Depeche Mode was originally founded in 1980 as a synth pop band in the town of Basildon, England. They are one of the longest-lived and most successful bands to have emerged during the New Wave/New Romantic era. Depeche Mode had many videos heavily rotated on MTV and MuchMusic. As of 2005, Depeche Mode have sold over 50 million albums worldwide.
The three current members of Depeche Mode are:
- Martin Gore (songwriting, guitar, keyboards, backing and occasional lead vocals)
- David Gahan (lead vocals)
- Andrew Fletcher (keyboards, backing vocals)
Former members include:
- Vince Clarke (songwriting, keyboards), from 1980 to 1981.
- Alan Wilder (keyboards, drums, songwriting), from 1982 to 1995.
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Depeche Mode's origins can be traced back to 1976, when Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher formed a band known as "No Romance in China." The band was unsuccessful and in 1979, Vince Clarke formed a new band named "French Look" with Martin Gore. Andrew Fletcher then became part of the band and it was renamed "Composition of Sound." David Gahan joined the band in 1980 after Vince Clarke heard him perform at a local gig, and "Depeche Mode" was born. The new name was taken from a French fashion magazine, "Dépêche-mode", which translates to "fast fashion".
The band became part of Daniel Miller's Mute label by verbal contract, and released their first album, Speak and Spell, in 1981. Soon after, Vince Clarke left to form a new band, Yazoo (Yaz in the US) with Alison Moyet, The Assembly with Feargal Sharkey, Dave Clempson and Eric Radcliffe, and later Erasure with Andy Bell.
After Vince's departure, Martin Gore, who had written Tora! Tora! Tora! and Big Muff on their debut album, took over as the band's primary song-writer and in 1982 the album A Broken Frame was released. After this, Alan Wilder joined the band as a permanent replacement for Clarke. He wrote The Landscape is Changing and Two Minute Warning for their 1983 album, Construction Time Again, as well as Fools, the B-side to the Love in Itself single, In Your Memory, the B-side to the People Are People single, and If You Want on the 1984 album Some Great Reward, but his main contribution to Depeche Mode was in the technical and musical production aspects.
In the early 1980s the band's popularity was largely confined to Europe (particularly Germany) and their style was Synth pop. In 1984 Depeche Mode made in-roads into America, which spawned the US-only release of Catching Up With Depeche Mode.
In the intervening years between the mid-80s and 90s, the band's popularity in the US grew to massive proportions. The 101 tour culminated in a final concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl with a sell-out attendance of 80,000 (the highest in 8 years for the venue). The tour was documented in a film by D.A. Pennebaker, recently released on DVD, which is notable for an element of fan interaction.
Depeche Mode had a great influence on the emergence of the techno and electronica music scenes through the late 80s and 90s. Techno pioneers such as Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins regularly quoted Depeche Mode as an influence in their development of proto-techno during the Detroit Techno explosion in the late 80s.
One marked change in the style of music throughout the history of this band has been a move away from keyboards and heavily synth pop-influenced sound... indeed, in a CD booklet, Dave Gahan is instead pictured lovingly holding an acoustic guitar – a far cry from the synthpop ideal of 'keyboards with everything'. After the much earlier departure of Vince Clarke, a gradual change away from their roots can hardly have been unexpected.
In June 1995 after the Devotional tour, Alan Wilder left the band citing "unsatisfactory internal working conditions", while continuing to work on his personal project Recoil. It has been suggested that a failure of the band to recognize its own brand appeal in releasing previous records may have played some part in his departure, with other factors including the drug addiction issues of Dave Gahan; Martin Gore's admission of "battling his own demons" at this time; and growing tensions between Wilder and Andrew Fletcher. Wilder himself has stated that he contributed a lion's share of work while receiving the least credit on past albums.
Depeche Mode Today
2003 saw the release of Dave Gahan's solo album, Paper Monsters, followed by a worldwide tour and a DVD taken from it, titled Live Monsters, Martin Gore continued his solo career with the release of Counterfeit 2, and Andrew Fletcher launched his own label, Toast Hawaii.
In November 2004, it was announced on http://www.depechemode.com that the band was planning on going into the studio to record an album in early 2005 with producer Ben Hillier. As of January 2005, the album is currently being recorded.
- Speak & Spell (1981)
- A Broken Frame (1982)
- Construction Time Again (1983)
- People Are People (1984)
- Some Great Reward (1984)
- The Singles (81–85) (1985)
- Catching Up With Depeche Mode [North America only] (1985)
- Black Celebration (1986)
- Music for the Masses (1987)
- 101 (live) (1989)
- Violator (1990)
- Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)
- Songs of Faith and Devotion Live (1993)
- Ultra (1997)
- The Singles (86–98) (1998)
- The Singles (81–85) Re-released/Repackaged (1998)
- Exciter (2001)
- Remixes 81 – 04 (2004)