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Marc Almond

Marc Almond
Marc Almond

Marc Almond

Background information Birth name Born Genre(s) Years active Label(s) Associated acts Peter Mark Sinclair Almond 9 July 1957 (1957-07-09)
Southport, Lancashire, England

Cabaret, Rock, Pop 1978 - present Some Bizzare, Virgin, Sire, Echo, Blue Star, Sanctuary, Vertigo Soft Cell, Marc and the Mambas, Flesh Volcano, The Immaculate Consumptive, Marc Almond and the Willing Sinners, Jools Holland


Marc Almond (born Peter Mark Sinclair Almond on 9 July 1957 in Southport, Lancashire) is an English singer, songwriter and recording artist, who originally found fame as half of the seminal synthpop/New Wave duo Soft Cell.

brought up at his grandparent’s house in Birkdale with his younger sister Julia, and as a child suffered from bronchitis and asthma. When he was 4, they left their grandparent’s house and moved to Starbeck on the edge of Harrogate, North Yorkshire. Two years later they returned to Southport, and then moved to Horsforth (near Leeds). Due to a car crash at the age of 14, Almond is nearly completely deaf in his left ear. He just managed to scrape into King George V Grammar School in Southport. By this time his father was suffering from alcoholism, and Almond found solace in music, listening to British radio pioneer John Peel. The first album he purchased was the soundtrack of the stage musical Hair and the first single Green Manalishi by Fleetwood Mac. He became a great fan of Marc Bolan, Brian Eno and David Bowie and got a parttime job as a stable boy to fund his musical tastes. He managed to gain two O-Levels in Art and English and was accepted onto a General Art and Design course at Southport College, specialising in Performance Art. He applied to Leeds Polytechnic where he was interviewed by Jeff Nuttall, also a performance artist, who accepted him on the strength of his mime skills. It was whilst at Leeds Polytechnic that that Marc met David Ball a fellow student, forming Soft Cell in 1979.

Musical influences
As a child, Almond listened to his parent’s record collection, which included his mother’s Let’s Dance by Chris Montez and The Twist by Chubby Checker, also his father’s collection of jazz including Dave Brubeck and Eartha Kitt. As an adolescent Marc listened to Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. He became a great fan of Marc Bolan after hearing him on the John Peel Show, buying the T.Rex single Ride a White Swan, from then on he ’followed everything Marc Bolan did’. He was also a great fan of David Bowie, Roxy Music, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Nico, the New York Dolls, Wayne County and Brian Eno. He

Childhood and early life
Marc Almond was born on 9 July 1957 in Southport on the Lancashire coast between Liverpool and the Ribble Estuary, the son of Sandra Mary Almond (formerly Dieson) and Peter John Sinclair Almond, Second Lieutenant in the King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was


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went to Lou Reed, Captain Beefheart, and Cockney Rebel concerts in Liverpool. But the highlight was when he climbed over the barriers at the front of a David Bowie concert, reached out and was touched by the man himself.

Marc Almond
highest UK positions his self-penned singles have reached so far have been "Stories of Johnny" (#23 in 1985), "Tears Run Rings" (#28 in 1988 and #5 in the Netherlands) and "Adored and Explored" (#25 in 1995). Almond’s work runs the gamut from electronica and dance music to French chanson, traditional piano ballads, and Russian romance songs, as exhibited on his 2003 album Heart on Snow. Influences include David Bowie, a childhood hero of his, as well as early 1960s Northern Soul and disco. Other major influences have been Scott Walker from the Walker Brothers and Jacques Brel, 12 of whose songs Almond reworked in English for his 1989 album Jacques. Almond’s own lyrics are a creative expression of what he sees and are not to be confused with his own life. He also operates a record label, Blue Star Music, on which he has released many of his solo and collaborative records in the UK. Almond’s career, for the casual listener was one that always "struggled" with pop stardom. In the U.S., Almond, until today, is mostly known as a one-day-hit-wonder, due to "Tainted Love". In truth however, Almond with Soft Cell, Marc and the Mambas, as well as in his solo career turned into one of the most diverse and prolific artists of his generation. As Soft Cell, after becoming quite successful with a string of 5 top 10 hits, they deliberately chose another route. With the The Art of Falling Apart this route paid off. They received high critical acclaim. Their final and last album This Last Night in Sodom did even more so. However, sales faltered severely and their record company Phonogram began to lose interest. But due to their still existing pop stardom they had sold out farewell concerts at the Hammersmith Ballroom in January 1984. The demise of Soft Cell probably had to come, since Almond and Ball went crazy (and the drugs were just a sign for that) over pop business and sell-out of artists. Marc put all his frustration in the incredible work of Torment and Toreros, which was released in September 1983. It was an incredible departure from the early Soft Cell stuff and did not only receive favorable reviews. Because of that Almond had a nervous breakdown and declared his retirement from the recording industry altogether. That never happened though. What followed was an incredible

