Marc Almond replaces Boy George

Richard BatsonSinger Marc Almond will replace jailed pop star Boy George in a 1980s party concert in Norfolk this summer. Almond topped the charts with Tainted Love as part of the duo Soft Cell in 1981.Richard Batson

Singer Marc Almond will replace jailed pop star Boy George in a 1980s party concert in Norfolk this summer.

Almond topped the charts with Tainted Love as part of the duo Soft Cell in 1981, and also had a solo number one with Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart with Gene Pitney eight years later.

He steps into the spot in the nine-act concert at Blickling Hall left vacant when Boy George was given a 15-month prison sentence earlier this month for handcuffing a male escort to a wall and beating him with a metal chain.

Boy George, the 47-year-old former Culture Club singer, had been among headlining acts at the Norfolk show before he was jailed for false imprisonment at his flat in Shoreditch, London.


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Promoter David Heartfield, of the Rival organisation, said it was not easy to find a replacement for Boy George, as many 1980s acts had been to Blickling for previous party concerts, so he was pleased to sign up someone of Marc's calibre for a rare UK concert, and his first at a stately home.

Soft Cell sold more than 10 million records worldwide, and Almond's solo hits included The Days of Pearly Spencer which reached number four in 1992, a year after reprising Tainted Love to number five - a song which was a number one in 17 countries and stayed in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for 43 weeks, then a world record.

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In more recent years, Almond has written a book In Search of the Pleasure Palace, a humorous look at a midlife crisis, and appeared with the Pussycat Dolls at a New York fashion event.

In 2004, he was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle crash which left him unconscious for more than two weeks, but is now back touring, with a series of gigs lined up for Germany this spring.

At the Greatest Eighties Party at Blickling on July 18, he joins ABC, Go West, Bananarama, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, the Three Degrees, Cutting Crew, Hazel O'Connor and Visage.

Mr Heartfield also said he hoped to announce other Blickling shows soon.

Tickets for the show, which is supported by the EDP, are on sale from Archant Norfolk offices at Prospect House in Norwich, Church Street, Cromer and Regent Street, Yarmouth and online from www.edp24.co.uk/shop (booking fee applies), as well as Blickling Hall 0844 800 4308 (plus booking fee, personal callers by cash/cheque - no booking fee), the credit-card hotline 0871 424 4444 (24-hour, plus booking fee) or online at www.ticketline.co.uk or www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events

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