"Such a Shame" was inspired by Luke Rhinehart’s The Dice Man, one of composer Mark Hollis' favourite books. When asked what drove him to respond to Rhinehart’s book, Hollis replied, "A good book, not a lifestyle I'd recommend."
It was released as the album's second single in 1984 (see 1984 in music), and became a big hit in continental Europe in 1984 and 1985, reaching the Top 10 in numerous countries, and becoming a number 1 in certain territories (their third number 1 single after the remixed version of their song "Talk Talk" which topped the South African charts in 1983 and the single "It's My life" which was number 1 in the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play in 1984); but strangely this single was largely ignored in the UK. In the US, the song entered the Billboard Hot 100, and was a Top 20 hit in the BillboardHot Dance Club Play.
The song was also released in 2004. It was also featured in a European TV commercial for the French car Peugeot 205.
GermansingerSandra covered "Such a Shame" for her 7th studio album The Wheel of Time in 2002. Sandra's version was produced by Michael Cretu and Jens Gad. This cover version was released as the album's second single in March 2002, where it reached number 76 on the official German charts, number 21 Czech Republic Singles Chart and number 19 in the Hungarian Singles Chart.
Alles ist die Sekte has "Such a Shame" sampled for their 2003 single "Harmonie (Ausrasten und Pogen)" (English: Harmony (Lashing out and Poging)), released from the album Gar nich so schlimm! (Englisch: Even not so bad).
German dance project Moonwalker covered the song in 2002
In 2012, it was covered by Belgian singer An Pierlé on her album Strange Days.