Monday 21 February 2011

Marc Almond Was Our Cloakroom Boy

Let's get Monday off to a right good start with not one but two cover versions for the price of one, bargain.

I like most folk I think wasn't aware that Tainted Love was a cover when I first heard the Soft Cell version being twelve and living in Lanark, soulboys who could have informed me of the truth were a bit thin on the ground. I just thought that it was a great song at the time and a bit different. It was maybe three years before I heard the original in all it's glory; a song that never fails to get even the lamest and rhythmically challenged on to the dance floor.

The reason I've posted this today is that I've been reading " The Record Players, Dj Revolutionaries" a rather informative book which has interviews with all of the most influential Djs from Jimmy Saville to Tiesto, that's right. I didn't say the best DJs but they are also present from Peel to Weatherall. The book can be rather irritating as it could have done with a decent editor and spell checker. The format of a chapter per DJ with an introduction and then interview means that it is a book that you are not going to read cover to cover in one go but is ideal for dipping in and out of.

Anyway, there are a few chapters dealing with the northern soul djs such as Ian Levine and Kev Roberts but no Richard Searling for some reason. One northern disc spinner that I knew very little about was Ian Dewhirst who guested at most of the big venues and had the residency at Cleethorpes Wintergardens. He also djed at the Warehouse where a certain new romantic was the cloakroom boy, and recounts how Soft Cell would later cover Tainted Love and take the relatively unknown song to number 1.

"Marc Almond used to be the cloakroom boy in the Warehouse. We booked the Q Tips to play on the Tuesday and Wednesday night,. I thought Great I'll pull some soul stuff out. I brought the more accessible northern stuff out, so I could play it as people came in. I put Tainted Love on and this guy who I'd conspicuously avoided for nine months - he was always getting in fights with women or something - he came rushing up in the middle of Gloria Jones.

What's that record? I've got to know what that record is!

It's Gloria Jones with Tainted Love.

I've got to have a tape of it!.

He'd done an ep called Mutant Moments which was doodly electronic stuff that I couldn't play. He'd done something on a Some Bizarre compilation and Memorabilia.  Anyway, the upshot of it was he ended up coming round my house . I remember it because he's allergic to dogs. I put Gloria Jones and a load of other stuff on tape for him. Probably even Judy Street, though I can't be certain."

So there you have it, how one of the best singles of 1981 came about.

When people refer to Gloria Jones I wish they would omit the fact that she was the girlfriend of a certain rock star and in the car when he died and just say Gloria Jones, who recorded one of the finest stompers ever recorded.

Soft Cell - Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go


Anonymous said...

I love Soft Cell, the synth pop, the Northern influences. I think they were the first time I heard the phrase Northern Soul. I met Marc years later, he was mates with a guy I worked with. That story is pretty much how he tells it too.

davyh said...

I love stories like that.

Mondo said...

Great story - does Peter Stringfellow get a mention in the book? He wasn't always a cocktail gulping mullet man - but in his early days was instrumental in developing the northern soul scene.

The Tainted riff always reminded me of Boy From New York City

swiss adam said...

Good psot Drew. Love it when this segues into Where Did Our Love Go?

davyh said...

It was brilliant if you were DJ'ing a school disco because it was so long and so dancefloor-filling you could very safely nip to the loo whilst it was on.

Top tip that, I'll give you it for free.

Piley said...

Great story! Am a big Marc fan, but never heard that one before. Marc finally got to sing Tainted Love as a duet with Gloria back in 2007 at the Bolan 60th Birthday\30th anniv of his death gig. Nice touch!

Swiss Adam said...

White Lines is good for a toilet/fag break also

dickvandyke said...

I was there! He was one of many odd-balls who frequented The Warehouse in Leeds in and around 1981. It was a magnet for the more er, extravagent dresser. I was a bit out of place in my Fred Perry and Easy jeans.