Career and later life
Almond has had a long and varied career spanning almost 30 years. During this time, after a career with Soft Cell and Marc and the Mambas, he has collaborated with an extremely wide range of artists including Antony and The Johnsons, Jools Holland, Siouxsie Sioux, Nick Cave, P.J. Proby, Nico, Kelli Ali of the Sneaker Pimps, Neal X (on the albums Fantastic Star and Open All Night), Marie France, Agnes Bernelle, Lydia Lunch, Gene Pitney on the #1 UK single "Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart", Foetus (a.k.a. J. G. Thirlwell), Jimmy Somerville of The Communards and Bronski Beat, Psychic TV, Coil, Sally Timms of the Mekons, King Roc, John Cale, David Johansen of The New York Dolls and German band Rosenstolz. Almond initially shot to fame in the early 1980s as one half of synth duo Soft Cell, whose combination of drama and peep show sleaze set to an electronic beat gave them hits such as "Tainted Love" (UK #1), "Bedsitter" (UK #3), "Torch" (UK #2), "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" (UK #3), "Soul Inside" (UK # 16), "What?" (UK #3) and the club hit "Memorabilia". They were first spotted by David Oddie, boss of Wakefield based Ambergris Records in a Bradford club, who passed his enthusiasm onto Dead Good Records in Lincoln, famous for their Hicks From The Sticks compilation, who in turn approached Polygram, the newly formed amalgam of Polydor and Phonogram. Although Soft Cell disbanded in 1984 just before the release of fourth album, This Last Night In Sodom, the duo reunited in 2001 for live shows and in 2002 released a new album entitled Cruelty Without Beauty, from which the single "The Night" (UK #39) was taken. His biggest UK hits as a solo artist have been cover versions; the aforementioned 1989 number one duet with Gene Pitney and another near chart-topper in 1992, "The Days of Pearly Spencer", which peaked at #4. In 1985, he duetted with Jimmy Somerville and Bronski Beat on a cover of Donna Summer’s "I Feel Love (Medley)" and it hit #3. The


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busy end with Soft Cell, mixed with farewell concerts of the Mambas and four concerts in New York and Washington with Clint Ruin (Foetus), Nick Cave and Lydia Lunch under the name The Immaculate Consumptive by the end of 1983. After the end of all that, it took Marc only a few months to "come back" with his first solo album (under the name Marc Almond and the Willing Sinners, later La Magia)) Vermin In Ermine, which featured musicians from the Mambas outfit, Annie Hogan, Martin McCarrick and Billy McGee. McCarrick left in 1987 for Siouxsie and the Banshees and they finally parted ways in 1988. Since 1984, Almond released no less than 12 solo studio albums and numerous live recordings. He took singing classes and could now oppose his critics who had poked fun of his singing style in his early career. But in a way, the general public was right: he consistently did struggle with pop stardom, since he still liked having "hits" but only had them occasionally (among them "Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart" and "The Days of Pearly Spencer". And at the same time, he wanted to be underground, always working with underground artists (Psychic TV, Foetus, Coil), but proving to have too many pop sensibilities to really make it. His solo efforts were also very eclectic and his most outstanding efforts are probably Mother Fist and Her Five Daughters (1987), an acoustic, folkish outing with many Brel influences and Open All Night (1999), where he uses a mostly trip hop influenced style. 2001 saw the return of Soft Cell, and while the 2002 released album Cruelty Without Beauty was not as consistent as their earlier albums, it still had some strong songs. And the live shows, starting with the comeback shows at Oceans in March 2001, and combining new and old material, were celebrated by old and new fans alike. Following this outing, he also took up dj-ing (something he originally had done before Soft Cell had taken off) and recorded with a couple of dance artists like Ferry Corsten. Soft Cell came to a halt again after his accident in October 2004. In 1999, Almond received attention and accolades for his autobiography, entitled Tainted Life, which confronts details of his early life, creative ventures, his sexuality (Almond is gay), and drug addiction, for which he was hospitalized in 1994. Almond wrote

