The one predictable thing about the solo career of Marc Almond is its utter unpredictability.

The Days of Pearly Spencer had given him a huge and unexpected hit in 1992.  Instead of capitalising on this, he took the decision that 1993 would be the year to release the album Absinthe, a collection of 12 tracks that had been worked on at various points in time between 1986 and 1989. The thing was, all of the tracks were covers of French songs or poems and none of them were released as singles – not that any of them would likely have bothered the charts as radio play would likely have been non-existent.

The other release in 1993 was 12 Years of Tears – Live at the Royal Albert Hall, in which 14 songs from the time with Soft Cell as well as the solo career were selected for inclusion for the first live album of his career.  The show, which had been of a very extravagant nature, had taken place on 30 September 1992, had been a near three-hour affair complete with band, orchestra, dancers and numerous costume changes.  It was also given a VHS release and later, in 2007, a DVD release.

One single was offered up:-

(21) What Makes a Man a Man (live) b/w Torch (live) (March 1993 – #60 in the UK charts)

It’s Marc’s take on a song written and made famous by Charles Aznavour in the 1970s, the sad and moving tale of a gay transvestite.

Torch, which had been a massive hit for Soft Cell, had been left off the parent album, so presumably the hope was fans would buy the single to complete any collection. The ploy didn’t work as it stalled at #60.



  1. Absinthe is a beautiful collection of songs.
    I really enjoy those albums that are so obviously works of love and joy for Marc.
    He has never shied away from torch songs or interpreting music that is certainly left field for a Pop artist.

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