Countdown was a weekly pop music show from the Veronica broadcasting association. It was one of the two big music programs on Dutch national TV, Toppop from broadcasting association Avro being the other. Countdown ran from the end of the 70s until the beginning of the 90s. While Toppop was more dominant in the 70s, Countdown probably was the most popular music TV show in Holland during the 80s.
Most of the shows were being recorded with audience at the Concordia building in Bussum, a village close to Amsterdam. In its heyday, Adam Curry (later to become MTV VJ) was the host of Countdown. He became quite a celebrity in Holland. Tall in person but also in hair, wearing an impressive fashionable mullet by 1987.
The Cure were quite regular guests at Countdown. They played at the Countdown Festival in Amsterdam in 1980 and visited the Countdown studios four times for miming performances from 1984 to 1987. In 1986 Countdown showed reports from the Pinkpop Festival in which The Cure were featured with some live bits and interviews. Also, over the years, the Tim Pope videos were broadcasted numerous times.
Below is – I hope – a complete overview of The Cure’s appearances on Countdown (not including their video broadcasts). If I still missed anything, please let me know!
Update July 2019: in the past couple of years a lot of Cure Countdown videos were removed from YouTube. Some have been uploaded again, but with watermark. Where possible I have updated the links below. For some videos unfortunately this means a downgrade. The links work on a computer from the Netherlands. Maybe not all of them on a mobile device or from another country.
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Muziek Expres was one of the oldest pop music magazines in the Netherlands. It already existed as of 1956. Until the mid 70s it was by far the biggest Dutch music magazine. The last (monthly) edition was released in December 1989. In August 1980, The Cure got their (if I’m right) first feature article in Muziek Expres. Interestingly, it was an interview with Lol. He talks about the Dutch, doing concerts and the making of the Seventeen Seconds LP. Below you can read a translation of this article by Henk Bakker.
‘Simple music is an insult to the audience’
Very inconspicuously, within four years the English Cure made it into a prominent cult band. This is striking, because the trio, that later became a quartet, makes very special pop music which is not really easy listening. Henk Bakker talked to drummer Lol Tolhurst about the strange Cure-recipe…
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On Sunday 29 July 1979, The Cure played their first ever gig abroad. It took place at the ‘Sterren in het bos’ (‘Stars in the forest’) Festival in Groningen, a city in the Northeast of the Netherlands. The Sterren in het bos festivals were organised in the ‘Sterrebos’ park on Sundays during the summers of the seventies up until 1983. It was free entrance. On most editions a couple of thousand visitors would turn up. In those days there was still quite a hippie-like atmosphere. Other bands that have played at the Sterren in het bos festival series include Fischer Z (1979), Echo & the Bunnymen (1980), The Sound (1981) and Comsat Angels (1982).
The Cure’s performance was in the afternoon. It’s probably mostly remembered due to a cloud-burst, transforming the park into a lake. At least two other local bands played that day: Suster Poppy and Plant. In the evening The Cure would do another show at a small club called Simplon, also in Groningen, perhaps to make it up for their soaked Groningen fans.
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