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One-Hit Wonders: Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”

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Soft Cell - "Tainted Love" (Sire, 1982)

Soft Cell – “Tainted Love” (Sire, 1982)

Born of a friendship formed at Leeds Art College, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Soft Cell[/lastfm] was a project for which Marc Almond and David Ball had less-than-top-ten expectations. Imagine their surprise when “Tainted Love” hit the top of the U.S. pop charts.

soft cell tainted love 385 One Hit Wonders: Soft Cells Tainted Love

“We thought if we were really lucky, we’d scrape into the Top 75 in Britain,” Marc Almond is quoted as saying in Rolling Stone. “We didn’t think anything would happen over here (in the U.S.).”

When a respectable first single, “Memorabilia,” jumped off their debut album, Mutant Moments, to reasonable sales and some US club play, the duo released a medley consisting of an obscure ’60s soul tune, “Tainted Love,” and the classic Supremes cut, “Where Did Our Love Go?”

With a warmer sound than much of the dance music of the time, “Tainted Love” (separate from its Supremes counterpart) went to #1 in five countries, to #4 on the US dance charts and to #8 on the US pop charts in July 1982.

Though the band would chart five more Top 10s in the UK, they’d never again see the Top 40 in the US, leaving them among the fratenity known as the One-Hit Wonder.


Gone but not forgotten, find more tales of One-Hit Wonders here

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