Soft Cell’s members Marc Almond and Dave Ball met at art college in Leeds and self-financed the release of their first EP in 1980. It brought them to the attention of Some Bizarre records and they joined Depeche Mode on the label’s “futurist” compilation Some Bizarre Album early the following year. Their cover of Gloria Jones’ Tainted Love, released in the summer, gave them that best-selling single and they wrote the next three hits themselves. Non Stop Erotic Cabaret, which included Say Hello Wave Goodbye, made #5 and inspired an album of dance mixes called Non Stop Ecstatic Dancing which followed it into the Top 10 in 1982; a video compilation Non Stop Exotic Video Show appeared in the same year. A cover of Judy Street’s What! gave them their final Top 5 hit.
Even while Soft Cell was the primary project, both its members were active with other business. Ball produced singles for Soft Cell backing vocalists Vicious Pink Phenomena, and Almond formed Marc and the Mambas, the line-up of which included Matt Johnson whose band The The has also appeared on Some Bizarre Album. Ball and Almond announced their decision to end Soft Cell towards the end of 1983 and they parted after a farewell concert and final album at the start of 1984.
Almond embarked on a solo career and made occasional returns to the Top 10 with cover versions including Donna Summer’s I Feel Love (1985, with Bronski Beat), and Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart (#1 in 1989, with the performer who first made it a hit, Gene Pitney). Ball’s new outfit The Grid made the Top 10 with their single Swamp Thing in the 90s. Ball and Almond remained on good terms (The Grid remixed Almond’s 1990 single Waifs and Strays) and in 2001 Soft Cell reformed, initially for a series of concerts but then for a new album. To promote this, they released a cover of Frankie Valli’s The Night, the track they had originally considered recording in placed of Tainted Love, 25 years before.
NEW SINGLES on sale from Jan. 22
SOFT CELL Say Hello Wave Goodbye (Some Bizarre BZS7)
THOMPSON TWINS In The Name Of Love (T TEE4)