Depeche Mode (1981 - to date)

Depeche Mode formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex, England - although their origins date back to 1977, when schoolmates Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher formed a band called No Romance in China, with Vince on vocals and guitar and Andrew on bass.
Vince then played guitar in 'Ultravox rip-off band' The Plan in 1979 with friends Robert Marlow and Paul Langwith, while Martin Gore played guitar in acoustic duo Norman & The Worms with school friend Philip Burdett on vocals. Marlow, Gore, and Paul Redmond formed a band called The French Look.
In March 1980, Vince, Martin and Andrew formed a band called Composition of Sound. Soon after the formation of Composition of Sound, Vince and Andrew switched to synthesizers. Dave Gahan joined the band in 1980 after Vince heard him perform at a local scout hut jam session, singing to a rendition of David Bowie's 'Heroes' - and Depeche Mode were born.
When explaining the choice for the new name, taken from a French fashion magazine, Dépêche Mode, Martin Gore said: 'It means hurried fashion or fashion dispatch. I like the sound of that.'
Martin recollects that the first time the band played as Depeche Mode was a school gig in May 1980. The band made their recording debut in 1980 on the Some Bizzare Album with the song 'Photographic', which was later re-recorded for their debut album Speak & Spell.
While playing a live gig at the Bridge House in Canning Town, London, Depeche Mode were approached by Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, who was interested in them recording a single for his label. The result of this verbal contract was their first single, recorded in December 1980 and released in February 1981:
Dreaming of Me (1981) - US#47, UK#57 - non album single release (no video)

Encouraged by this, the band recorded their second single:
New Life (1981) - UK#11, IRL#22, US#29 - Speak & Spell

The next single was a relentlessly upbeat piece of synthpop, which became the band's first UK Top10 hit and it remains one of their best known songs. It was also the first Depeche Mode song to get a music video and is the only one of the band's videos to feature Vince Clarke. Depeche Mode's debut album, Speak & Spell, was released in November 1981 and peaked at number ten on the UK album charts:

Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough (1981) - Speak & Spell
AUS#4, UK#8, SWE#14, IRL#16, US#26

During the touring and promotion for Speak & Spell, Vince began to voice his discomfort at the direction Depeche Mode were taking and, in November 1981, he was leaving the band. He joined up with blues singer Alison Moyet to form Yazoo and, later, the duo Erasure with Andy Bell. Initial talk of continuing to write material for Depeche Mode amounted to nothing. Vince offered them the track 'Only You, but they declined. It went on to become a UK Top3 hit for Yazoo.
In late 1981, they placed an anonymous advertisement in British music mag Melody Maker looking for another musician. Alan Wilder from Hammersmith, West London was hired in early 1982 initially on a trial basis as a touring member. In January 1982, the band released:

Depeche Mode - See You (1982) - A Broken Frame
UK#6, IRL#9, DE#44

The tour that followed the release of the single saw the band playing their first shows in North America. Two more singles were released ahead of the band's second studio album:

Depeche Mode - The Meaning of Love (1982) -A Broken Frame
UK#12, IRL#17, SWE#16, DE#64

Depeche Mode - Leave in Silence (1982) - A Broken Frame
IRL#13, SWE#17, UK#18, DE58

Depeche Mode began work on their second album in July 1982. Daniel Miller informed Alan that he was not needed for the recording of the album, as the band wanted to prove that they could succeed without Vince Clarke.
A Broken Frame was released that September and the following month the band set off on their second tour of 1982. A non-album single was released in January 1983, and was the first Depeche Mode track to be recorded with Alan:

Depeche Mode - Get the Balance Right! (1983) - non album single release
UK#13, IRL#16, US#31, DE#38

For their third album, Construction Time Again, Depeche Mode worked with producer Gareth Jones, at John Foxx's Garden Studios and at Hansa Studios in West Berlin. The album saw a dramatic shift in the group's sound: by sampling the noises of everyday objects, the band created an industrial sound.
Along with the music, Martin's songwriting was also rapidly evolving, focusing increasingly on political and social issues. An example of the new sound was on the first single, a commentary on the perceived greed of multinational corporations:

Depeche Mode Everything Counts (1983) - Construction Time Again
UK#6, CH#8, IRL#15, SWE#18, DE#23, AT#26, IT#32

In September 1983, to promote Construction Time Again the band launched a concert tour all over Europe.

