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Today In Remakes: Soft Cell - Tainted Love

 

To me, "Tainted Love" is one of those songs that is inextricably tied to my teen years. It was released in 1981, at the beginning of a vicious battle between the Hair Bands and the New Wavers. Tainted Love, featuring a soulful male vocal and a whole lot of synthesizer, was definitely in the latter category. 

 

That Tainted Love introduced the world to singer Marc Almond  and instrumentalist David Ball, better known as Soft Cell. The band went on to post ten Top 40 hits in their native UK, including the #1 charter Tainted Love. While they were successful in Europe, they were largely a one-hit wonder as far as the American Market was concerned. But what a hit - you can still find Tainted Love on the radio every day, and it still pops up in the occasional tv ad.

 

To me, the all-time best use of the song was in the little-scene (and with good reason) Kevin Bacon/Kyra Sedgwick movie "Pyrates." 

 Pyrates

 

...at least, it was until I discovered the original version of Tainted Love. Gloria Jones dropped her groovy version of the song back in 1964 as a B-side to her single "My Bad Boy's Comin' Home." The single flopped upon release. Seven years later, a British club DJ bought the single and took it home. Tainted Love was right at home on the Brit dance floor.

 

The record company released it as a single in 1976... and it also flopped. It as gone, but not forgotten. In 2014, NME ranked it #305 on it's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Here's the album cut of Jones' song, produced by her then boyfriend Marc Bolan.

 

 

 

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