in the song.


"Primary" was released as a single on March 20, 1981. It reached number 43 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

"Primary" was the first song by The Cure to be remixed as a separate extended mix for release on 12" single (and not co-released on other formats, in the way the 12" version of "A Forest" was also the album version appearing on Seventeen Seconds, for example). In fact, the original 12" extended mix is, to this day, still only available on the original 12" single, which has never been reproduced on any other album, making it quite a rare item, the main difference between the 7" mix (also the album mix) and the 12" mix is that the extended mix lengthens the instrumental introductions to the song's verses.

Cover versions[edit]

The song was covered by The Dandy Warhols for the 2008 Cure tribute album Perfect as Cats: A Tribute to The Cure as well as being released as a single.

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Primary"
  2. "Descent"


  1. "Primary (Extended)"
  2. "Descent"



External links[edit]