One Hit Wonders: Soft Cell

Tainted Love by Soft Cell

by Robert Mishou

This mega international hit is a cover of a 1965 song by Gloria Jones that failed to dent the charts. In January of 1982 it entered the Billboard Hot 100 and bounced around for a while, taking nineteen weeks to reach the Top 40 and peaked at #4. This song remained on the American charts for a combined forty-three weeks! In addition it reached the top ten in fifteen European countries as well – a true definition of a hit. The song is simple and catchy (you know you vocally hit that keyboard every time you hear this song). The speaker in the song is in dire straits – his love has left him and he is struggling:

Sometime I feel I’ve got to run away
I’ve got to get away
From the pain you drive into the heart of me
The love we seem to share seems to go nowhere
And I’ve lost my life
I toss and turn, I can’t sleep at night

Then comes the heart wrenching line, “Once I ran to you, now I run from you.” He is clearly upset and cannot imagine a way out of this situation. Eventually, he accepts his pain and decides the only way out is to leave:

Don’t touch me, please, I cannot stand the way you tease
I love you though you hurt me so
Now I’m gonna pack my things and go

Lyrically, the song is devastating, but musically the song has that new wave synthesized upbeat feel to it. This creates an interesting clash – I like it. When I think of One Hit Wonders, this is typically the first song that jumps in my head. This song has proven to have some longevity, as is has been used in films and sampled in several songs in the 2000’s.

4 thoughts on “One Hit Wonders: Soft Cell”

  1. I LOVE THIS SONG! One of my favourite 80s songs 🙂 never get bored of it and a rare occasion (sorry Gloria) where the cover is better than the original.

    Do you know what my favourite 80s song is? Yazoo, Only You 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I was planning this week out, I was actually going to make this day’s Remember That Song Tainted Love. Then Robert sent me his articles, and coincidentally, he picked this song for this day!
      I love that Yazoo song! They were actually called Yaz in the U.S. I love Alison Moyet’s voice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alison Moyet is from the same town as me! How cool is that 🙂 she does have a great voice. I’ve always gravitated towards deeper, more male voices.

        I can’t believe they were called Yaz! There’s already a band called Yazz! The people who sung The Only Way is Up lol 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That is very cool that you’re from the same town! The most famous people from the town I grew up in was John Cafferty (and the Beaver Brown Band) and the actor James Woods.
          It’s funny that there is already a band called Yazz. The reason why they had to change it here us that there was already a company over here called Yazoo, and they would have sued the band if they kept the name.


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