Marc Almond - from the Synth-Pop duo Soft Cell to a groundbreaking solo career.

Marc Almond In Concert – 1999 – Past Daily Soundbooth.

Marc Almond – from the Synth-Pop duo Soft Cell to a groundbreaking solo career.

Marc Almond – Live At Royal and Derngate in Northampton – May 23, 1999 – BBC Radio 2 In Concert Series –

Marc Almond in concert tonight – recorded live at Royal and Derngate in Northampton for the BBC Radio 2 In Concert series on May 23, 1999.

To refresh your memory; Marc Almond was initially part of the Synth-Pop Techno duo Soft Cell who leapt into the public consciousness by way of Tainted Love, the re-working of a memorable 60’s Soul ballad by Gloria Jones.

Marc Almond became known for his distinctive soulful voice and androgynous image. But he has also had a diverse career as a solo artist. His collaborations include a duet with Gene Pitney on the 1989 UK number one single “Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart”. Almond’s career spanning over four decades has enjoyed critical and commercial acclaim, and he has sold over 30 million records worldwide.

Almond’s first release in the 1990s was the album Enchanted, which spawned the UK Top 30 hit “A Lover Spurned”. A further single from the album, “Waifs and Strays”, was remixed by Dave Ball who was now in the electronic dance band The Grid. In 1991, Soft Cell returned to the charts with a new remix of “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” followed by a re-release of “Tainted Love” (with a new video). The singles were issued to promote a new Soft Cell/Marc Almond compilation album, Memorabilia – The Singles, which collected some of the biggest hits from Almond’s career throughout the previous ten years. The album reached the UK Top 10.

In 1993 Almond toured Russia (including Siberia) by invitation of the British consul in Moscow. Accompanied only by Martin Watkins on piano, he played small Soviet halls and theaters, often without amplification, and ended at the “mini Bolshoi” in Moscow. Transmitted live on television Almond made a plea for tolerance of gay people. The tour was fraught with troubles, which Almond detailed in his autobiography, but it marked the beginning of his love affair with the genre of Russian folk torch songs known as Romance.

Almond signed to Echo records in 1998 with a more downbeat and atmospheric electronica album, Open All Night. This featured R&B and trip hop influences, as well as torch songs for which he had become known. The album featured a duet (“Threat of Love”) with Siouxsie Sioux as well as one (“Almost Diamonds”) with Kelli Ali (then of the Sneaker Pimps). “Black Kiss”, “Tragedy” and “My Love” were the singles from the album Open All Night.

As a reminder of the period just prior to his relocating to Moscow (in 2000), here is a sample of what Marc Almond was doing in May of 1999 as presented by BBC Radio 2.

Enjoy.

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