April 21, 2009 at 09:27 PM EDT

Call it a semicentennial, a quinquagenary — or just give thanks to Maybelline for half a century of blackest-black eyeliner: Today, British goth-rock legend Robert Smith joins Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson in the Holy Crap, They’re 50! Club.

Granted, the Cure itself is only 33, but it’s always felt as if the prodigiously talented Smith sprang from the womb with his sad-bat semaphores already intact — those kohl-rimmed eyes! those pinky-red lips! that wild halo of Edward Scissorhands hair! — just as it’s hard to imagine a world without “Just Like Heaven” or “Lovesong.”

To honor the recent Coachella headliners, do tell us your own favorite Cure memories; mine involves an early-’90s road trip, a wobbly old tape deck, and a mom who was cool enough to introduce me to the band by putting “Close to Me” on repeat repeat repeat. (I was 13, and I thought “Kokomo” was a really good song. It was like a very special episode of Intervention, if Aruba-Jamaica-ooh-I-wanna-take-ya was the drug.)

Or just enjoy this interview from 1985, in which a painfully self-effacing, possibly hungover and relatively makeup-less Smith somehow still manages to be utterly charming:

More on the Music Mix:
Coachella ’09 Sunday: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cure battle for supremacy
Lollapalooza lineup announced: What year is it, again?
What was the 1980s’ best year for music?

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