Gloria Jones: “Tainted Love”

Posted: January 17, 2014 in THE CLASH of Cover Tunes
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Tune du Jour: “Tainted Love” – Gloria Jones
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: Finger vs. The Lost Fingers
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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"Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs." - Milton Friedbyrd

“Free markets will not prevail without unfettered competition among cover songs.” – Milton Friedbyrd

Tainted Love was written by Ed Cobb and originally recorded by Gloria Jones in 1965 as the B-side to the 1965 single My Bad Boy’s Comin’ Home. The single was a commercial flop, failing to chart in either the US or the UK. In 1973, almost a decade after its initial release, British club DJ Richard Searling purchased a copy of the single while on a trip to the United States. Searling introduced the song to the UK club scene, which embraced its Motown-influenced sound and eminent danceability. Due to the newfound underground popularity of the song, Jones re-recorded Tainted Love in 1976 and released it as a single, but that version also failed to chart.

English vocal-and-synth duo Soft Cell (i.e. Marc Almond and David Ball), became aware of the song through its notoriety as a UK club cult hit, and recorded a drastically different arrangement in 1981. Due to the then-dominant synthpop sound of the time, Soft Cell’s version of Tainted Love rapidly reached #1 on the UK singles chart and was 1981’s best-selling single in the UK. On January 16, 1982, Tainted Love charted in the US, entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #90. It appeared to peak at #64 before falling to #100 on February 27. However, after spending a second week at #100, it started climbing again and 19 weeks later it cracked the US Top 40. The song eventually reached #8 in the US and spent a then record-breaking 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Original

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Gloria Jones:

Great version of the song. A real shame Jones never charted with it.

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The Most Popular

Soft Cell:

Wildly popular yet, in my mind, dreadful when compared to Gloria Jones’ original version.

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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Finger vs. The Lost Fingers

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Finger:

The Lost Fingers:

For those interested, The Lost Fingers’ studio version of Tainted Love is also available on YouTube but, despite the occasional annoying static pops, I love this live version:

Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

Comments
  1. Cuspid says:

    I have never heard Gloria Jones’ original, clearly in the vein of the Motown sound the Mid-’60s, which I love. Both of the Finger covers are very good, better than Soft Cell’s version in my opinion. I think it works a bit better as a pseudo-Jazz tune. So I think I’ll go with The Lost Fingers.

  2. Arnie Plotnick says:

    I too have never heard the original, and I love it. Really great. I liked both covers, but I preferred the more rockin’ Finger cover over the jazzy Lost Finger cover. Is there a Stiff Little Finger cover? Is there are rule about the song being covered only by bands with Finger in the name?

  3. RDubbs says:

    Wow! I introduced a song that neither Cuspid nor Plotnick has ever heard before?!!? I didn’t think such a song existed. I was sure that long ago they had split-up the song hundred songs neither had ever heard and got right to work on them, meticulously comparing notes every ten songs (no not eleven and certainly not nine, unless of course they then proceeded on to ten).

    Poor Gloria. Not only could she not chart with her own great song but it also fell through the cracks of the great Cuspid-Plotnick song cull of the last few decades …

    Both cover are great but I’m partial to The Lost Fingers very creative version. It’s perhaps a bit unfair that I’ve heard Finger’s version so many times, thus blunting it’s effectiveness. But such is life, even when pertaining to a song.

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