Marc Almond
the autobiography without a ghost writer and his publishers subsequently commissioned him to write a travel book, In Search of the Pleasure Palace: Disreputable Travels, whose publication in 2004 was accompanied by a book-signing tour. Living in in Moscow in 2003 Almond recorded a project of Russian Folk and Gypsy Romance. Produced by Andrey Samsonov, Heart On Snow features collaborations with some of Russia’s biggest musical legends and stars, Lyudmila Zykina and Alla Bayanova, Boris Grebenshchikov and Ilia Lagutenko as well as a the Russian Naval Choir and the famous Rossiya Folk Orchestra. The album included such famous Russian songs as "The Storks", "So Long The Path" and others. "Tenderness" was an outtake, but later released as download single trough Official Marc Almond site. It was a project never before undertaken by a Western artist. [2] On 17 October 2004, Almond was badly injured in a motorbike accident in London, in which he was a pillion passenger. Although the initial prognosis was considered poor, he was discharged from Royal London Hospital on around 6 November 2004 and was said to be making a "remarkable" recovery. Two months later he was giving press and TV interviews saying he could not wait to get back on stage. His recovery was, however, to take longer than he thought, involving several operations and counseling for post traumatic stress disorder. In 2005, he continued his recovery, did some DJ gigs all over Europe and guested at the Meltdown Festival in London in June 2005, hosted by Patti Smith. Almond contributed two songs to this night of Brecht music, "Bilbao Song" and "What Keeps a Man Alive". In October, November and December 2005, Almond went on tour with Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, singing two songs during the shows, "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" and "Tainted Love", which had a new arrangement done by Holland. 2006 saw Almond concentrate on recording, making few public appearances, though he did headline the Manchester Gay Pride Festival in August of that year. In 2005 he also contributed a track to the Serge Gainsbourg tribute album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited. Almond’s new album of cover songs, Stardom Road, was released on 4 June 2007, and features artists such as St Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell and Antony from Antony and the


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Johnsons. Two of the cover versions included in this new album are Dusty Springfield’s "I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten", which he has recorded with Sarah Cracknell, and Gene Pitney’s over the top "Backstage (I’m Lonely)", as a tribute to the late crooner, featuring a guest appearance by Jools Holland. The album also includes one new self-penned song, "Redeem Me (Beauty Will Redeem the World)", his first composition since the nearfatal motorbike accident. Almond also appears on the 2006 album Black Ships Ate the Sky by experimental band Current 93. He is also working on a DVD compilation of all his promotional video clips as well as his last ever self-penned album, tentatively titled Dining with Panthers. Almond made his return to the London stage for a three-night run at the historic Wilton’s Music Hall from 4–6 May 2007, his first full-length UK shows since his accident. He had been warming up with shows in Barcelona, Athens and Moscow. He then recorded a BBC Radio special which was broadcast on Radio 2 on 1 June, and played a minitour in June and July, culminating in a 50th birthday concert before 2,000 fans and friends at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London on 9 July. During the almost three-hour-long concert he was overcome with emotion on a couple of occasions especially when paying tribute to Gene Pitney. On 29 July 2007, Almond made his first ever live appearance in his home town of Southport as a guest of Jools Holland’s Rhythm and Blues Orchestra. He performed "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" and "Tainted Love". Almond performed with Jools Holland at the British International Motor Show on 1 August 2008, held at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre. 2009 will see the release of a new Russian-style album Orpheus In Exile, and 2010 the release of his so-called "last selfpenned" album altogether. He plans not on giving up his career yet, so there is still a lot to come. Almond currently lives in the Bermondsey area of south east London.[3] In his autobiography he describes previously living in Earl’s Court, in a converted church in Fulham and most memorably in Soho’s Berwick Street, where he lived in a flat overlooking the Raymond Revuebar.

