Soft Cell were a sleazy electric music duo featuring singer Marc Almond and multi-instrumentalist David Ball. The band formed in Leeds in 1980, recording a few one off tracks for compilations alongside Depeche Mode, OMD, and The The. When the Daniel Miller produced single ‘Memorabilia’ hit the charts and the dance floors soon after, the band was given one last shot to fully break into the UK charts. Whereas most bands featured on these pages would fold or fail in the wake of such a challenge, Soft Cell would succeed; their cover of Gloria Jones-by-way-of Ed Cobb song ‘Tainted Love’ would become a smashing success. The song was then featured on their 1981 record Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, which also caught fire in the US. Marc Almond would also appear in a video for Coil’s dirge-tastic version of the song, and would contribute vocals to their following record The Horse Rotorvator.
Soon after the buzz, the band began a quick descent. Two records later, internal problems between the pair had forced the band apart, though each member would further record with new projects and under collaborative efforts. Though Marc would enjoy a fruitful solo career and David would form and re-form a band called the Grids, neither would reach the triumphs they shared with thier brief flirtation with chart success.
In 2001, the pair reunited for several well-received gigs and have since resumed recording, releasing a record in 2002 and several live records. A remix record is slated to be released this year.
I’ve uploaded two early Soft Cell gems for your listening pleasure. The first is their initial club splash ‘Memorabilia’ and the second, the sordid and debaucherous fan-favorite ‘Sex Dwarf,’ featured on Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.
I could just as easily post the regular round of Soft Cell videos, but since the videos for ‘Tainted Love’ and ‘Bedsitter’ can be found from several immediate sources on Youtube, here’s a special treat instead- a video of Soft Cell and Clint Ruin/Foetus/Jim Thirlwell performing a cover of Suicide’s ‘Ghost Rider’ in 1983:
Ok, ok, and to watch the original video for ‘Tainted Love,’ click below: