Standing on a Beach

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Standing on a Beach/Staring at the Sea
Standing cov.jpg
Compilation album by The Cure
Released 6 May 1986
Recorded 1978 to 1985
Genre Post-punk, gothic rock, alternative rock, new wave

45:44 (Vinyl edition)

60:40 (CD edition)
Label Fiction Records (UK)
Elektra Records (U.S.)
Producer The Cure
The Cure compilations chronology
Japanese Whispers
Standing on a Beach/Staring at the Sea
Mixed Up
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Blender 5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B+[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[4]

Standing on a Beach (titled Staring at the Sea in CD format in some countries) is a singles compilation released by the British goth rock band The Cure in May 1986, marking a decade since the band's founding in 1976. The album's titles are both taken from the opening lyrics of The Cure's debut single "Killing an Arab".

The "New Voice - New Mix" of "Boys Don't Cry" (released as a single little over a fortnight before Standing on a Beach) is not featured on the album; thus the album's singles span only from 1978 to 1985. The same mix has never again been released onto a compilation album.

The version of "A Forest" here is neither the album version (which was also on the 12" single), nor is it the 7" single edit (which removes a few bars between verses and fades out part way through the guitar solo ending).[5]

Release formats[edit]

The album was released in three formats, vinyl record, compact disc and audio cassette.

The vinyl edition is a collection of all thirteen of The Cure's commercially released singles up to that point in chronological order. "10:15 Saturday Night" is dropped though, possibly because it was only released in France.

The CD edition features the same tracks as the vinyl edition, but also includes an extra track from four of the band's albums. The four songs, although not released as singles, all had music videos made for them.

The cassette edition features the same tracks as the vinyl edition, but also contains all of the band's b-sides that had not, to that point, received a long-play release. This excludes "10:15 Saturday Night" from the "Killing an Arab" single, which was released on the Three Imaginary Boys album, "Plastic Passion" from the "Boys Don't Cry" single, which was released on the Boys Don't Cry album, and the five b-sides from the "Let's Go to Bed", "The Walk" and "The Love Cats" singles, which were released on the Japanese Whispers compilation album. However, the b-side "Mr. Pink Eyes" from the 12" version of "The Lovecats" was omitted from Japanese Whispers, and so was included on this release.

These releases were accompanied by a VHS and laserdisc release, a music video collection named Staring at the Sea: The Images with the same setlist as CD version of the album.

All the b-sides on the cassette edition were also later released on the first disc of the Join the Dots compilation in 2004.

The album has been certified 2x platinum in the U.S.

Also missing is the special "Lament" 'Flexipop' single from 1982, as this was not a proper single, and "I'm a Cult Hero" from 1979, probably because it was released under a different band name, Cult Hero.

Album Art[edit]

The man featured on the album cover was not a member of the Cure; he was chosen because his appearance fit the desired aesthetic of the album. His name is John Button, and was at the time a retired fisherman. He also appeared in the music video for "Killing an Arab." According to the band's 2005 biography by Jeff Apter, when asked why he agreed to lend his face to the band's media, Button's answer was "If I can help these youngsters break through, after all, why not?"[6] He also reportedly said that he would buy a player and listen to one of the band's songs "out of curiosity, just to see."[7]

Track listing[edit]

Vinyl edition[edit]

Side A

  1. "Killing an Arab" (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Michael Dempsey) – 2:22
  2. "Boys Don't Cry" (Dempsey, Smith, Tolhurst) – 2:35
  3. "Jumping Someone Else's Train" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:54
  4. "A Forest" (Smith, Tolhurst, Simon Gallup, Matthieu Hartley) – 4:53
  5. "Primary" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 3:33
  6. "Charlotte Sometimes" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:13
  7. "The Hanging Garden" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:21

Side B

  1. "Let's Go to Bed" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:33
  2. "The Walk" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:28
  3. "The Love Cats" (Smith) – 3:38
  4. "The Caterpillar" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:38
  5. "In Between Days" (Smith) – 2:56
  6. "Close to Me" (Smith) – 3:39

CD edition/Video[edit]

