Marc Almond and David Ball met in 1979 at Leeds Art College, and were early adopters of the now Millennially-loved electronic music. Tainted Love was recorded as a throwaway in 1981, but Soft Cell remade it instead of Frankie Valli’s “The Night”. Good choice.
Though it was an 80’s smash, reaching number 1 in 6 countries, it is actually a cover of a 1964 song by American soul singer Gloria Jones. She released it as the B-side of her single "My Bad Boy's Comin' Home” and failed to chart.
After a Philadelphia club DJ started playing the song in 1973, it found new life and inspired Jones to record a new version in 1976 for her album Vixen. But it too failed to chart.
Soft Cell recorded their version five years later, featuring a slower tempo and lower key. Synthesizers and rhythm machines replaced the original's guitars, bass, drums, and horns.
It quickly reached number 1 on the UK singles chart, and was the best-selling single of 1981 in the UK.