Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode are an English electro/art-pop band that released seven studio albums and a live disc on Mute/Sire between 1981 and 1990.

Members: Martin L. Gore (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Andrew Fletcher (keyboards, bass, backing vocals, 1980–2022), Vince Clarke (keyboards, vocals, guitar, 1980-81), Alan Wilder (keyboards, piano, drums, programming, vocals, 1982-95)


Background

Depeche Mode grew from a partnership formed in 1977 between Basildon, Essex, teenagers Vince Clarke and Andy Fletcher. They first teamed in the bedroom band No Romance in China with Clarke on vocals and guitar and Fletcher on bass. A sequence of short-lived, unrecorded projects followed in 1979. Clarke teamed with keyboardist (and future collaborator) Robert Marlow in The Plan. Months later, Marlow teamed with musician Martin Gore in the trio French Look.

In early 1980, Gore linked with Clarke and a returning Fletcher in the Composition of Sound. Despite their initial guitar/bass/keyboard setup, the band decided to go all-electronic after hearing the modernist sounds of a new band from Liverpool, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Clarke and Fletcher switched to synthesizers, alongside Gore, and the band hired Epping-born singer Dave Gahan, who Clarke spotted at a local jam session singing “Heroes” by David Bowie. The newly minted four-piece lifted the name of a French fashion magazine, Dépêche Mode, meaning “fashion news.”

Depeche Mode played its first gigs in the spring of 1980 and cut a demo with three songs: “Ice Machine,” “Radio News,” and “Photographic.” The last of those was selected (alongside early recordings by B-Movie, Blancmange, Soft Cell, and The The) for inclusion on the various-artists LP Some Bizzare Album, an electro-pop compilation issued on small-press Some Bizzare in January 1981.

In late 1980, Depeche Mode linked with producer and Normal/Silicone Teens mastermind Daniel Miller, who signed the band to his indie label Mute Records (Fad Gadget, Robert Rental).

In February 1981, Depeche Mode debuted on Mute with the single “Dreaming of Me” b/w “Ice Machine” (UK #57), followed in June by “New Life” b/w “Shout!” (UK #11). All four sides are Clarke originals, co-produced by Miller and the band. That summer, they recorded their first album.


Speak & Spell

Depeche Mode released their debut album, Speak & Spell, on October 5, 1981, on Mute.


A Broken Frame

Depeche Mode released their second album, A Broken Frame, on September 27, 1982 on Mute.


Construction Time Again

Depeche Mode released their third album, Construction Time Again, on August 22, 1983, on Mute and Sire.


Some Great Reward

Depeche Mode released their fourth album, Some Great Reward, on September 24, 1984, on Mute and Sire.


Black Celebration

Depeche Mode released their fifth album, Black Celebration, on March 17, 1986, on Mute and Sire.


Music for the Masses

Depeche Mode released their sixth album, Music for the Masses, on September 28, 1987, on Sire.


Violator

Depeche Mode released their seventh studio album, Violator, on March 19, 1990, on Sire,


Discography:

  • Speak & Spell (1981)
  • A Broken Frame (1982)
  • Construction Time Again (1983)
  • Some Great Reward (1984)
  • Black Celebration (1986)
  • Music for the Masses (1987)
  • 101 (live, 1989)
  • Violator (1990)

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