Tainted Love

Album: Non-Sop Erotic Cabaret (1981)
Charted: 1 8
  • Sometimes I feel I've got to
    Run away I've got to
    Get away
    From the pain that you drive into the heart of me
    The love we share
    Seems to go nowhere
    And I've lost my light
    For I toss and turn I can't sleep at night

    Once I ran to you (I ran)
    Now I'll 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
    Oh tainted love
    Tainted love

    Now I know I've got to
    Run away I've got to
    Get away
    You don't really want it any more from me
    To make things right
    You need someone to hold you tight
    And you'll think love is to pray
    But I'm sorry I don't pray that way

    Once I ran to you (I ran)
    Now I'll 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
    Oh tainted love
    Tainted love

    Don't touch me please
    I cannot stand the way you tease
    I love you though you hurt me so
    Now I'm going to pack my things and go
    Tainted love, tainted love
    Tainted love, tainted love
    Touch me baby, tainted love
    Touch me baby, tainted love
    Tainted love
    Tainted love
    Tainted loveWriter/s: Ed Cobb
    Publisher: MUSIC SALES CORPORATION
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
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Comments: 73

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 10th 1982, "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on July 11th it peaked at #8 (for 2 week) and spent 43 weeks on the Top 100 (amazingly, it spent only 3 weeks on the Top 10).
  • Martin from Fresno, CaThat song is so relevant to me right now. It speaks very well of being attracted to someone and knowing for various reasons there is no future in that relationship.
  • Polina from Rishon, IsraelThe Scorpions did a great version for this, better than Manson. But the original is always the best.
  • Logan from Indianapolis, Ini think Marilyn Manson's version is WAYYY better!
  • Nightthorn from Sacramento, CaOkay, change of mind here. A little slow on the uptake, I had the brilliant idea to search YouTube (Wow!) and found three versions of Tainted: Coil, DM, and MM. I'd only seen Marilyn's 'party invasion' vid once, some time ago, and then only half of it. I just watched it again, and I like it. But Depeche Mode is still my fave.
  • Nightthorn from Sacramento, CaI love this version of the song, where I don't really like Marilyn Manson's. Not my thing. But the one that really moves me is Coil's version of Tainted Love. It's very slow and begins with deep bells, almost funereal. It comes across like a dirge, certainly speaking of AIDS and death. The video backs that up with images of hospitals and illness. Wish I could find it again.
  • Chris from Sevierville, TnAnother 80's song that will always be around and never forgotten!!!!!!
  • Leah from Brooklyn, NyI always thought Soft Cell had the lyrics as "And you think Love is to Prey (not 'pray') but I'm sorry, I don't Prey that way." If you regard a love to be tainted by someone who uses it for the wrong reasons, it could be regarded as preying on the other party.
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaWhen this song came out, it was considered very original because of the way that it used synthesizers to create bizarre effects. Granted, new wave bands like the Cars or Blondie touched on that kind of thing, but this was a really new sound, even more far out than Human League. After this was a big hit, everyone copied its sound, but never to the same arresting effect.
  • Sue from Ny, NyIm new to this so forgive me if this is inappropriate to ask here but im looking for a particular version of "tainted love" I know there are MANY versions but the one im looking for came out during the mid to late 90's, it was a group and the leader singer was a female and possibly from the uk. This has been driving me crazy. any help?
  • Kevin from Birmingham, United KingdomI love this song Tainted Love by Soft Cell But Marilyn Manson's remake was rubbish some songs though should be untouched and a cover should never be made of them this was like a five minute cover the remake SUCKS BIG TIME !!!
  • Marissa from Akron, OhTainted Love= awesome (no matter who sings it.) S.O.S.= TORTURE. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad or poorly written song, but you try spending your junior year of high school listening to it OVER AND OVER AND OVER while the dance team (funny name for a bunch of girls that can't dance) practices their routine to it every stinking day in the commons while you wait for your mom to pick you up, at a volume so loud your mp3 player won't block it out without killing your ears. Grr. And they never did perform that routine in any kind of performance... not to mention the dance team broke up after that year because the girl who started it graduated and no one wanted to be in charge. Maybe that's a good thing.
  • Robert from West Monroe, LaI like the flavor of Soft Cell's version.
    I sing it when tooling through the marsh
    when going red fish & speck fishing.
  • Musicmama from New York, NyAs much as I like Gloria Jones's original version of this song, I don't think of Soft Cell's version as a cover because the spirit of each version is so different.




