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SOFT-CELL-1983
Soft Cell and Marc & The Mambas redirect here. This article is about the British singer: for the British group, see Mark-Almond.

Marc Almond, born Peter Mark Sinclair Almond (1957- ) in Southport, is a British singer-songwriter and musician. As a child, he suffered from asthma and bronchitis which meant that he had a great deal of time off school. He was cared for until the age of four by his grandparents and then moved to Yorkshire. When Almond was about 14 he worked as a stable lad and learned to ride horses. He attended Leeds Polytechnic, where he met Dave Ball: they formed the electronic music duo Soft Cell in 1979. Their single Tainted Love, an electro/new wave cover of a Northern Soul song by Gloria Jones, went to number 1 in the UK charts in 1981 and remains a staple dance track (it went top 5 again ten years later) [1]. The band racked up a total of nine UK top 40 hits before Ball and Almond dissolved their partnership, although they reformed in 2001.

Almond's second project was Marc & The Mambas, a collective that at times featured Matt Johnson and Steve James Sherlock (The The) and Jim Thirlwell (Foetus). This lineup recorded two LPs and a Peel Session before Marc ended this too, feeling it was too much like a regular band.

Since then he has made a specialty of exploring his fascination with torch ballads and cabaret, although not at the expense of commercial success (he had a number 1 hit as a duet with Gene Pitney, Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart, in 1989). He was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in 2004, having to deal with repeated surgery and post-traumatic stress before he could resume his career.

Links to Peel

Peel was an early advocate of Soft Cell, probably through their connection with Daniel Miller (of Mute Records [2]) for whom they recorded demos, although typically seems to have lost interest once the duo had achieved mainstream success. He was subsequently required to introduce their tracks on Top Of The Pops: on his first show since 1968, he mentioned that he had seen them at "a rather squalid gig in Leeds." (He also saw them at Queens Hall, Sheffield in September 1980 as part of Futurama 2 [2])

Almond claims his early interest in music was due to listening to Peel:

"I listened to John Peel all the time: I discovered much music and many bands through (him). Even when I was at school, I used to put my head under the bedclothes and listen to the late night John Peel show. It was a great education in music listening to (his programmes), as I'm sure many of my contemporaries did also." [3]

He says that he first heard Tyrannosaurus Rex on Peel, became obsessed with Marc Bolan and changed the spelling of his name as a result.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None

Sessions

1. Recorded: 1983-02-01. First broadcast: 24 February 1983. Repeated: 10 March 1983, 16 April 1985.

  • Empty Eyes / The Bulls / Once Was / Your Aura

Other Shows Played

Marc Almond
  • 30 October 1985: Love Letter (Special Mix) (10") Virgin
  • 16 August 1988: Man In Black (v/a LP - 'Til Things Are Brighter...A Tribute To Johnny Cash) Red Rhino
Soft Cell

Top Of The Pops

See Also

External Links

Footnotes
  1. The duo would have another top 10 hit single in the UK in 1982 with a second Northern Soul cover in the shape of 'What!', a song originally popularised by Judy Street.
  2. See also Silicon Teens, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Fad Gadget.
  3. Interview with Steve Yabsley, BBC Radio Somerset, 2014-12-16.
  4. Soft Cell recorded sessions for Kid Jensen and Richard Skinner, tracks from which were officially released in 2018. [1]
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