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The Cult Biography


Home > Music > C > Cult, The > Biography


Birth Place: Bradford, Yorkshire, England
Years Active: 1983-1995, 1999-present
Genres: Post-punk, Gothic Rock, Alternative Rock, Hard Rock


The Cult is a British rock band that was formed in 1983. They gained a dedicated following in Britain in the mid 1980s as a post-punk band. Since their earliest formation in Bradford in 1981, the band has had various line-ups, and the longest-serving members are vocalist Ian Astbury and guitarist Billy Duffy, the band's two songwriters.

Their debut album, “Dreamtime,” was released in 1984. The album reached #21 on the U.K. Albums chart and its single, “Spiritwalker,” reached #1 on the U.K. Indie chart. After moving to London, the band released the album “Love” in 1985, which charted at #4 in the United Kingdom, and included the singles “She Sells Sanctuary” and “Rain.” “She Sells Sanctuary,” peaked at #15 in the U.K. and spent a total of 23 weeks in the Top 100.

In the late 1980s, the band dropped their post-punk sound in favor of hard rock with their third album, 1987’s “Electric.” The polish on this new sound was facilitated by Rick Rubin, who produced the record. The album reached #4 in the U.K. and the single, “Love Removal Machine,” reached #18 there. “Love Removal Machine” was also their first single to chart in the United States, reaching #15 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

Their fourth album, “Sonic Temple,” proceeded in a similar vein, which enabled them to further break into the North American market. “Sonic Temple” reached #3 in the U.K. while reaching #10 in the U.S. on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

In 1991 their fifth album, “Ceremony” was released. The album reached #25 in the U.S., and #9 in the U.K. Astbury and Duffy's working relationship was at an all-time low at this point, with the two reportedly rarely in the studio together, opting to record their parts individually. They released the self-titled, “The Cult,” album in 1994. It peaked at #21 in the U.K. while only managing to reach #69 on the Billboard 200.

By this time the band was fraying behind the scenes, due to alcohol abuse and off-stage tensions, leading to a split-up in 1995. The band reunited in 1999 and recorded the album “Beyond Good and Evil,” and they reissued all of their albums in Asia and Eastern Europe in 2003 and Japan in 2004.

In 2006, the band reformed again to perform a series of worldwide tours. In October 2007, the band released the album “Born into This,” on the Roadrunner Records label. In July 2009, Astbury announced that The Cult would not record or produce any more studio albums, focusing on LPs and Digital Releases instead for new material, though he eventually changed his mind and declared that there would be another album in the near future. Their ninth studio album, entitled “Choice of Weapon,” was released in 2012.