Uncovered Covers: Tainted Love

One benefit of living in a highly musical household is I regularly get to hear cool new performances of old favorites. From time to time when I hear a really good cover I end up doing a bit of digging into the origins of the song. From this I got the idea for an occasional feature post that I’m going to call Uncovered Covers.

Recently Sally picked up the album “With a Twist” by the excellent a cappella group Straight No Chaser, one of the tracks is a great cover of “Tainted Love”. We were telling the girls that the original version was popular when we were much younger, so I pulled out the tablet and hit the net.

As one would expect the version that I think of when talking about the song is the 1981 version by the UK band Soft Cell. You can find the very bizarre and very very ’80s video out on YouTube.

To my surprise the Soft Cell version is actually a cover of the original, written by Ed Cobb and performed by Gloria Jones in 1965.

Based on the recordings I could find while it’s different, it’s actually pretty good. So I guess it’s less than stellar performance on the charts was a due to being a B-track single and just not the right sound at the time.

Interestingly the song was also covered by Marilyn Manson for the Not Another Teen Movie soundtrack, given that I’ve never seen that movie (and probably never will) it is not surprising that I didn’t know that one.

The music world is full interesting trivia like this, the origins of many popular songs might surprise you. Stick around for more Uncovered Covers, and while you wait check out Straight No Chaser.

I was already working on this post as an entry to the Uncovered Covers when the Daily Prompt issued today’s prompt of “Tainted Love“, the unexpected synchronicity of this has me finishing up the draft and getting it out there.

The featured image comes from the photo Blue Vinyl, posted by Peter Organisciak on Flickr.

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22 thoughts on “Uncovered Covers: Tainted Love”

  1. My father was big into music and he played this song often, so I’ve always known that this 1965 version was the original.

    Though, I am always amazed when I hear a good song on the radio and I think the young kids now-a-days are some sort of musical geniuses only to find out the songs I like are covers. 😉

    1. Yeah, it’s amazing how that works out. Not long ago (to my shame) I found out that “One Night in Bangkok” is from the musical “Chess”. Now listening to it a number of lyrics are intelligible or at least make sense knowing the context.

    2. A good song is a good song.

      I noticed this plenty amongst other hits of the 80s: Bananarama covering Shocking Blue’s “Venus”, Michael Damian covering David Essex’s “Rock On”, Naked Eyes covering Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “(There’s) Always Something to Remind Me”.

      Almost without exception I’d be familiar with the cover first, then run into the earlier recording later. I’d find this true for other time periods, as well: I knew a doowop version of “Blue Moon” only to learn the tune was from the ’30s.

      1. Exactly. I may use a few of those later. For now I’m trying to find ones with good modern covers, so as to introduce both good newer acts and the details from music history.

        1. That’s fair enough, although I would note, Laith, the kids are pretty heavy into late ’70s and ’80s style, and it’s not too far a reach.

          I mean, I’ve seen high school and middle school students walking down the street (our last residence was right across from a middle school) and I’d say to myself, “Wow, I haven’t seen that style since…” (long pause) “high school and middle school.”

          1. True. I think that is part of why we are seeing a resurgence of covers of songs from that period. Granted in some cases it can be that the artists grew up with the song also.

  2. It’s interesting: I ran across Gloria Jones’ version on YouTube as well… I can’t find the comment now, but someone had written that the beat structure of the song was too complex for the time period– I took the implication that the studio wizardry and the synthesizers Soft Cell employed tightened things up.

    Incidentally, Soft Cell paired this up with another cover: “Baby, Where Did Our Love Go?” which WAS a big hit for the Supremes.

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