Tainted Love  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Tainted Love" is a song composed by Ed Cobb, formerly of The Four Preps. It was originally recorded in 1964 by Gloria Jones, re-recorded by Ruth Swan in 1975 (in a version which influenced, more closely than the original, the 'feel' of the subsequent electro-pop chart-topping cover version which brought the track to the attention of a wider audience), and attained worldwide fame after being covered by Soft Cell. It has since been covered by numerous other groups/artists.

Soft Cell version

The vocal-and-synth duo Soft Cell became aware of the song through its status as a UK "Northern Soul" hit, and recorded a drastically different arrangement in 1981. Produced by Mike Thorne, the Soft Cell track featured a slower tempo than Jones' version, and was in the key of G rather than the original C to match Marc Almond's lower voice. Synthesizers and rhythm machines replaced the original's guitars, bass, drums, and horns. Soft Cell's version was recorded in a day and a half with Almond's first vocal take being used on the record.

The band's record label chose to release "Tainted Love" on July 7, 1981 as Soft Cell's second single (their first was "Memorabilia", which did not chart). The label implied that this single would be Soft Cell's final release if the single did not sell. The 12" single version (extended dance version) was a medley, transitioning to a cover of The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" half-way through the song. Buoyed by the then-dominant Synthpop sound of the time and a memorable performance on Top of the Pops, "Tainted Love" rapidly reached #1 on the UK singles chart, eventually repeating the feat in 17 territories. "Tainted Love" was the best-selling single in the UK for 1981, and it has sold 1.27 million copies as of November 2012.

On the US chart dated January 16, 1982, the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #90. It appeared to peak at #64 and fell to #100 on Feb. 27. After spending a second week at #100, it started climbing again. It took 19 weeks to crack the US Top 40. The song reached #8 and spent a then record-breaking 43 weeks on the Hot 100.

A video was recorded specially for Soft Cell's video album Non Stop Exotic Video and features a cricketer meeting band members Marc Almond and David Ball in togas on Mount Olympus.

Soft Cell issued a remixed version of the song in 1991. The video for the remix, directed by Peter Christopherson of Hipgnosis, features a man pacing at night and dancing with starry apparitions, while Almond sings amongst the stars. Christopherson's band Coil had covered "Tainted Love" in 1985, with a music video that included a cameo appearance by Almond.

Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" ranked #2 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders and #5 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

The Soft Cell version of the song is used in scenes from the 1993 film Coneheads and the 2005 episode of Doctor Who titled "The End of the World."

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Tainted Love" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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