Soft Cell's record label chose to release "Tainted Love" on July 7, 1981 as the band's second single (their first was "Memorabilia", which did not chart). The label implied that this single would be Soft Cell's final release if the single did not sell. Produced by Mike Thorne, the track was recorded in a day and a half with the first of two vocal takes being ultimately used on the record. Buoyed by the then-dominant Synthpop sound of the time and a memorable performance on Top of the Pops it rapidly reached number one on the UK singles chart, eventually repeating the feat in 17 territories. The following year it charted in the US. Although it took a record-breaking 19 weeks to crack the US Top 40, the song eventually reached #8 and spent a then-record breaking 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.
Most people will only ever have heard Soft Cell's version of Tainted Love not realising that it's actually a cover of the song by Gloria Jones, which was terrific, especially given it was recorded in 1964 and not the electronic 80s.
The Original - Gloria Jones - audio track
The Cover - Soft Cell