Although best known for first recording “Tainted Love” and then for her musical and personal relationship with Marc Bolan of T-Rex, powerful vocalist Gloria Jones had a long tenure at Motown, both as a songwriter and recording artist, whose little known 1973 LP became a cult classic.


  • First Hit: “Tainted Love”
  • Biggest Hit: As composer, “If I Were Your Woman”
  • Biggest Album: Share My Love
  • Career Highlight: Jones’s original version of “Tainted Love” went largely unnoticed after its 1964 release, but becomes a Northern Soul sensation that later prompts a cover version by Soft Cell, a British group who finds with it an international smash, which ultimately refocuses attention on the original.
  • Born in Cincinnati in 1945, Gloria Jones moves with her family to Los Angeles at seven years old and soon gets involved in gospel music and learns to play piano.
  • In 1959, at 14, Gloria helps form a stellar group of young gospel artists, The Cogics (“Church Of God In Christ”). They include a young Andrae’ Crouch; his twin sister Sandra Crouch; Edna Wright, sister of Darlene Love and later lead singer of Honey Cone; three future Motowners, Sondra “Blinky” Williams, Frankie Kahrl (who would record as Frankie Karl and, on Gordy in the late ‘70s, as Frankie Kah’rl); and organist Billy Preston. The Cogics record one LP, It’s A Blessing, on the Vee-Jay subsidiary Exodus Records in 1964.
  • Gloria is spotted by Motown’s West Coast chief Hal Davis who hires her to provide background vocals along with Brenda and Patrice Holloway. She eventually becomes an in-demand session singer in Los Angeles in addition to her work at Motown. She also begins writing, sometimes using the name LaVerne Ware, producing and learns arranging.
  • Through Davis, she meets Ed Cobb and signs a production deal with him for her own recordings. He writes and produces her first single in late 1964, “My Bad Boy’s Coming Home,” for Vee-Jay’s Champion label and, while it gets little attention, the B-side, “Tainted Love” will boost her fame years later. She continues recording for Cobb, turning out more singles and her first LP, Come Go With Me, on Capitol’s Uptown label.

  • In addition to session work, Gloria also tours as a backup singer with major acts like Joe Cocker and, in the late ‘60s, she joins the Los Angeles company of Hair. 
  • All the while, she continues writing and producing at Motown, teaming up with Pam Sawyer. Berry Gordy offers them a songwriting-production contract. Their compositions are recorded by many major Motown acts, including the Jackson 5, David and Jimmy Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, the Commodores, the Four Tops – the hit “Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” – and Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross, whose duet “My Mistake (Was To Love You)” is also a hit. Their biggest success, in collaboration with Clay McMurray, is “If I Were Your Woman” for Gladys Knight and the Pips,” which receives a GRAMMY® nomination in 1971.
  • In 1973, Gloria records the adventurous LP Share My Love for Motown, on which writes or co-writes eight of the nine tracks, integrating styles ranging from classical, rock and soul, reggae, flamenco and more, all delivered with her hard gospel voice. The album is a tour de force but, just as it is released, she decides to move to England to join T-Rex, the hugely popular glam-band fronted by her boyfriend Marc Bolan. Without the proper support, the LP never finds its audience, although years later, critics like Rashod Ollison will hail it as “a lost masterstroke of the era, a dazzling showcase for a passionate artist who, with no regrets, chose love over fame.”
  • Around the same time, British club DJ Richard Searling buys a copy of “My Bad Boy…”/“Tainted Love” in the US and brings it back to the Northern Soul clubs at home. Playing the flip side, it becomes an immediate sensation among the dancers and music enthusiasts.
  • Jones records and performs with T-Rex and, in ’76, she and Bolan co-produce an album for her on EMI, Vixen, which contains two electrified versions of T-Rex’s “Get It On” (one faster, one slower than the original), an aching version of Bessie Banks’ “Go Now” (famously covered by the Moody Blues) and a remake of “Tainted Love,” although audiences still prefer Gloria’s original version of the song.
  • Following Bolan’s 1977 death in an automobile accident, Gloria returns to California and records another LP, Windstorm, for Sidewalk Records in 1979, using many musicians with Motown connections, like Melvin “Wah-Wah” Watson, Ray Parker, Jr., Eddie “Bongo” Brown and Jack Ashford.
  • In 1981, the synthpop/new wave duo Soft Cell covers “Tainted Love” for the MTV generation and it becomes an international smash hit. On the LP version and for 12-inch remixes of the song, Soft Cell combines their hit with the Supremes “Where Did Our Love Go.”
  • Gloria and Ed Cobb collaborate again in 1982 for the LP Reunited on AVI Records, which contains yet another version of her singing “Tainted Love.”
  • Another reunion on record takes place in 1984 when old friends Jones, Billy Preston, Blinky Williams and Frankie Kahrl (now calling himself Frankie K. Springs) gather for an LP The Cogic’s on the Nashboro label, co-produced by Cobb and Jones.
  • Motown prepares a reissue of Share My Love with a bonus track: Gloria’s demo recording of “If I Were Your Woman.” It’s eventually on CD on Reel Music in 2009 and digitally from the home label a year later.
  • Gloria continues to record and release music in the 2010s, as well as helm the Marc Bolan School Of Music in Sierra Leone and produce music for UNICEF. In 2017, a CD reissue of her first LP Come Go With Me is released in Japan containing bonus tracks of “My Bad Boy…” and the original “Tainted Love.”

Listen to Gloria Jones