  1. "Killing an Arab" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:22
  2. "10:15 Saturday Night" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 3:37 (from Three Imaginary Boys, 1979)
  3. "Boys Don't Cry" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:35
  4. "Jumping Someone Else's Train" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:57
  5. "A Forest" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup, Hartley) – 4:53
  6. "Play for Today" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup, Hartley) – 3:42 (from Seventeen Seconds, 1980)
  7. "Primary" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 3:33
  8. "Other Voices" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:26 (from Faith, 1981)
  9. "Charlotte Sometimes" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:13
  10. "The Hanging Garden" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:21
  11. "Let's Go to Bed" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:33
  12. "The Walk" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:28
  13. "The Love Cats" (Smith) – 3:38
  14. "The Caterpillar" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:38
  15. "In Between Days" (Smith) – 2:56
  16. "Close to Me" (Smith) – 3:39
  17. "A Night Like This" (Smith) – 4:11 (from The Head on the Door, 1985)

Cassette edition[edit]

Side one - The singles[edit]

  1. "Killing an Arab" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:22
  2. "Boys Don't Cry" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:35
  3. "Jumping Someone Else's Train" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:54
  4. "A Forest" (Smith) – 4:53
  5. "Primary" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 3:33
  6. "Charlotte Sometimes" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:13
  7. "The Hanging Garden" (Smith, Tolhurst, Gallup) – 4:21
  8. "Let's Go to Bed" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:33
  9. "The Walk" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:28
  10. "The Lovecats" (Smith) – 3:38
  11. "The Caterpillar" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:38
  12. "In Between Days" (Smith) – 2:56
  13. "Close to Me" (Smith) – 3:39

Side two - The b-sides[edit]

  1. "I'm Cold" (Smith, Tolhurst, Dempsey) – 2:47 (from "Jumping Someone Else's Train")
  2. "Another Journey By Train" (Smith, Gallup, Tolhurst, Hartley) – 3:04 (from "A Forest")
  3. "Descent" (Smith, Gallup, Tolhurst) – 3:07 (from "Primary")
  4. "Splintered in Her Head" (Smith, Gallup, Tolhurst) – 5:16 (from "Charlotte Sometimes")
  5. "Mr Pink Eyes" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 2:42 (from "The Love Cats")
  6. "Happy the Man" (Smith) – 2:45 (from "The Caterpillar")
  7. "Throw Your Foot" (Smith) – 3:33 (from "The Caterpillar")
  8. "The Exploding Boy" (Smith) – 2:52 (from "In Between Days")
  9. "A Few Hours After This" (Smith) – 2:26 (from "In Between Days")
  10. "A Man Inside My Mouth" (Smith) – 3:05 (from "Close to Me"/"Half an Octopuss")
  11. "Stop Dead" (Smith) – 4:02 (from "In Between Days"/"Close to Me"/"Half an Octopuss")
  12. "New Day" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 4:08 (from "Half an Octopuss")


Presented here is a comparison showing in what format each of the twenty nine songs on the album can be found, with the position number of that song on that particular format.

Song Vinyl LP CD and VHS Cassette
"10:15 Saturday Night" 2
"A Few Hours After This" 22
"A Forest" 4 5 4
"A Man Inside My Mouth" 23
"A Night Like This" 17
"Another Journey By Train" 15
"Boys Don't Cry" 2 3 2
"The Caterpillar" 11 14 11
"Charlotte Sometimes" 6 9 6
"Close to Me" 13 16 13
"Descent" 16
"The Exploding Boy" 21
"The Hanging Garden" 7 10 7
"Happy the Man" 19
"I'm Cold" 14
"In Between Days" 12 15 12
"Jumping Someone Else's Train" 3 4 3
"Killing an Arab" 1 1 1
"Let's Go to Bed" 8 11 8
"The Love Cats" 10 13 10
"Mr Pink Eyes" 18
"New Day" 25
"Other Voices" 8
"Play for Today" 6
"Primary" 5 7 5
"Splintered in Her Head" 17
"Stop Dead" 24
"Throw Your Foot" 20
"The Walk" 9 12 9


  1. ^ "Standing at the Sea: The Singles - The Cure". AllMusic. 
  2. ^[dead link]
  3. ^ "CG: The Cure". Robert Christgau. 
  4. ^ "The Cure: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  5. ^ "The Cure – Standing On A Beach - The Singles". Retrieved October 13, 2015. 
  6. ^ Apter, Jeff (2005–2009). Never Enough: The Story of the Cure. Omnibus Press 14/15 Berners Street London W1T 3LJ: Omnibus Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-85712-024-3. Retrieved May 31, 2012.  line feed character in |location= at position 14 (help)
  7. ^ "Rock & Folk (France)". July–August 1986. Retrieved May 31, 2012.