Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode Hosts Press Conference At La Gaite Lyrique
Pascal Le Segretain/French Select/Getty Images

Formed:

1980 - London, England.

Group Members:

  • Martin Gore - Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
  • David Gahan - Lead Vocals
  • Andrew Fletcher - Keyboards

Puting Depeche Mode Together:

The group that eventually became Depeche Mode began when Vince Clarke first teamed with Andy Fletcher in 1976. After several name changes and pulling in guitarist/keyboardist Martin Gore and vocalist Dave Gahan, the name Depeche Mode was finally adopted in 1980 for the four person group.

The band ignored conventional instruments in favor of an all-synthesizer approach similar to other British New Wave bands of the early 1980's such as Human League and Soft Cell.

Early British Success:

Depeche Mode's first single "Dreaming Of Me" <Listen> appeared in 1981. It was a minor U.K. hit, but the followup singles did progressively better and "Just Can't Get Enough," <Listen> the third single, landed in the U.K. Top 10. The first album Speak and Spell scored in the U.K. and brushed the lower rungs of the U.S. album chart on the strength of Dance chart success for the first 3 singles.

Depeche Mode Personnel Changes:

Toward the end of 1981, keyboardist and primary songwriter Vince Clarke abruptly left the group. He soon formed the duo Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.) with vocalist Alison Moyet but abandoned that project and a group called Assembly before settling into Erasure with vocalist Andy Bell.

Martin Gore soon took over primary songwriting duties for Depeche Mode and the band added Alan Wilder as a replacement keyboardist.

Key Depeche Mode Hits:

  • People Are People (1985) (Watch Video)
  • Personal Jesus (1989) (Listen)
  • Enjoy the Silence (1990) (Listen)
  • I Feel You (1993) (Listen)
  • It's No Good (1997) (Listen)
  • Precious (2005) (Watch Video)

People are People:

The band's 1984 album Some Great Reward is a pivotal album in the band's long history. It includes the group's U.S. Pop breakthrough "People Are People" <Listen> as well as the underground dance favorites "Master and Servant" <Listen> and "Blasphemous Rumours." <Listen> The band had hit their stride and in response to the success of "People Are People," two compilation albums were released to remind new fans of earlier music by the band.

Building an Underground Following:

Through the latter part of the 1980's, Depeche Mode's mainstream pop sales trailed off, but the band began to build a strong concert following. A world tour began in October 1987 and by the time it ended in Los Angeles in June 1988, 72,000 fans packed the Rose Bowl to hear Depeche Mode. The concert was immortalized by documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and became the centerpiece of the band's live film and album 101, released in 1989.

Violator:

With critical acceptance and fan adulation at their back, the band began recording sessions for their next studio album. A long-term collaboration began with Flood brought in as producer. "Personal Jesus," <Listen> the single preceding the album, was the group's first Top 40 Pop hit in years.

The album Violator broke into the Top 10 of the Pop album chart, spawned 3 Top 40 Pop hits and sold over 6 million copies.

The 1990's and Beyond:

Depeche Mode spent 8 months in the studio during 1992 recording and fine tuning the next studio album Songs Of Faith and Devotion. The album debuted at the top of the Billboard album chart but failed to generate a major pop hit single as "I Feel You" <Listen> barely reached the Top 40. Although Pop audiences were not impressed, "I Feel You" and "Walking In My Shoes" both topped the modern rock chart and "I Feel You" pleased club audiences, reaching the Top 5 of the Dance chart.

Another successful tour followed and the powerful combination of Anton Corbijn's visuals with the band's performance is captured on the DVD Devotional. The mid-1990's shook the band to the core as Dave Gahan sank into severe drug addiction culminating in a suicide attempt.

By the time the band pulled itself back together for 1997's Ultra, long-time member Alan Wilder had departed and Tim Simenon was hired as a new producer.

In 1998 and 1999 the band released two lovingly constructed compilations of past singles covering the band's entire history from 1981. Exciter appeared in 2001 and featured 3 chart-topping dance hits. In 2005 the group released the album Playing the Angel and was greeted by their best reviews since Violator. It included the UK hit single "Precious." <Listen] In support of the album the band embarked on one of their most ambitious concert tours yet.

In 2006 a greatest hits collection was released. Following a Dave Gahan solo album Hourglass in 2007 the band headed back to the studio. The group's 12th studio album Sounds of the Universe was released in April 2009.