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"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 also covers in other languages, including the Spanish version called "Falso Amor" performed by La Unión.

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 synthesizers 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.

On the US chart dated Jan. 16, 1982, the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #90. It appeared to peak at #64 and fall to #100 on Feb. 27. But after spending a second week at #100, it started climbing the Hot 100 again. 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 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.

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Label:  Sire
Release Date:  January 16, 1982
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