The Gloria Jones Challenge – Round 20

The Gloria Jones Challenge is our ongoing examination of the many, many, many covers of Jones’ classic Northern Soul jam “Tainted Love” – to see how they stack up compared to the original.

Today’s challenger updates the soul of the song and impresses the hell out of us.

But first, as always, the original.

And now the challenger, Bilal

Postcard ChaCha: It’s nice to see someone leaving the soul in their cover and raising the funk bar just a bit. There’s something a little off in this version, that I can’t quite put my finger on. The piano and backing vocals are nice touches and it leans into jazz territory but maintains it’s credibility and honors the original without getting too close to it. Somehow, I think this is one of the few versions Gloria herself would have been proud of.

Postcard Editor: This is the first version to impress me so much that I want to find out more about the artist covering it. Bilal and his band create a version that walks the line of retro soul, nouveau soul, jazz, funk, rock and make it all sound good in the process. The change up to the rhythm on the pre-chorus (“Once I ran to you…”) doesn’t work quite as well as it could, but that is the one scuff on this otherwise flawless version of the song.


1. Dave Phillips
2. Stella Starlight Trio
3. Max Raabe
4. The Re-Entrants
5. My Brightest Diamond
6. Ruth Swan(n)
7. Marilyn Manson
8. East German Polka Band
9. The Swampy’s
10. Bilal
11. Inspiral Carpets
12. Bluekilla
13. Alejandra Guzman
14. Shades Apart
15. Pussycat Dolls
16. Blues MAMA
17. Straight No Chaser
18. Coil
19. Access Zero
20. Impedance


1. Shades Apart
2. Dave Phillips
3. East German Polka Band
4. Bilal
5. Inspiral Carpets
6. My Brightest Diamond
7. Marilyn Manson
8. The Re-Entrants
9. Ruth Swan(n)
10. Coil
11. The Swampy’s
12. Alejandra Guzman
13. Pussycat Dolls
14. Bluekilla
15. Straight No Chaser
16. Impedance
17. Blues MAMA
18. Max Raabe
19. Stella Starlight Trio
20. Access Zero

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