Marc Almond

With Dave Ball as Soft Cell
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • 1981 Non-stop Erotic Cabaret #5 UK 1982 Non-stop Ecstatic Dancing #6 UK 1983 The Art of Falling Apart #5 UK 1984 This Last Night In Sodom #12 UK 1986 The Singles #58 UK 1991 Memorabilia: The Singles #8 UK 1994 Down in the Subway (compilation) 1996 Say Hello to Soft Cell (compilation) 1999 The Twelve Inch Singles 2002 The Very Best of Soft Cell #37 UK 2002 Cruelty Without Beauty #116 UK 2003 Live 2003 Soft Cell at the BBC (BBC) 2005 The Bedsit Tapes Early/Rare Demos 1978-1982 • 2006 Demo Non Stop - More Rare Demos • 2008 Heat: The Remixes - (Remix Album)

As Marc & the Mambas/Raoul and the Ruined
• 1982 Untitled #42 UK • 1983 Torment and Toreros #28 UK • 1984 Bite Black and Blues Live (Fan club only release)

As The Willing Sinners/La Magia
• 1984 Vermin in Ermine #36 UK • 1985 Stories of Johnny #22 UK • 1987 Mother Fist & Her Five Daughters #41 UK • 1988 The Stars We Are #41 UK

With Michael Cashmore
• 2008 Gabriel and The Lunatic Lover

• 1986 Violent Silence (mini album) • 1986 A Woman’s Story (mini album) • 1987 Singles 1984 - 1987 (compilation of singles from The Willing Sinners era) • 1989 Jacques • 1990 Enchanted #52 (UK) • 1991 Tenement Symphony #39 (UK) • 1992 A Virgin’s Tale - Volume I (1985-1987 B-sides & remixes from The Willing Sinners era) • 1992 A Virgin’s Tale - Volume II (1986-1987 B-sides from the Mother Fist album era)


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• 1993 Twelve Years of Tears (Live at the Royal Albert Hall) • 1993 Absinthe: The French album • 1995 Treasure Box (rarities compilation) • 1996 Fantastic Star #54 (UK) • 1998 Marc Almond & La Magia Live in Concert • 1999 Open All Night • 2000 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (Fan club only release) • 2001 Stranger Things • 2001 Live at the Union Chapel (Fan club only release) • 2002 Little Rough Rhinestones Volume 1 (Fan club only release) • 2003 The Willing Sinner Live in Berlin • 2003 Marc Almond in Session Volume 1 (BBC) • 2003 Heart on Snow • 2003 Marc Almond in Session Volume 2 (BBC) • 2006 Little Rough Rhinestones Volume 2 (Fan club only release) • 2007 Stardom Road (covers album) #53 (UK)

Marc Almond
• 1999 Beautiful Twisted Night (poems, lyrics and prose) • 1999 Tainted Life (autobiography, reprinted in paperback in 2000) • 2001 The End of New York (poems and prose, including spoken word CD) • 2004 In Search of the Pleasure Palace Disreputable Travels (autobiography)

• 1982 Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Exotic Video Show (released 2004) • 1987 A Lover Spurned - Live at the Astoria, London 1987 (released 2002) • 1991 The Willing Sinner - Live at the Berlin Passionchurch 1991 (released 2002) • 2000 Live at the Lokerse Festeen 2000 • 2000 Live at the Union Chapel Dec 2000 (released 2003) • 2002 Soft Cell Live in Milan • 2005 Sin Songs, Torch and Romance - Live at the Almeida Theatre 2004 • 2007 Twelve Years of Tears - Live at the Royal Albert Hall 1992 • 2008 Marc Almond: In Bluegate FieldsLive at the Wilton’s Music Hall • TBA Marc and the Mambas LIVE - at the Duke Of York’s Theatre, April 1983

Singles Other contributions
• Vocals on "Guiltless" & "Stolen Kisses" by Psychic TV from album Force the Hand of Chance • Vocals on "Burning Boats" by Anni Hogan from the EP Kickabye • Vocals on "Titan Arch" by Coil, from album Love’s Secret Domain • Vocals on "Skin" by The Burmoe Brothers with Guy Chambers • Vocals for "The Dark Age of Love" by Coil, from Songs of the Week • Vocals for cover version of "Who By Fire" by Coil, from Horse Rotorvator • Vocals for "Idumea" by Current 93, from Black Ships Ate the Sky • Vocals for "The Epitaph of God" (with voices from Turnmills Ernesto Tomasini), "Tonight" and "Tango Song" (by Alistair Crowley co-arranged by Almond), from album by OTHON - Digital Angel


[1] Tainted Life (1999) autobography chapters 1-4 [2] "Biography", Official Marc Almond site [3] "The dramatic world of Marc Almond", The Times, 25 October 2008 [4] "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". Retrieved on 2008-08-20. [5] " - Artist Chart History Marc Almond". Billboard. Retrieved on 2008-08-20.

