In 1981 Pop Music was hi-jacked by an unlikely duo. With the universal crossover smash hit Tainted Love going on to become the best-selling song of the year.
There’s little denying that Tainted Love bettered the somewhat obscure Gloria Jones original. By adding those two electronic pulses the single took on a totally new dimension. It’s one of those singles that transcends generational gaps – yet it still sounded very fresh and added to the New Romantic electronic genre. Also the single helped the relatively new format – the twelve-inch single. Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go mutates so well that the single becomes electronic disco whilst still always sounding like it was pushing the New Romantic scene forward.
The most unlikely Xmas present I received in December 1981 was the Non Stop Erotic Cabaret LP from my Nan! I can only imagine her buying the record from HMV and feeling a little odd perhaps as she did. The album is much stronger than one would imagine. It’s full of dirty disco sleazy gems and is still a great listen even today.
Then in 1982 The News Of The World caught onto the Tim Pope video for Sex Dwarf. Outrage. I had not seen the video. We didn’t have a video recorder but the tabloid over the top reporting must have increased sales hugely.
Sex Dwarf is not the strongest track on Non Stop Erotic Cabaret – but is up there as one of the best non singles. Soft Cell are not widely regarded as electronic pioneers, too many playground tales about Marc Almond probably put paid to this, but they are leagues above the likes of diluted outfits that would follow (Pet Shop Boys, no thanks).
I did see Soft Cell perform Sex Dwarf on The Old Grey Whistle Test and the performance shows that just two people can perform very well.
Also years later just randomly surfing mash-up videos I found the Teletubbies Sex Dwarf video which works so well that it too is irresistible.