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"Why Can't I Be You?" is a song by the English rock band The Cure, released as a single from their 1987 album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.

"Why Can't I Be You?"
Single by The Cure
from the album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
B-side"A Japanese Dream"
ReleasedApril 14, 1987[1]
The Cure singles chronology
"Boys Don't Cry (New Voice)"
"Why Can't I Be You?"



"Why Can't I Be You?" was the first single released from the album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me—the band's seventh LP. In 14 April 1987, it peaked at number 21 on UK Singles Chart.[4] In the United States that same year, the song reached number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100, while a remix of the track charted at numbers eight and 27 on the Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales and the Dance Music/Club Play Singles charts, respectively.[5]

The video for "Why Can't I Be You?" was filmed in early 1987, in between rehearsals for The Cure's first South American tour. It was directed by Tim Pope, a past video collaborator of the group's. Filmed in a studio in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland owned by actress Mary Tyler Moore, the video featured the band members performing what biographer Jeff Apter referred to as "some of the most poorly choreographed dancing ever seen on MTV". All five band members wore costumes: Robert Smith dressed as a bear and as school-girl in a pinafore dress, Simon Gallup was costume as both a crow and a Morris dancer, Porl Thompson was a Scotsman as well as cross-dressed, Boris Williams was a schoolgirl and Lol Tolhurst wore blackface and then a bumblebee costume. Pope referred to the clip as "the video I've always wanted to make".[6]


In the NME's review of the single, writer Donald McRae singled out Smith's voice as the sole element of the song that "doesn't shout 'TEEN FUN'". Nonetheless, he praised the band, and concluded, "Shameless and cheap enough to steal Wham's 'Young Guns' riff, this ditty will soon be another Top of the Pops cracker".[7]

Stewart Mason of Allmusic described the song as having "the remarkable ability to be simultaneously incredibly catchy and frankly rather annoying", noting it as an " antic, herky-jerky" successor to previous singles such as "Let's Go to Bed" and "The Lovecats".[2] Stephen Thomas Erlewine, also of Allmusic, called it "deceptively bouncy" and noted it as a high point of the album and helps make it "one of the group's very best".[8]

Track listingEdit

Fiction / Fics 25 (UK)
  1. "Why Can't I Be You?" (3:12)
  2. "A Japanese Dream" (3:27)
Fiction / Ficsg 25 (UK)
  1. "Why Can't I Be You?" (3:13)
  2. "A Japanese Dream" (3:30)
  3. "Six Different Ways (Live)" (3:32)
  4. "Push (Live)" (4:42)

Live tracks taken from the concert film The Cure in Orange

Fiction / Ficsx 25 (UK)
  1. "Why Can't I Be You? (12" Remix)" (7:58)
  2. "A Japanese Dream (12" Remix)" (5:42)

Remixed by François Kevorkian and Ron St. Germain

CD Video / 080 184-2 (UK)
  1. "Why Can't I Be You? (12" Remix)" (8:10)
  2. "A Japanese Dream (12" Remix)" (5:52)
  3. "Hey You!!!" (2:23)
  4. "Why Can't I Be You? (Video)" (3:31)

Video directed by Tim Pope



  • Apter, Jeff. Never Enough: The Story of The Cure. Omnibus Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84449-827-1.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Why Can't I Be You?" Retrieved on 22 January 2013.
  3. ^ Ramirez, AJ (13 December 2011). "Snubbed!: Why the Cure Deserves to Be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". PopMatters. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  4. ^ Cure. Retrieved on 22 January 2013.
  5. ^ The Cure - Awards. Retrieved on 22 January 2013.
  6. ^ Apter, p. 226–227
  7. ^ McRae, Donald. "Why Can't I Be You?" single review. NME. 18 April 1987.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (review). Retrieved on 22 January 2013.

External linksEdit