Formed in Leeds, England, in 1980 this electro pop duo features vocalist Marc Almond and synthesizer player Dave Ball. The art school twosome came to the attention of Some Bizzare Records entrepreneur Stevo following the release of their self-financed EP Mutant Moments. He duly included their 'Girl With The Patent Leather Face' on the compilation Some Bizzare Album and negotiated a licensing contract 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, paving the way for the celebrated 'Tainted Love'. Composed by the Four Preps' Ed Cobb and already well known as a northern soul club favourite by Gloria Jones, 'Tainted Love' topped the UK charts, became the bestselling British single of the year 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'. Almond's brand of erotic electronic sleaze could only partially be realized in the Soft Cell format and was more fully developed in the offshoot Marc And The Mambas. Implicit in Soft Cell's rise was a determined self-destructive streak, which meant that 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 embarked on a solo career, while Ball would eventually become one half of the Grid. The 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.
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