Soft Cell are an English synthpop duo who came to prominence in the late 1970s, consisting of vocalist Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball. The duo are principally known for their 1981 hit version of “Tainted Love” (#8 US) and 1981 debut album titled Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.
In the United Kingdom, they had ten Top 40 hits including “Tainted Love” (#1 UK), “Torch” (#2 UK), “Say Hello, Wave Goodbye” (#3 UK), “What!” (#3 UK), and “Bedsitter” (#4 UK), and also had four Top 20 albums between 1981 and 1984. In 1984, the duo split but reformed in 2001 to tour and record new material, releasing their fifth studio album, Cruelty Without Beauty in 2002.
Soft Cell’s songs have been covered by various artists including Nine Inch Nails, David Gray, Nouvelle Vague, and A-ha. Their track, “Memorabilia”, earned recognition for the band as pioneers of the synth-oriented techno genre. The duo have sold 10 million records worldwide.
Soft Cell was initiated during 1977 after Almond and Ball met at Leeds Polytechnic. Their initial efforts at recording resulted that year in an EP titled Mutant Moments which was funded by a loan of £2000 from Dave Ball’s mother and made with a simple 2-track recorder. 2,000 vinyl copies of the release were issued independently and the small number of copies have since become a highly valued collectors item. The group’s live shows and EP caught the interest of certain record labels such as Mute Records and Some Bizzare Records.
Soft Cell’s next recording, “The Girl with the Patent Leather Face”, appeared as a contribution to the Some Bizzare Album, which featured then-unknown bands such as Depeche Mode, The The, and Blancmange. The duo ultimately signed to the Some Bizzare label, backed by Phonogram Records. Their first singles, “A Man Could Get Lost” 7″ and “Memorabilia” 12″, were produced by Daniel Miller who founded Mute Records. While “Memorabilia” was a success in nightclubs, Soft Cell would remain essentially unknown until their next release, “Tainted Love”. more »
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