    I think Gloria Jones's rendition underscores love that has ended, while Soft Cell emphasized the end of that love. Also, I think Gloria Jones was, in some way, uniting soul with British rock and folk music, while Soft Cell's version was a break (as much as the whip-crack sounds) with disco and punk, which had been the two main driving forces in rock music for about half a decade.




    The spirit of "lashing out" drove Soft Cell's version, but it didn't have the kind of satire, whimsy or pure-and-simple recalcitrance of the best punk. I mean, can you imagine the Dead Kennedys, the Sex Pistols or even the Ramones putting out something as earnest as this song? And--as if to rebuke disco--Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" is probably one of the least danceable tunes ever recorded. I don't mean that as a put-down; I mean that, as I said earlier, the song was definitely a "break" with what had been popular for several years up to its 1981 release.




    So..two thumbs (snapped) up for this song.
  • Mirna from Portoviejo, Ecuadorand what about ramones??
  • Melea from Covington, KyThis Has to Be My Altime Favo. Song.
    Like its not in my Time Period. But my Daddy and Mommyy used to constantly play this and it stuck :] 13 years later.


    ps; Marilyn you Suck :]
  • Jim from Madison, Al"Tainted Love" is unpure love and could very well be about an affair where a man loves a woman who is already spoken for. He has given all he can give and now must run away to end the pain.
  • J from Toronto, CanadaGreat tune! Wasn't Ed Cobb also a member of the Four Preps of "Down By The Station", "Big Man" and Medleys fame? Yes he was! This conversation is now over.
  • K from B-town, NcI always thought it was about an STD, but maybe not. Also, I didn't even know this was a re-do of an original song, I've never heard of it, so that kind of proves that this one is better. Marilyn Manson is disturbed, and I've never heard Rhianna's version and I really don't want to; it would probably offend me.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI still haven't the faintest idea how love could possibly be tainted. Does that mean that it's been covered in blood and poison?
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI still haven't the faintest idea how love could be tainted? Does that mean it's been covered in blood and poison?
  • Chris from Boston, Ma TO Jazzz in Frankfurt: What Ed Cobb wrote was

    And you think love is to PLAY
    but I'm sorry I don't PLAY that way

    Soft Cell changed the lyrics and every group
    since then sings pray not play.The 1968 Gloria Jones version says play.


