Soft Cell Biography

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This electro-pop duo features vocalist Marc Almond (born Peter Marc Almond, 9 July 1956, Southport, Lancashire, England) and synth player Dave Ball (born 3 May 1959, Blackpool, Lancashire, England) and was formed in Leeds, in 1981.

Originally, Almond and Ball teamed to compose music for theatrical productions, and as Soft Cell, their live performances continued to draw heavily on the pair's background in drama and the visual arts. A self-financed EP titled Mutant Moments brought the duo to the attention of Some Bizzare label head Stevo, who duly included their "Girl With The Patent Leather Face" on the compilation Some Bizzare Album and negotiated a licensing deal with Phonogram Records in Europe and Sire Records in the USA. Their debut single, "Memorabilia", produced by Mute Records boss Daniel Miller, was an underground hit, and paved the way for the celebrated "Tainted Love".

Written by the Four Preps' Ed Cobb, and already a cult favourite thanks to Gloria Jones' soulful reading, ‘Tainted Love’ was reinvented as a hypnotic electronic dirge, which became the year's best-selling British single and remained in the US charts for an astonishing 43 weeks. Produced by the former producer of Wire, Mike Thorne, the single highlighted Almond's strong potential as a torch singer, a role that was developed on subsequent hit singles including "Bedsitter, 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye", "Torch" and "What". The group's debut LP, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, was also enormously successful, and was followed by the 1982 remix collection Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing.

While 1983's The Art of Falling Apart proved as popular as its predecessors, the group was never happy with the pop machinery of which it had inevitably become a part. The title of The Art Of Falling Apart indicated how close they were to ending their hit collaboration. At the end of 1983, the duo announced their proposed dissolution and undertook a final tour early the following year, followed by a farewell album, This Last Night In Sodom.

Almond immediately formed the electro-soul unit Marc and the Mambas; another group, Marc Almond and the Willing Sinners, followed before the singer finally embarked on a solo career in the late '80s.

After a number of years of relative inactivity, Ball eventually became one half of the Grid. The Soft Cell duo reunited in the late 90s and began working on new studio material, some of which appeared on a 2002 compilation set. The remainder featured on the first Soft Cell album in almost 20 years, Cruelty Without Beauty.

DISCOGRAPHY: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (Some Bizzare 1981), Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing (Some Bizzare 1982), The Art Of Falling Apart (Some Bizzare 1983), This Last Night In Sodom (Some Bizzare 1984), Cruelty Without Beauty (Cooking Vinyl 2002), Live (Cooking Vinyl 2003).
COMPILATIONS: The Singles 1981-85 (Some Bizzare 1986), Their Greatest Hits (Some Bizzare 1988), Memorabilia: The Singles (Polydor 1991), Say Hello To Soft Cell (Spectrum 1996), The Twelve Inch Singles 3-CD set (Some Bizzare 2001), The Very Best Of Soft Cell (Mercury 2002).

Thanks to Laura Kettle: for submitting the biography.

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-------- 08/23/2014
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