Best known as the longtime frontman for the Cult, singer Ian Astbury was born on May 14, 1962 in Merseyside, England. The son of a career merchant naval officer, he led a peripatetic childhood, finally settling in the Yorkshire area in 1981; there Astbury formed the goth-rock outfit the Southern Death Cult, which following a series of roster shifts and name truncations emerged as simply the Cult in 1984. Also featuring guitarist Billy Duffy, the band's darkly-psychedlic hard rock approach found favor both at home and abroad thanks to their fine sophomore effort Love
; 1987's Electric
featured an even harder-edged sound, and on the strength of the hit "Love Removal Machine" cracked the U.S. Top 40. 1989's Sonic Temple
was the Cult's commercial peak, generating the smash "Fire Woman, " but subsequent efforts like 1991's Ceremony
failed to recreate earlier successes, and the group disbanded in 1995; Astbury soon resurfaced in the Holy Barbarians, issuing Cream in 1996. The Holy Barbarians proved short-lived, however, and in 1999 Astbury reunited with Duffy to tour under the Cult banner; that same year, he issued his solo debut Natural Born Guerilla.