Released in July of 1981, Tainted Love comes on the radio 28 years later and anyone, young and old thinks “now that’s some fine 80’s music”.

Soft Cells’ debut hit is an example of both the role of technology used to create an entirely new sound, a great hook, and the way a great song can endure.

Synthesizers were becoming readily available and relatively affordable in the early 1980s.

Marc Almond and Dave Ball formed the group Soft Cell, an archetypal synth-pop duo. The band released an EP and two singles in 1980 and 1981.

The singles generated little interest and didn’t sell at that time. then they found “Tainted Love”.

The song was written by a 1960s songwriter who had been a member of of a vocal harmony group called The Four Preps.

The Standells, a garage rock band made the song their biggest hit, and was called “Dirty Water”. the song “Dirty Water” was also covered by the UK band, The Inmates.

To add even more confusion, the song “Tainted Love” was recorded by soul singer Gloria Jones way back in 1964 and became a favorite in Britain’s Northern soul clubs in the late 70s.

Soft Cell kept the best of the original version of “Tainted Love”, which is it’s solid, stomping beat, ensuring the version would be a good dance number.

The instrumentation, however, was entirely electronic, taking advantage of the latest synth technologies.

Marc Almond’s vacals ultimately gave the song it’s heretofore, signature sound.

Soft Cell went on, after this initial success, to have many more hits, but it’s this song they will forever be associated with.