Marc Almond as an international artist is both critically acclaimed and hugely successful as a singer, songwriter and performer. With Dave Ball he established the first successful British electro-duo: Soft Cell. Soft Cell had a string of international hits, the most successful having been their multi-million selling version of the northern soul song 'Tainted Love'. The song is as popular today as it was in 1981 and is regularly aired with the duo's other hit singles 'Bedsitter', 'Numbers', 'Torch' and 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye'. The record 'Memorabilia' was the first techno record ever, and set the pace for a whole musical movement. Soft Cell notched up in excess of 10 million record sales world-wide and established a style that was to influence several generations of musicians that followed - from Pulp to Blur, The Pet Shop Boys to The Divine Comedy.
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An offshoot project called 'The Mambas' followed, recording two double albums, the seminal 'Untitled' and 'Torment and Toreros', an important turning point in Marc's career and one that imbued his artistry with further credibility. The Mambas featured an orchestra both in the studio and on-stage, establishing another first in the 80's - orchestration becoming a main feature of his sound throughout much of his career. This too was to influence so many musicians and bands from My Life Story and Rialto to Tricky.
The transition from group to solo star proved a major success as he produced a series of diverse albums, always surprising and leading his audience in a new direction. Retaining a sense of humour and a touch of bitterness, combined with a strong sense of irony, his themes are perhaps best reflected in the hymns to the 'Saints of the Underworld'; the brilliant and audacious 'Vermin in Ermine' and the reflective cabaret of 'Stories of Johnny'; the twisted and deeply musical 'Mother Fist', and his most successful solo album of the eighties, the lush and sparkling 'The Stars We Are'. 'The Stars We Are' album also spawned the international hit 'Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart', a duet with Gene Pitney.
A new decade and a new album later 'Enchanted' witnessed Marc on an exotic journey around the world, spawning another international hit 'A Lover Spurned'. 1991 saw the release of the Trevor Horn produced album 'Tenement Symphony', and produced yet further top 10 hits - 'Jacky', 'My Hand Over My Heart' and 'The Days of Pearly Spencer'.
His own song writing apart, Marc has received acclaim as an interpreter of other people's songs. He recorded a tribute album to Jacques Brel which received unparalleled critical acclaim in Europe, with Brel's estate praising him as the greatest living performer of Brel's work. In the nineties Marc brought Brel back to the pop charts with the song 'Jacky'. He went on to record a twin album of French songs by writers as diverse as Baudelaire, Greco and Barbara. Marc Almond has always had a love of both the French Chansons and the 'great voices' from the 50's and 60's, and this has established his reputation as a premier torch singer.
Marc Almond has collaborated with a wide range of artists throughout his extensive career which includes working and recording with the likes of Gene Pitney, Nico, Nick Cave, The The and P.J. Proby.
The album 'Open All Night', released 29 March 1999, is a mature, meditative journey, each track outstanding and definitely Marc Almond today, more relevant than ever. From the voodoo tinged 'Black Kiss' to the jazz inspired 'When Bad People Kiss', through to the haunting 'Midnight Soul' and the lyrically poignant 'Tragedy'. The album draws from the musical sources as rich and diverse as R'n'B, trip hop, Gospel and Latin and evokes all the elements that make Marc Almond a unique talent. The album features two duets - 'Threat of Love' with Siouxsie Sioux and the Creatures: and 'Almost Diamonds' with Kelly Dayton, the exquisitely talented vocalist of the Sneaker Pimps.
Marc's anthology of poems and lyrics entitled 'A Beautiful Twisted Night' was released in April 1999 through the publishers Ellipsis. Marc Almond's autobiography 'Tainted Life' was released in October 1999 through Macmillan's.
Though 2000 saw Marc promoting the album Open All Night around Europe and the US, it was a relatively quiet year. 2001 was, by contrast, an extremely productive and creative year. Marc recorded his album 'Stranger Things' for his French based label Bis XIII : the album a collaboration with Icelandic songwriter and producer Johann Johannson, formerly of the Icelandic group Lhooq. 'Stranger Things' with a lush ethereal and sophisticated mix of electronic and organic is a natural progression from 'Open All Night'. Praised by the critics 'Stranger Things' contained what are perhaps some of the best songs of Almond's career, including 'Under Your Wing', 'Lights' and 'End In Tears'. The single taken from the album was the untypical, upbeat track 'Glorious' and was accompanied by a theatrical video directed by Yannick Sallet. It was in March 2001 that Soft Cell reformed to play their first series of concerts in 17 years to rapturous welcome, commentators called it not a revival but a rebirth. This was followed by a small British and European tour that set in motion events that will culminate in a new Soft Cell album and greatest hits compilation in 2002.
During 2001 Marc had two European hits, firstly with a dance collaboration record entitled 'Soul On Soul' with the trance producer Ferry Corstan. The track reached number one in many dance charts across Europe. In Holland it spent six weeks at the top of the dance chart. The second collaboration was with the German band Rosenstolz and created a Top 20 hit in Germany with the song 'Total Eclipse'. Further collaborative work included recording tracks with British garage/hip hop producer Mekon to be included on his album 'Relax with Mekon'. 2001 also saw Marc touring extensively with Jools Holland, and recording a big band version of 'Say Hello Wave Goodbye' for Jools Holland's double platinum album 'Big Band Small World'.
2001 ended with two sell out shows at the Union Chapel in Islington.
2002 has already commenced with the signing of Soft Cell for a new studio album to the label Cooking Vinyl; more tour dates, the release of 'The Best of Soft Cell' album which will include 2 brand new tracks, and several festival dates.
On the solo side the imminent release of a 6 track EP across Europe featuring the track Come Out, and three brand new tracks. Later in the year will see the completion of Marc's Russian album of romantic songs being recorded throughout the Spring. It will feature Russian singers and muscians and will be recorded in Moscow and St.Petersburg.
On the publishing side last year saw the release of a limited edition spoken word CD and book illustrated by the New York artist Scott Ewalt entitled 'The End of New York'. It was a compilation of Marc's favourite lyrics and prose about the cities nightlife, subculture and eventual demise.
2002/03 will also see a release of a follow up book to Tainted Life for the publishing house MacMillans.
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