    When I first heard the lin
  • Jameson from Lexington, KyI love this song, but Soft Cell's version has always bugged the hell out of me. Now I know I'm being picky, but dear GODS this song was sung out of key... the singer's voice is always singing a higher note than the song requires; he's consistently one note off. Maybe it's just because I grew up in a musical household, but it just sets my teeth on edge.
  • Jazzz from FrankfurtCan somebody explain to me what Ed Cobb, the song writer, meant by saying "And you think love is to pray, but I'm sorry I don't pray that way"? Where does that come from? Did he have a church background? Or is the praying a metaphor for something else (for example, non-bodily love)? Any ideas out there? Heaps of thanks!
  • Tyler from Orangeville, CanadaBoy..I Say Boy..Can You Disco Down?
  • Dave from Cardiff, WalesSoft Cell were not one-hit wonders - they actually had 12 big hits between 1980 and 1987. Marc Almond later went on to have many more hits as a solo artist, while Dave Ball formed dance act The Grid in the 1990s, who had a Top 3 hit in 1994 with "Swamp Thing". In 2001, folk singer David Gray released a cover of Sodt cell's 1983 hit "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye"
  • Danarose from Fullerton, CaIt was also used for an episode of "Friends," where Danny DeVito played an over-the-hill stripper for a Bachelorette Party. He was dressed as a cop, and danced to the opening notes, then kept being interrupted, and tha final time, collapsing with a heart attack.
    For Port Charles, it was not only used during promos, but also was "sung" by the character Caleb Morley ( Michael Easton, now on One Life to Live ), in his guise of a rock singer. Caleb was a vampire, and had been "staked," but came back, with his rock band. They had a "concert," where Caleb "sang" ( really, lip-synching to another man's voice )"Tainted Love."
  • Diane from Brooklyn, NyDAYA: According to leoslyrics.com, the song is Cheryl "Pepsi" Riley - Thanks For My Child
  • Keegan from Chicago, IlU Rock
  • Matthew from Dalton, PaThis song played during TV ads for the cancelled soap opera Port Charles. Did you also know that hip-hop singer Rihanna sampled this song for her 2006 hit S.O.S.
  • Roberto from Las Cruces, NmI can't believe this that this was a throw away song. I guess now they were glad they didn't pick the other song(s). Anyway I love this song Both the lyrics and the music (electric synthesizer) make it a great song.
  • Daya from Davie, FlPLEASE HELP!!I am trying to figure out the name and title of an R&B song that was out in early 90's. It goes....thanks for my child..im really thanking you the lord above...thanks for my child...your bring me so much joy.....at the end it says your father ran away and even though your father ran away.....
  • Zoe from Bundaberg, AustraliaI think the version of Tainted Love by Marilyn Manson was actually good at least he sings it really well. Also when i first heard it by Marilyn Manson you couldn't tell it was him singing it so wats the point in laughing about him singing a really good song. And also he ain't that creepy.
  • Kika from Nyc, NyBoots the Band did a stunning cover of this song. It was by far my favorite.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaI can't believe no one will stand up for the Ramones! C'mon people, how come I have to be the one taking a stand. The Ramones are good, they don't deserve that kind of treatment, Ted.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI love this song! And I think soft Cell is Cooooool! I wonder, If it's Tainted Love, does that mean it's love that's been covered in poison and stained with blood? Also, somebody said that there are drums in this version that sound like a whip crack. Which drums are they talking about? And by the way, what's that little noise in the intro that sounds like lasers going off?
  • Dennis from Chicagoland Burrows, IlI always thought this song was about the 'herp (herpes)
  • Derek from Brampton, CanadaNever heard the other versions, but Soft Cell's version is quite possibly the worst song ever put down on tape. Glad to see the band cntinued to suck and dissappeared :)
  • Lucas from Someplace In Ca, CaI give Marilyn props for doing a cover, but yeah it does sound totally different and unlike Soft Cell or Gloria
  • Javier from TacnaBART, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system of San Francisco, still makes the toot toot noise :) I like it a lot! :D
  • Jackie from MontrealI think The clash made a cover of the song too?
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScMarilyn Manson covered this song... how funny and what a contrast!
  • Wes from Springfield, VaWhen this was a hit I noticed that the characteristic "honk honk" sound in it sounded exactly like the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) car's horn. I got laughs out of singing, "Tainted Love" whenever a train pulled up. As I havn't been to Frisco since then I don't know if the trains still have that sound...
  • Ville from Chicago, IlI really like Marilyn Mansons version but prefere Soft Cells, Its a great song.
  • Lordjupiter from Sioux Falls, SdFor all who do not already know, a group by the name of Coil also did this song long before Marylin Manson had his first fleeting idea of becoming an Americana idol of the damned. In 1985 Coil released the album panic/tainted love on wax trax records, and re-released on cd form in 1990. Four years after soft cell version, which by the way was the song that introduced me to the world of electronic music.....thank you soft cell.
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaSoft Cell version all the way. MM's version is alright but it doesn't match up.
  • Ally from Bolton, EnglandDark Side of The Moon the album broke the longevity record on the billboard top 500...

