Tainted Love: and the best version is?


Mark Almonds soft cell tainted love

Did any song ever sound so gay? Soft Cell’s Tainted Love hit the airwaves in 1981 when music remained, for the most part, on its own shelf in the closet. 

Broadcasters banned lyrics with even the most obscure references to same-sex love.

Humans could love anything but a person of the same-sex. Michael Jackson achieved his first #1 singing a love song to a rat.

Ben, most people would turn you away (turn you away)
I don’t listen to a word they say (a word they say)
They don’t see you as I do
I wish they would try to
I’m sure they’d think again
If they had a friend like Ben.

Yep. Beautiful earnest lyrics sung to a pesky rodent at a time when the love that dared not speak its name sure weren’t gunna sing it.

But then the unmistakeably gay Tainted Love blared out from radios across the land, Mark Almond’s vocals oozed with sleaze and sexual transgression in every note.

Once I ran to you (I ran)
Now I run from you
This tainted love you’ve given
I give you all a boy could give you
Take my tears and that’s not nearly all
Tainted love (oh-oh-oh-oh)
Tainted love

But Tainted Love was not actually a ‘gay’ song. The lyrics referenced a toxic relationship. Writer Ed Cobb said “I had a lover for whom you could say wasn’t a good individual. I tried to go into her head and write a song from her standpoint. Once the word ‘tainted’ had popped into my head, the song was written very quickly, probably 15 minutes.”

Recorded by American Gloria Jones in 1964, the song went nowhere. But years later, her boyfriend Mark Bolan produced a new version for her. Soft Cell heard the record and recorded the slightly sinister and sleazy version we’re so familiar with today.

A few years later, at the height of the AIDS crisis, Coil recorded a more harrowing version, reflecting the despair of the time.

Finally, if there’s a dollar to be made — Marilyn Manson.

Gloria Jones

Soft Cell

Coil

Marilyn Manson

For the latest LGBTIQA+ Sister Girl and Brother Boy news, entertainment, and community stories in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *