Friday, February 20, 2015

Soft Cell

Soft Cell
Soft Cell

David Ball and Marc Almond are Soft Cell!

Many years ago I went to school with David Ball, for two years we sat in the same classroom..........okay, okay it was a different David Ball and NOT one half of the duo known as Soft Cell, but it would've made for a great story!

Soft Cell were formed in 1980 and became internationally known for their cult hit single Tainted Love which went to number one around the world in 1981.

Soft Cell consisted of Marc Almond on vocals and David Ball on synthesizers. The group were at the forefront of synthpop along with groups such as Human League, although Soft Cell preferred to show a darker side. Their inspiration was taken from soul music (as were a lot of other early 80s bands such as Spandau Ballet). In fact Tainted Love was a remake of a 60s northern soul song, but we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Soft Cell - The Beginning

Let's go back to 1980s Leeds. Marc Almond and David Ball were both art students and got together to write music for theatrical productions. It was actually a self-financed EP called Mutant Moments that kickstarted their chart career. Funded by a loan of £2,000 from David Ball's mother (a very wise investment) the boys, under the name Soft Cell had 2000 vinyl copies pressed. Copies of this EP are now highly prized collector items.

The EP brought Soft Cell to the attention of the head of Some Bizzare Records who had bands such as Depeche Mode and The The signed to them. He then enlisted Daniel Miller (founder of Mute Records) to produce their first singles - 'A Man Can Get Lost' and 'Memorabilia'.


Memorabilia became a cult club hit, although Soft Cell were still unknowns.

Tainted Love

The next single was 'Tainted Love' and this was to turn the unknowns into International chart toppers. 'Tainted Love' was a reworking of a classic 1964 Northern Soul song sung by Gloria Jones. Tainted Love would make Soft Cell a one hit wonder in many countries around the world.

What many people do not know is that they nearly recorded a different song, but more on that later.....

Soft Cell - The Look

Soft Cell drew on their theatrical and visual arts background when they produced their videos as well as on their live performances. The birth of MTV and their natural theatrical side helped to complete the package so to speak.

Marc Almond with his androgynous look was a flamboyant vocalist whilst David Ball appeared to me the more introverted member of the duo. The andogynous look was very 'right' for the time as the Blitz kids such as Marilyn and Boy George were also gaining fame.

Guyliner was a definate with Marc Almond!


This was one of my favorites, I used to play it up loud and sing along dreaming of living in a bedsitter by myself instead of being a school age teen living at home! - I didn’t really get what the song was saying at the time!

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

This is a great, great song, another one that I used to play along with Bedsitter and, of course, Tainted Love.

The Night

When the boys were recording Tainted Love they had to chose between Tainted Love and The Night..........obviously they chose Tainted Love, but after they reunited in 2003? They decided that they should, finally release The Night.

They definitely made the right choise as The Night doesn’t have the pull factor that Tainted Love had it’s something about the ‘boom boom’ factor in Tainted Love that gets you bopping in the chair or up onto the dance floor and singing along. My hubby doesn’t like Soft Cell (but I forgive him), but if it comes onto the radio when he’s driving he can’t help but bang the wheel when the ‘boom boom’ part comes on.

If you just buy one synth-pop album in your life, make it this one. The Very Best of Soft Cell is the closest CD I can get which is like the vinyl record I played over and over (Soft Cell- The Singles, released in 1986).

Did you enjoy Soft Cell's dramatic synth-pop style of music, the very dark and theatrical side? Or were you more of a happy 'Walking on Sunshine" style fan?

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