Cover Versions

Tainted Love

Tainted Love

Song: Tainted Love
Artists: Soft Cell
Original artist: Gloria Jones


American singer Gloria Jones was the first to record Tainted Love back in 1964. It was
only released as a “B” side the following year and did not enjoy chart success in either
the US or UK at the time. The song had then session artist Glen Campbell on lead
guitar.
It would be almost another decade before the song started to gain a following. In 1973 a
British disc hockey, Richard Searling, bought a copy while in America and began
playing it at Northern Soul clubs in Bolton (Va Va’s) and Wigan (Casino). Jones would
later be dubbed “The Queen of Northern Soul”.


This north of England revival prompted Jones to re-record the song and release it as a
single in 1976 but, again, it failed to chart. The single was produced by T. Rex’s Marc
Bolan. Jones became a keyboardist and vocalist with T. Rex and would enter a romantic
relationship with Bolan and the couple had a son together. They had met while she was
in the cast of “Hair” in Los Angeles.
Sadly, Jones was the driver of the Mini that crashed in 1977 killing Bolan.
A DJ would also claim to play a part in Soft Cell’s decision to cover the song. In 2010,
Ian “Frank” Dewhirst said he was the first to play the song for Cell vocalist Marc
Almond. Some time later Soft Cell started to play it as part of their live concerts.
Tainted Love was Soft Cell’s second single and a performance on Top of the Pops
helped it to top the UK singles chart and be the second biggest-selling single of 1981. It
peaked at No 8 in the US and would rank No 5 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders
of the 1980s.
A personal favourite was the 12-inch version of Tainted Love which Soft Cell merged
with The Supreme’s number Where Did Our Love Go? (see below).

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