40 Years of Seventeen Seconds

2020 marks the 40th anniversary of the second Cure LP Seventeen Seconds. A pivotal release for the band. With this album, they started to define their own unique sound and style. It is remarkable how fast the band produced the album. The recording only took about one week. The same goes for the mixing by Robert Smith and producer Mike Hedges.

If I’m right, Seventeen Seconds was the first Cure LP that was also being pressed in the Netherlands especially for the Dutch market. The manufacturing took place at the Polygram Record Service (PRS) plant in Baarn, not very far from Amsterdam. The outer sleeve was almost the same as the UK pressing. But the labels on the record itself were standard red Polydor labels, unlike the printed UK labels, which were in the same style as the sleeve artwork. This was probably to reduce costs.

The record was received positively by the Dutch music press. Paul Evers wrote a beautiful review for OOR. It ended like this: ‘Wisps of mist on an autumnal Sunday morning, this record is of incredible beauty’.

Seventeen Seconds sold very well in the Netherlands. It peaked at number 15 in the National LP Top 50 and stayed in the charts for 9 weeks. By 1982 it had sold more than 50.000 copies, enough to earn the Dutch Gold status. On 10 May 1982, when The Cure were in Utrecht to perform a concert at the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, the record company organised a celebration at the Holiday Inn where they awarded the band gold Seventeen Seconds records (see picture, source: Hitkrant). In the following years PRS kept pressing and pressing and I guess towards the mid 80s almost everyone in the Netherlands knew somebody who owned a copy of Seventeen Seconds ;-).

Last September 26th there was a Seventeen Seconds listening party on twitter. Drummer Lol Tolhurst provided some anecdotes about the recording process. You can replay the feed while listening to the album simultaneously here.