External links
• Official website • Marc Almond at MySpace • Interview with Marc Almond about his car crash and Southport roots

• 1988 The Angel of Death in the Adonis Lounge (poems)


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Year Title Notes

Marc Almond

Singles Singles Peak Peak[4]

1982 "Sleaze" 1983 "Black Heart" b/w "Your Aura" "Torment" b/w "You’ll Never See Me on a Sunday" 1984 "The Boy Who Came Back" b/w "Joey Demento" "You Have" b/w "Split Lip" "Tenderness Is a Weakness" b/w "Love for Sale" 1985 "I Feel Love" "Skin" "Stories of Johnny" "Love Letter" 1986 "The House Is Haunted (By the Echo of Your Last Goodbye)" "A Woman’s Story" "Ruby Red" 1987 "Melancholy Rose" "Mother Fist" "This House Is a House of Trouble" 1988 "Tears Run Rings" "Bitter Sweet"

as Marc and the Mambas, fan club only release as Marc and the Mambas as Marc and the Mambas

49 90 52 57 88

3 17 1 26 4 14 8 -

Bronski Beat Marc Almond as The Burmoe Brothers

3 23 68 55 41 47 71 93

Sally Timms (Mekon) and The Drifting Cowgirls featuring Marc Almond also charted at #67 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 26 40 1 45 29 45 88 Soft Cell Marc Almond Soft Cell Marc Almond 38 5 17 33 4 60 25 44 41

"Something’s Gotten Hold of My Featuring Special Guest Star Gene Heart" Pitney 1989 "Only the Moment" 1990 "A Lover Spurned" "The Desperate Hours" "Waifs and Strays" 1991 "Say Hello Wave Goodbye ’91" "Tainted Love ’91" "Jacky" 1992 "My Hand Over My Heart" "The Days of Pearly Spencer" 1993 "What Make a Man a Man" 1995 "Adored and Explored" "The Idol" "Child Star"


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1996 "Out There" / "Brilliant Creatures" "Yesterday Has Gone" 1998 "Black Kiss" 1999 "Tragedy (Take a Look and See)" "My Love" / "Threat of Love" 2000 "Please Stay" 2001 "Glorious" "Total Eclipse" "Soul on Soul" 2003 "Gone But Not Forgotten" 2004 "Vanity Poverty Revenge/Neo Burlesque" "Sheherezade" "Face Control EP" 2005 "Delirious" "Perfect Honey" "Baby’s On Fire" "Prime Evil" 2007 "I Close My Eyes and Count to Ten" 2008 "Gabriel & The Lunatic Lover" "Smoke & Mirrors" Punx Soundcheck featuring Marc Almond limited edition, vinyl only Replicant featuring Marc Almond Rosenstolz + Marc Almond + Nina Hagen System F featuring Marc Almond with The Creatures Mekon featuring Marc Almond

Marc Almond
76 -

P.J. Proby Marc Almond featuring The 58 My Life Story Orchestra 97 144 91 -

Mekon featuring Marc Almond limited edition Loverush UK! featuring Marc Almond limited dance release T-Total featuring Marc Almond limited dance release King Roc featuring Marc Almond limited dance release -

with Sarah Cracknell, cd-single promo 43 download only with Michael Cashmore Starcluster featuring Marc Almond -

Retrieved from "" Categories: 1957 births, Living people, Echo records artists, English male singers, English pop singers, English singer-songwriters, Gay musicians, LGBT people from England, LGBT musicians from the United Kingdom, People from Southport, Old Georgians (KGV) This page was last modified on 17 May 2009, at 22:22 (UTC). All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.) Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) taxdeductible nonprofit charity. Privacy policy About Wikipedia Disclaimers


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