Tainted Love: Wikis


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"Tainted Love"
Single by Gloria Jones
B-side "My Bad Boy Is Coming Home"
Format 7", 45 rpm
Recorded 1964
Genre Pop
Length 2:56
Label Champion Records (distributed by Vee-Jay)
Writer(s) Ed Cobb
Producer Ed Cobb
Gloria Jones singles chronology
"Tainted Love"
"Come Go With Me"
"Tainted Love"
Single by Soft Cell
from the album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
A-side "Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go"
B-side "Memorabilia" "Tainted Dub"
Released July 7, 1981
Format 12-inch single, 7-inch single
Recorded 1980
Genre Synthpop
Length 2:43 (Regular version)
8:58 (full version with Where Did Our Love Go? cover)
Label Some Bizzare
Writer(s) Ed Cobb
Producer Mike Thorne
Soft Cell singles chronology
"Tainted Love"

"Tainted Love" is a song composed by Ed Cobb, formerly of The Four Preps, which was originally recorded by Gloria Jones. It attained worldwide fame after being covered by Soft Cell in 1981, reaching number one in the UK Singles Chart,[1] and has since been covered by numerous other groups and artists. There are even covers in other languages, including the Spanish version called "Falso Amor" performed by La Unión.


Gloria Jones version (1964)

Gloria Jones recorded the original version of "Tainted Love", which was written and produced by Ed Cobb. The 1964 single was a commercial flop, failing to chart in either the US or the UK.

However, in 1973, British club DJ Richard Searling purchased a copy of the almost decade-old single while on a trip to the United States. The track's Motown-influenced sound (featuring a fast tempo, horns, electric rhythm guitar and female backing vocals) fit in perfectly with the music favoured by those involved in the UK's Northern Soul club scene of the early 1970s, and Searling popularised the song at the Northern Soul club Va Va’s in Bolton, and later, at Wigan Casino.[2]

Due to the newfound underground popularity of the song, Jones re-recorded "Tainted Love" in 1976 and released it as a single, but this version also failed to chart.

Soft Cell version (1981)

The vocal-and-synth duo Soft Cell had become aware of the song through its status as a Northern Soul hit, and recorded a drastically different arrangement of "Tainted Love" in 1981. Produced by Mike Thorne, the Soft Cell track featured a slower tempo than Jones' version, and instrumentally relied on synthesisers and rhythm machines rather than the guitars, bass, drums and horns of the original. Soft Cell's version of the song was recorded in a day and a half with singer Marc Almond's first vocal take being ultimately used on the record.

The band's record label chose to release "Tainted Love" on July 7, 1981 as Soft Cell's second single (their first was "Memorabilia", which did not chart). The label implied that this single would be Soft Cell's final release if the single did not sell. The 12" single version was a medley, transitioning to a cover of The Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go" half-way through the song. Buoyed by the then-dominant Synthpop sound of the time and a memorable performance on Top of the Pops "Tainted Love" rapidly reached number one on the UK singles chart, eventually repeating the feat in 17 territories.

The following year it charted in the US. Although it took a record-breaking 19 weeks to crack the US Top 40, the song eventually reached #8 and spent a then-record breaking 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

A video for the track was recorded specially for their video album 'Non Stop Exotic Video' and features band members Marc Almond and David Ball in togas on Mount Olympus.

Soft Cell also issued a remixed version of the song in 1991. Another video was made for this release, and involves a male pacing at night and dancing with starry apparitions while Almond sings amongst the stars.

In 2001, "Tainted Love" provided both the title and the theme song for a 13-week vampire-based story arc on the ABC daytime soap opera Port Charles.

In 2006, Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" was sampled on "SOS", a song by Barbadian R&B singer Rihanna, which hit number 1 in the US.

Soft Cell's version of "Tainted Love" ranked #2 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders but, oddly, only #5 on VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

Marilyn Manson cover

"Tainted Love"
Single by Marilyn Manson
from the album Not Another Teen Movie soundtrack
Released 2001
Genre Industrial rock
Label Interscope
Marilyn Manson singles chronology
"The Nobodies"
"Tainted Love"

Marilyn Manson covered "Tainted Love" and released it as a single from the Not Another Teen Movie soundtrack. It was released in 2001. It was later included on his following album The Golden Age of Grotesque as a bonus track.

Released in the UK in May 2002, it is Manson's biggest hit to date in that country, reaching a position of #5 in the UK Top 75 charts.

The video for Manson's cover shows Manson bringing several goth friends to a high school party. It features several characters from the film Not Another Teen Movie. It also features Joey Jordison, the drummer from Slipknot.

Track listing

CD 1

  1. "Tainted Love"
  2. "I Melt with You" (Mest)
  3. "Suicide Is Painless"
  4. "Bizarre Love Triangle" (Stabbing Westward)

CD 2

  1. "Tainted Love"
  2. "Suicide Is Painless"
  3. "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" (Muse)

Selective list of recorded versions


  1. ^ Black, Johnny (2008-01-16). "The Greatest Songs Ever: Soft Cell, "Tainted Love"". Blender. http://www.blender.com/TheGreatestSongsEverSoftCellTaintedLove/articles/11264.aspx. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  2. ^ Haslam, Dave, Manchester, England, chapter six, p172

External links

Preceded by
"Japanese Boy" by Aneka
UK number-one single (Soft Cell version)
5 September 1981 - 12 September 1981
Succeeded by
"Prince Charming" by Adam and the Ants
Preceded by
"Trouble" by Lindsey Buckingham
Australian Kent Music Report number-one single (Soft Cell version)
February 22, 1982 - March 8, 1982
Succeeded by
"Centerfold" by The J. Geils Band

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