1001 Songs Challenge,  1980s,  Music

1001 Songs Challenge #563: Tainted Love (1981)

On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.

My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.

I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.

So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…

 

Soft Cell – Tainted Love (1981)

We’re remaining in the UK today, dear reader, but make our way up north to Leeds in Yorkshire, the same county that yours truly lives in, though sadly not in Leeds which is a fine city. Anyway, formed in 1977 by two college students – Marc Almond and David Ball – Soft Cell proved hugely popular in the early 1980s. When we join them in 1981 they are about to release their second single – Tainted Love – and the story goes that their record company expected a hit or the duo would be dropped from the label. No pressure then.

Tainted Love was first written by Ed Cobb of the American group, The Four Preps, and first recorded by Gloria Jones in 1964. Jones would later have a relationship with Marc Bolan of T. Rex and was in the car accident that sadly killed Bolan in 1977. Jones’ version of Tainted Love became popular in the UK’s northern soul movement which took place in northern England. Soft Cell decided to attempt a cover, slowing down the track and adding some electronic flavour. The song itself seems to be about heartbreak with the narrator describing the “tainted love” of the title and how an unnamed individual has left them in a sorry state. They want to move on from this person and beseech them to keep their distance but it’s not so easy to walk away.

Tainted Love is one of the big hits from the 1980s and would prove to be Soft Cell’s lifesaver as it topped the charts in multiple countries including the UK. I have always liked the song, as did Gloria Jones who felt her version was inferior, but I tend to favour some of Soft Cell’s other tracks like Torch, Bedsitter and – for me – their masterpiece – Say Hello Wave Goodbye. Success was short-lived with the pressure of expectation coupled with heavy drug use seeing the duo split in 1984. Almond had a fruitful solo career and the duo have reformed in recent years, older and wiser from their drug-fuelled youth.

 

Favourite songs so far:

The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)

Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)

The Doors – The End (1967)

The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)

The Police – Message in a Bottle (1979)

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart (1980)

Ultravox – Vienna (1980)

My name is Dave and I live in Yorkshire in the north of England and have been here all my life. I hope you enjoy your visit to All is Ephemeral.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.