C.C. Rider the Venerator: Gloria Jones & “Tainted Love”

It’s 1981. And a synthpop duo called Soft Cell isn’t doing so well. They’ve got one last chance to make a hit before their label kicks ‘em to the curb. So they took one final shot with a version of an old soul song—Tainted Love...

This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.

“Tainted Love”

It’s 1981. And a synthpop duo called Soft Cell isn’t doing so well. They’ve got one last chance to make a hit before their label kicks ‘em to the curb. So they took one final shot with a version of an old soul song—Tainted Love.

You know that sound. It was a wild success. Now far more famous than the original. But the original is pretty damn cool too. Written by a man named Ed Cobb—and sung by Gloria Jones.  Gloria is a singer-songwriter from LA, she was a belter who also wrote songs for the Jackson 5 and the Supremes, among others. Alongside her solo career, she was a back up singer for the band T. Rex.

Gloria Jones not only sang with T-Rex, she fell hard for singer Marc Bolan. Unfortunately, her name is best known for its link to tragedy. Jones was at the wheel that fatal night of the car accident that killed Marc Bolan.

Today, we remember her for the soul song that became a synth pop standard. So here’s the blueprint for that megahit. From 1965, Gloria Jones and “Tainted Love.”

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