There could have been any one of a number of Soft Cell singles put up for consideration in this particular countdown. So why Bedsitter?

Simple really – it was the one that showed they were not going to be novelty one-hit wonders courtesy of a cover version.

Loads of blokes – hetros, homos and those not quite so sure – fell in love with Marc Almond on first sight. For me, it was the clothes and his attitude of seemingly not caring what anyone else thought of him. I was 18 years of age at the time, not long into my first year and university, but still living at home. I was happy enough, but looking to do something different with my life. Black became the colour of all my clothes….eye liner became the choice of make-up…..I started going to discotheques in Glasgow….but only the ones that would play non-chart fodder. Sadly, there weren’t that many of them, and certainly not on Saturday nights. But Maestro’s was one such place, as was Night Moves (which also doubled as a concert venue in midweek).

I thought Soft Cell were incredible. The fact that Marc wasn’t a classical singer in the true sense of the word irritated so many folk. The fact that Dave Ball was a bit weird-looking disturbed a lot of folk. They reminded me so much of Sparks – a band that often brightened up my childhood with appearances on Top Of The Pops (and who would have made this Top 45 if I had in fact bought This Town Aint Big Enough For Both Of Us when it came out).

It’s amazing to look back and realise just how enormous Soft Cell actually were in the early 80s. Tainted Love was the biggest selling single of 1981. Bedsitter reached #4. Say Hello Wave Goodbye, #3 in early 1982. All of these were from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, a #5 LP.

Then it was Torch in April 1982 – it reached #2, followed by What! in July and it hit #9 in the charts. And those were the days when you needed to shift in excess of 500,000 copies to hit the Top 10…

The songs that followed – singles and LPs alike were, if anything, much more enjoyable. Problem was, they were less catchy and less radio-friendly. There also now loads of acts who sounded like Soft Cell and who could churn out hit after hit. Not surprisingly, Marc and Dave soon went their separate ways to enjoy decades of success in their own ways.

Back in 2002, the duo reformed an played a short British tour. Having been fortunate enough to see Marc Almond live several times as a solo performer, the gig at Glasgow Barrowlands was a night not to be missed. And so it proved….

More than quarter of a century after I first listened to Soft Cell, I’m still doing so on a regular basis. And I think there’s plenty more like me out there.

I still have my 12″ copy of Bedsitter – the label tells me that the single is the Early Morning Dance Side, while the flip track is the Late Night Listening Side. Both tracks clock in at almost 8 minutes….

mp3 : Soft Cell – Bedsitter (12 inch version)
mp3 : Soft Cell – Facility Girls (12 inch version)

3 thoughts on “A LAZY STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE : 45 45s AT 45 (44)

  1. Always loved this single, and Non Stop Erotic Cabaret. And Facility Girls is just what you want from a Soft Cell b – side. A great lyric and about nothing in particular, a great synth line and lots and lots of chatter from Cindy and Marc.

  2. Soft Cell’s greatest track for me! #9 in my own 50 At 50 list – all inspiration due your 45 at 45 Villain. All the singles and all of Non Stop Erotic Cabaret made you feel like you were living in – and walking on the streets of – Soho at the turn of the 80’s. Soft Cell, more than any other band, inspired me to make every effort to get to London for the first time and I made a point once I made that trip of staying in a hotel with Soho right on my doorstep.

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