Depeche Mode - Love in Itself (1983) - Construction Time Again
UK#21, IRL#27, DE#28

In their early years, Depeche Mode had only really attained success in Europe and Australia, however this changed in March 1984 when they released:

Depeche Mode- People are People (1984) - Some Great Reward
DE#1, IRL#2, UK#4, CH#4, US#13, SWE#15, IT#20, AUS#25

The song was used as the theme to West German TV's coverage of the 1984 Olympics and also charted in the US charts in mid-1985. The song had then become an anthem for the LGBT community. In September 1984, Some Great Reward was released.
In contrast to the political and environmental subjects addressed on the previous album, the songs on Some Great Reward were mostly concerned with more personal themes such as sexual politics...

Depeche Mode - Master and Servant (1984) - Some Great Reward
DE#2, SWE#7, CH#8, UK#9, IT#27, FR#34, US#49, AUS#89

... adulterous relationships...

Depeche Mode - Lie To Me (1984)

...and arbitrary divine justice...

Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours (1984) - Some Great Reward
IRL#8, UK#16, CH#19, DE#22, AUS#87

Depeche Mode - Blasphemous Rumours (1984)
********** RARE 8 min version! *********

Also included was the first Martin Gore ballad. 'Somebody' was released as a double a-side with 'Blasphemous Rumours' and was the first single with Martin on lead vocals:

Depeche Mode - Somebody (1984) - Some Great Reward
was the flip-side of Blasphemous Rumours

In October 1985, Mute Records released a compilation, The Singles 81>85, which included the two non-album singles 'Shake the Disease' (one of my personal favourites of Depeche Mode) and 'It's Called a Heart'.

Depeche Mode - Shake the Disease (1985) - Singles 81->85
DE#4, SWE#5, CH#6, IRL#9, FR#13, UK#18, IT#29

Depeche Mode's musical style shifted again in 1986 with the release of 'Stripped', and its accompanying album Black Celebration. Retaining their sampling and the industrial sound, the band introduced an ominous, highly atmospheric and textured sound. Martin's lyrics also took on darker tone and became more pessimistic. 'New Dress' would mark the last time he attempted the kind of overt social commentary.

Depeche Mode - Stripped (1986) - Black Celebration
DE#4, CH#8, CH#9, IT#14, UK#15

Depeche Mode - A Question of Lust (1986)

Depeche Mode A Question Of Lust
Uploaded by burtonienne. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

The music video for 'A Question of Time' was the first to be directed by Anton Corbijn, beginning a working relationship that continues to the present day. He has directed a further 19 videos (the latest being 2006's 'Suffer Well') and has also filmed some of their live performances and designed stage sets and album and single covers.

Depeche Mode - A Question of Time (1986)

Music for the Masses saw further alterations in the band's sound. David Bascombe was called to assist with the recording sessions. In making the album the band largely eschewed sampling in favour of more synth experimentation. While the chart performance of the singles the next three singles 'Strangelove', 'Never Let Me Down Again' and 'Behind the Wheel' were somewhat disappointing in the UK, they scored high in Canada, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland. The album also achieved the long awaited breakthrough in the US, which would be eternally manifested by the final concert of the their promotional tour at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena - see my previous post - a concert I would do or give anything for to attend again in time travel. The '101' live album and documenary was the result. I could watch it over - and over - and over - and over, again. Orgasmic!

Depeche Mode - Strangelove (1987)

Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down Again (1987)

Depeche Mode - Behind The Wheel (1987)

Depeche Mode - Pimpf (1987)

Depeche Mode - Little 15 (1988)

In mid-1989, the band began recording in Milan with producer Flood and engineer François Kevorkian. The initial result of this session was the single:

Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (1989)

Released in January 1990, 'Enjoy the Silence' became one of Depeche Mode's most successful singles to date, reaching number six in the UK. A few months later it became Depeche Mode's biggest hit in the US, reaching number eight and earning the band a second gold single. It won 'Best British single' at the 1991 Brit Awards.

Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence (1990)

To promote their album Violator, the band held an in-store autograph signing at Wherehouse Entertainment in Los Angeles. The event attracted approximately 20,000 fans and turned into a near riot.
Some of those who attended were injured by being pressed against the store's glass by the crowd. As an apology to the fans who were injured, the band released a limited edition cassette tape to fans living in Los Angeles.

Depeche Mode - Policy of Truth (1990)

Depeche Mode - World in my Eyes (1990)

Depeche Mode - Halo (1990)

Depeche Mode - Clean (1990)

Depeche Mode - I Feel You (1993)

Depeche Mode - Walking in my Shoes (1993)

Depeche Mode - Condemation (1993)

Depeche Mode - In Your Room (1994)

Depeche Mode - Barrel of a Gun (1997)

Depeche Mode - It's No Good (1997)

Depeche Mode - I Feel Loved (2001)

Depeche Mode - Precious (2005)

Depeche Mode - Suffer Well (2006)

Depeche Mode - Wrong (2009)

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