“She Sells Sanctuary” is the ninth Track off of The Cult’s 1985 Album, Love. The Song was released as a Single in May of 1985 and reached #15 on the UK Singles Chart. Per Wikipedia, it was the last Song to be recorded with The Cult’s longtime drummer, Nigel Preston, who was fired from the band shortly after its release.
The unique Sound at the start of the Song that has become synonymous with this Song, and with The Cult’s style, was the result of all of the guitar effects pedals being turned on at the same time. The lucky mistake ended up edited into the intro, which is one of the signature sounds of “She Sells Sanctuary”.
“She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult
from the Album, Love (1985)
“She Sells Sanctuary” was recorded at Olympic Studios in Barnes, and was produced by Steve Brown. It was released as a Single first, and then was included on the Album Love, the band’s second album. Love was The Cult’s big breakthrough Album. It hit #4 on the UK Album Charts and stayed there for 22 weeks. “She Sells Sanctuary” was one of 3 Top 40 Singles from the Album.
“She Sells Sanctuary” has been covered various times, most notably by Keene, The Dandy Warhols, and Rogue Wave. The Song has also appeared in Films and TV. Most recently the Song was used in the Movie Atomic Blonde. It has also been part of the Soundtrack to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie), the Film With Honors used the Butch Vig Remix of the Song, and it also appeared in the Films Singles and Layer Cake.
“The sparkle in your eyes,
keeps me alive.”
Every time I hear this Song I’m reminded of my first car, that little Honda hatchback that overheated too much, and always seemed to have a backlight out, but that held so many memories within its banged up doors. I remember having Love on cassette. It was a standby in my tape carrying case, and a must-have for road trips, both short and long. I would pop the tape in and turn the volume up as loud as it would go, always singing-a-long.
“She Sells Sanctuary” in particular reminds me of the Summer of 1989, specifically late July. I drove in that little Honda up to Hollywood almost every day, packing as many of my friends as we could fit. We were like some kind of Goth and Punk Clown car. We’d spend our days haunting vintage stores on Melrose Avenue, jewelry stands on Venice Beach, and the aisles of Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. I wore silver rings on every finger. My favorite, a mermaid that wrapped around my right index finger, was given to me by a beautiful, broken boy who would sing this Song to me as we drove down the 101.