    Tainted Love is a single
  • Lyzette from Moorpark, CaMarilyn Manson's version of this song is probably the best version I've ever heard, whether it be on the radio or on a karaoke machine!!
  • Queen from Carmel, NyI think that The Cure did this song the best but thats just my opinion I am only 12 but I can still like the old stuff This is my favorite song
  • Ken from San Diego, CaMarilyn Manson's version does completely rock.
  • Randi from Linton, MeI think that the Marilyn Manson cover is very good, but I personally prefer The Clash's version.
  • Michelle from Pueblo, CoMarilyn Manson is awesome his version is much better then this one
  • Ben from Paris, FranceThe original version by Gloria Jones, is the best, the soft cell version is very good, and the Marilyn Manson version makes me laugh.
  • Ed from Boston, MaMark Almond recently got into a bad motorcycle accident...he will recover, but it will take a long time. (11/2004) BTW, he was also a great solo artist.
    -Ed McMann
  • Carly from Upstate, NyI am *ALWAYS* disappointed if I hear the song on the radio and it's not the 12" version (ie, followed by Baby Where Did Our Love Go) -- so many college memories!!!
  • Andrew from Springfield, MoI thought Time by Dark Side of the Moon held the longevity record.
  • Tessa from Ottawa, CanadaI like Billy Idol's version...
  • Lyndon from Christchurch, New ZealandThis song was also covered bt The Living End. I agree, if anyone trys to cover Nirvana they need to be choked.
  • Tawnee from Tucson, AzShades apart covered this song, too
  • Ted from Los Angeles, Ny[[It's like those dumb idiots trying to cover the Ramones. That's blasphemy. I still listen to most of the bands who covered the songs but they should have left the Ramones alone.]]

    Everyone should leave the Ramones' songs alone. Like leave them alone and away from the CD player. Yikes! Worst band ever.
  • Jo from Londonderry, IrelandWhat about the My Ruin version?
  • Gregory from Chicago, IlThe Gloria Jones original is superior to either the cover versions by Soft Cell and Marilyn Manson. The original Jones version is a brassy, uptempo soul stomper with a whirring organ and a great, belt-it-out vocal by Jones. It has a great Motown feel to it; it sounds like a long-lost Martha and the Vandellas hit. But the test of a good song whether or not it can be redone in various styles, and "Tainted Love" definitely fits that bill.
  • Adele from Victoria, CanadaThe stripper at Phoebe's party used this song in season ten of Friends.
  • Jme from Raleigh, Nci like softcell's version, it's cool.
  • Katie from Dannevirke, New ZealandI have absolutly NO idea who would be freaked out by marilyn manson. I think his version is much better but the song has been covered a few too many times i think. I agree that no-one should ever cover Nirvana, i'll help choke them.
  • Alatriel from Lothlorien, Otherin the second verse, "and they say love is to pray", that makes no sense. it should be "play"-which would make sense.
  • Alatriel from Lothlorien, OtherManson rocked this song but will never equal the original. It's like those dumb idiots trying to cover the Ramones. That's blasphemy. I still listen to most of the bands who covered the songs but they should have left the Ramones alone. If anyone ever covers Nirvana I will choke them.
  • Terri Lynn from Heart's Desire, Canadai personally like the softcell verison and the marilyn manson verison... they both have different sounds, that appeal to different moods and groups. and cover like marilyn manson's opens this song up to different audiences.
  • Patrick from Conyers, GaWhen the song was played in the movie "Coneheads," it regained its popularity for a whole new generation. Radio stations began playing it more frequently than usual.
  • Micheal from Columbia, Md"Tainted Love" is on the 1981 Soft Cell album, "Non-Stop Erotic Caberet" which is such a cool title I just had to share it....thanx!
  • Steven from Market Harborough, EnglandBoth versions of the song are good, but Soft Cell's is better.
  • Matt from Louisville, OhMarilyn Manson ruined this song.
  • Nikko from Bucharest, RomaniaI think that a cover of this magnificent song was needed.Old great hits must be renewed by new artists.
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