Craig Allen says: ‘Meet Soft Cell’
Soft Cell is vocalist Mark Almond, and instrumentalist David Ball.
This duo gained worldwide fame with "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go."
Soft Cell formed in 1978, when Almond and Ball met at Leeds Polytechnic (in England).
Their first recordings appeared on an EP called "Mutant Moments."
You've heard of "Kickstarter," right? Long before this funding option came along, the guys' recording session was paid for by money loaned by David Ball's mother.
2,000 EP copies were pressed, and they are now collector's items.
Almond and Ball ultimately signed with Phonogram records.
While their initial songs failed to chart, the label allowed the band to record a final song in an attempt to break through.
The band opted to put their own spin on "Tainted Love," a rather obscure 1964 British record, sung by Gloria Jones.
In my opinion, Jones' record (ABOVE) is a GREAT example of '60s Northern British Soul.
...an early band appearance, performing their last-gasp song.
Off the "Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret" album, released in 1981, "Tainted Love" went to #1 in 17 countries.
Soft Cell would have the #1 selling song of all of 1981 in their native England.
"Tainted Love" reached #8 on the American charts in 1982.
Here, it set a Guinness World Book record at the time, for the longest stay on the Billboard Hot 100 charts: 43 weeks.
In fairness...the song took time to catch on: it took 19 weeks to hit the Top-40.
The A-side of the 12 inch single (above) is the medley "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go."
The LONG version.
In single (45 rpm) form, the song was released several ways:
Some versions had "Tainted Love" on side 1, and "Where Did Our Love Go" on side 2.
Others had both songs, in medley form, on side 1.
We play the 2:45 "Tainted Love" single.
Anyway...back to the timeline.
The band would spend much of 1982 recording and relaxing in New York City...where they were introduced to the drug Ecstasy.
Sadly, fame, and heavy drug use would take a toll on the band.
Ultimately, Soft Cell would place 10 hits on the British Top-40 charts (including "Bedsitter"), but failed to re-connect with American record buyers.
Yes, in the USA, they are a "One Hit Wonder."
Soft Cell would split up in 1984.
Since the split was amicable, Almond and Ball would stay in contact over the years, while pursuing solo projects.
The guys reunited as Soft Cell in 2001, playing some live dates, and going on a mini-tour. A new album "Cruelty Without Beauty" was released in 2002.
The single "The Night" (written by Frankie Valli), charted (#39) in England.
It is interesting to note that Soft Cell considered recording "The Night" as their 1981 desperation song, before settling on remaking "Tainted Love."
"Tainted Love" has remained very popular over the years...so popular in fact, that it was re-released in England in 1991. It went to #5 on the UK Hit charts...10 years after its first chart run.
"Tainted Love" has also been covered by numerous other bands over the years...
...and, Rhianna "sampled" this huge hit record, in her 2006 hit "S.O.S. (Rescue Me)."
Ultimately Soft Cell has sold over 10 million records, worldwide.
Check out Mark Almond's official site, here.