Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the music urban legends featured so far.
MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The Cure put a disclaimer sticker on their singles compilation album, Standing on a Beach, to make sure people did not misinterpret the meaning of one of their songs.
“Killing an Arab” is an early single by the popular pop band, The Cure.
It appears on their classic early album, Boys Don’t Cry…
The song is pretty much exactly based on Albert Camus’ classic short novel, The Stranger, which is about a man who actually, you know, kills an Arab (naturally, that is not the extent of the novel).
Well, as you might imagine, a song with a title like “Killing an Arab” gained a slightly different group of fans than what the Cure’s Robert Smith (who wrote and sang the song) expected, and Smith quickly regretted the song title. So he soon decided to address the issue head on.
In 1986, the group released a compilation of their singles to that point. It was called Standing on a Beach.
And on the album cover, the Cure actually added a disclaimer sticker for “Killing an Arab”!!!
Here it is (it is not the best visual quality, I’m afraid)…
Years later, in 2004, when The Cure released a remastered edition of Three Imaginary Boys, along with a whole disc full of versions of singles from that era, “Killing an Arab” was left off of the collection.
It still remains on all editions of Boys Don’t Cry, though.
This must be a really awkward situation for Smith, who’s a pretty sensitive guy, to have his song becoming a favorite of anti-Muslim bigots.
It’s a shame.
The legend is..
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is email@example.com