Almond, Marc


Born Peter Marc Almond, 9 July 1956, Southport, Lancashire, England. Following the demise of the electro-pop duo Soft Cell and their adventurous offshoot Marc And The Mambas, Almond embarked on a solo career. With backing from the Willing Sinners, his first such venture was 1984's Vermin In Ermine, which barely consolidated his reputation and proved to be his last album for Phonogram Records. Stories Of Johnny, released on Some Bizzare Records through Virgin Records, was superior and displayed Almond's undoubted power as a torch singer. Prior to the album's release, he had reached the UK Top 5 in a camp disco-inspired duet with Bronski Beat titled "I Feel Love (Medley)". The single combined two Donna Summer hits ("Love To Love You Baby" and "I Feel Love" ) with snatches of John Leyton's "Johnny Remember Me", all sung in high register by fellow vocalist Jimmy Somerville. The controversial Mother Fist And Her Five Daughters did little to enhance his career, which seemed commercially in decline by the time of the Singles compilation. Another change of licensed label, this time to Parlophone Records, saw the release of "Tears Run Rings' and Almond's old commercial sense was emphasized by 1989"s opportune revival of "Something's Gotten Hold Of My Heart" with Gene Pitney. This melodramatic single was sufficient to provide both artists with their first number 1 hit as soloists.

Almond returned in 1990 with a cover album of Jacques Brel songs and Enchanted, which featured the singer's usual flamboyant style complemented by flourishes of flamenco guitar and violin, and a solid production. In 1992, Almond revived the David McWilliams song "The Days Of Pearly Spencer", reaching number 4 in the UK charts. The same year he staged an extravagant comeback concert at the Royal Albert Hall, documented on 12 Years Of Tears. In contrast, Absinthe: The French Album was a strikingly uncommercial set that featured Almond performing Baudelaire and Rimbaud poems. He returned to the cold electronic sounds of the 80s with Fantastic Star in early 1996, the same year as he ended a 15-year contract with Stevo as his manager and signed an abortive deal with Echo Records. Almond returned in 1999 with Open All Night, released on his own Blue Star label. His profile was further raised by a Soft Cell reunion, and the release of the excellent Stranger Things. This collaboration with Icelandic producer Johann Johannson was widely regarded to be the singer's strongest release since Absinthe.

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