Marc Almond has recently signed his first large record deal in years, with Universal, and following the release of his 10-disc anthology “Trials of Eyeliner” at the end of 2016, is subsequently releasing a new collection of his single releases entitled “Hits and Pieces”. It’s available in 1CD and 2CD formats and is his first “Hits” album since “Memorabilia – The Singles” in 1991.
The Hits, which start at the worldwide chart classic “Tainted Love” and probably the song he’s best known for, and end with his forthcoming new single “A Kind of Love”.
The double album includes most of his singles, many of which were hits such as “Somethings Gotten Hold of My Heart” with Gene Pitney, the Jacques Brel/Scott Walker cover version of “Jacky” and the self-penned “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” of which is somewhat of a tradition to perform at the end of Marc Almond gigs these days.
The other songs included on the album which were not so popular with the record buying public, presumably “the Pieces” include some of his finest work, in my opinion. The single “Out There” has wisely been replaced with the B-side of that release namely “Brilliant Creatures” which is an infectiously catchy song and a personal favourite. “The Desperate Hours” and “A Lover Spurned” the former of which hovered outside the top 40 and the latter which reached number 29 are also welcome inclusions.
Notable omissions on the album include the utterly brilliant and poignant “Only the Moment” (my funeral song, if anyone’s interested) and “Waifs and Strays” which although didn’t get anywhere near the top 40 (it only reached number 88) is still a great song, and of which an excellent remix was made by The Grid, which is Dave Ball’s old band post-Soft Cell.
Another ‘missing’ single includes “Mother Fist”, which, although according to its chart position, bombed, reaching only number 93 and leaving the charts altogether a week later, the album from which it’s taken is documented as the fans’ favourite. So much so that Marc performed two special gigs last year at London’s Playhouse and the RNCM in Manchester, of the album in its entirety, to positive critique.
The album is accompanied by a short tour in the Spring, also entitled “Hits and Pieces” which kicks off on 22 March at London’s Roundhouse, and takes in Perth, Buxton, York, and Warrington. There’s also a pre-tour warm up gig at Milton Keynes’ The Stables.
This being the year of Marc’s 60th birthday, we have been told there are other events in the pipeline. Rumours include a 60th birthday gig at the Royal Albert Hall, a Soft Cell boxed set and a larger tour in the Autumn, all of which are as yet officially unconfirmed.
The new album will please both fans of the man and his work, as well as Soft Cell fans who are intrigued to know what he’s been up to this past thirty years. This album is but the tip of the Marc Almond iceberg. In my humble opinion if you want to explore his work further, you should buy his albums to discover the richer fruit. He’s so much more than “Tainted Love”.
The new single “A Kind of Love” is being premiered on the Ken Bruce show, BBC Radio 2 at 11.30am on Monday 30 January.
The album will be available in 1CD and 2CD deluxe versions from the usual outlets on the 10th March 2017.
01. Memorabilia (Soft Cell)
02. Tainted Love / Where Did Our Love Go (Original 12 Version) (Soft Cell)
03. Bedsitter (Soft Cell)
04. Say Hello Wave Goodbye (Soft Cell)
05. Torch (Soft Cell)
06. What! (Soft Cell)
07. Where The Heart Is (Soft Cell)
08. Soul Inside (Soft Cell)
09. Down In The Subway (Extended Single Version) (Soft Cell)
10. I Feel Love (Full Length Version) (Bronski Beat with Marc Almond)
11. Black Heart (Marc & The Mambas)
12. Stories Of Johnny
13. Melancholy Rose
14. Tears Run Rings
15. Ruby Red
16. Somethings Gotten Hold Of My Heart (Marc Almond with Gene Pitney)
17. A Lover Spurned
01. The Desperate Hours
02. My Hand Over My Heart
04. The Days Of Pearly Spencer
05. What Makes A Man (Live)
06. The Idol
07. Adored and Explored
08. Brilliant Creatures
09. Child Star
10. Tragedy (Take A Look And See)
13. Burn Bright
14. The Dancing Marquis
15. Bad To Me
17. A Kind Of Love (Full Length Version)
18. Tainted Love (Marc Almond with Jools Holland and the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra)
Ange Chan is a poet and novelist. Her fourth poetry collection “Fame; What’s Your Name?” and her second novel “Baby, Can You Hear Me?” were both published in paperback and Kindle in 2016. Her third novel will be published in 2017.
She regularly writes for We Are Cult and the Doctor Who Appreciation Society’s long running fanzine, Celestial Toyroom