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Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode

Pop group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Depeche Mode, a group of post-punk pop performers who broke new ground in the field of computer-assisted music during the 1980s, have become the most successful electro-synth band ever, according to the groups biography at MTV.com. Depeche Mode has enjoyed great success in England almost since its debut in 1981, but in the United States, its following was limited to a sizeable cult until 1990, when the album Violator brought the group into the mainstream. Since then Depeche Mode has had little trouble placing singles on the top 40 charts and selling albums by the millions. Releases such as Songs of Faith and Devotion, Ultra, and Exciter helped continue the groups success into the 1990s and 2000s.

The groups success has come without compromise or pretenseDepeche Modes members call themselves pop musicians and seem quite comfortable in that format. In fact, Depeche Mode has been one of a few bands to infuse pop with some sense of credibility. Most pop songs just dont reflect life the way it really is, songwriter Martin Gore told Spin magazine. You cant be happy all the time. Throughout our career, Ive tried to write good serious songs as well as escapist songs. I know we get accused a lot of being

For the Record

Members include Vince Clarke (born on July 3, 1961, in Basildon, England; left group, 1981), synthesizer; Andy Fletcher (born on July 8, 1960, in Basildon, England), synthesizer, percussion; Dave Ga-han (born on May 9, 1962, in Epping, England), lead vocals, guitar; Martin Gore (born on July 23, 1961, in Basildon, England), synthesizer, vocals; Alan Wilder (born on June 1, 1959, in England; group member, 1982-95), drums, synthesizer, vocals.

Band formed in Basildon, England, 1980; signed with Mute label, released first album, Speak and Spell, 1981; had first American hit with single People are People, 1985; subject of the film documentary Depeche Mode 101, 1989; released multiplatinum Violator album, 1990; released Songs of Faith and Devotion, 1993, Ultra, 1997, and tenth studio album, Exciter, 2001.

Addresses: Record company Reprise Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA, 91505, website: http://www.repriserec.com; Mute Records, 429 Harrow Road, London, W10 4RE, England, website: http://www.mute.com. Website Depeche Mode Official Website: http://www.depechemode.com.

depressive, but our songs also have a certain get-on-with-itattitude. If life is bad, theres always something to give you solace. Most pop bands tend to bask in the limelight and court the press. The members of Depeche Mode do almost the oppositethey save their performances for the arena and do little to court favor among the media. This reluctance to speak in print stems from the bands earliest days in England.

Depeche Mode formed outside London in 1980, fronted by songwriter Vince Clarke. Other founding members include Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Dave Gahan, all of whom grew up in the suburbs of London. Rock music had spawned a whole new generation of machines for making musicsynthesizers and drum simulators, to name twoand Depeche Modes members gravitated to these machines. We started doing something completely different, Gahan told Rolling Stone. We had taken these instruments because they were convenient. You could pick up a synthesizer, put it under your arm and go to a gig. You plugged directly into the PA. You didnt need to go through an amp, so you didnt need to have a van. We sed to go to gigs on trains.

The group also did not need a grange hall in which to practice. In fact, they didnt even need to be togetherany individuals bedroom could become a studio. Within a year of founding Depeche Mode, Clarke had put together a demo tape and was making the rounds trying to find a record label. Finally the band signed with an independent British company, Mute Records, and released a debut album, Speak and Spell, in 1981. The music was entirely synthetic, but it was original nonetheless. At a time when most techno work revolved around gloomy themes, Depeche Mode offered a dance beat, provocative lyrics, and that get-on-with-it attitude. Speak and Spell became one of the ten best-selling albums in Great Britain in 1981, and Depeche Mode was launched.

Not surprisingly, fans and the press hounded the young performers mercilessly, and soon Clarke had had enough. After Clarke quit, Gore became the principal songwriter, and Alan Wilder was added to help with vocals. Under Gores direction, writes Jeff Giles in Rolling Stone, Depeche Modes music becameto quote the title of an album that many of the groups fans hold dearesta black celebration. His songs, a few of which have made American radio programmers blush, have been both profane and kinky. Almost virtually without radio station support, Depeche Mode began to attract an audience in America. They had one top ten hit in 1985 with People Are People, but they became immensely popular as live performers. For a time the group was even compared to the heavy metal bands of the 1970s who regularly sold out in concert without ever earning a gold record.

Gradually, however, Depeche Mode began to make inroads in the all-important radio market. This was not an easy task for a group one critic called synth wimpsthe standard rock format radio stations simply would not play Depeche Mode. The group was saved by dance hall crowds and New Wave fans who could groove to the bands techno-pop beat and provocative lyrics. Gore told Rolling Stone: A lot of people get swayed by the real music thing. They think you cant make soul music by using computers and synthesizers and samplers, which we think is totally wrong. We think the soul in the music comes from the song. The instrumentation doesnt matter at all.

Early on the members of Depeche Mode realized that their brand of music would not translate well in live performance. They therefore became one of the few major pop groups to be open about enhancing their concerts with pre-recorded material. This has allowed the group to be as outrageous as any of its contemporaries and has contributed in no small part to its fantastic success. Using tapes to enhance a bands performance is less a case of deliberate misrepresentation than of keeping up with the times technologically and giving the audience what it wants, Peter Watrous wrote in the New York Times. People weaned on music from the 1960s may go to an Eric Clapton concert to hear how well he plays his guitar, but an audience for Depeche Mode, whose concerts seem almost completely prerecorded, attend for different reasons. The combination of post-punk performance ideas, in which improvisation is beside the point, and consumer-driven images, in which people come to share space with a performer, has produced an audience that goes out for more than the pleasure of music.

Depeche Modes Violator album, released in 1990, and the subsequent World Violation tour earned the group its greatest level of mainstream success. With hits such as Enjoy the Silence, Policy of Truth, and Personal Jesus, the album landed in the top ten and reached the multiplatinum sales mark in 1991. Goth without ever being stupidly hammy, synth without sounding like the clinical stereotype of synth music, rock without ever sounding like a rock band, Depeche here reached astounding heights indeed, said All Music Guide writer Ned Raggett, calling the album stunning. The group followed the success of Violator with Songs of Faith and Devotion in 1993, which debuted on the charts at number one. Though a commercial and popular success, the albumwhich reached platinum sales in May of 1993and its characteristically synth-heavy, though mostly guitar-driven tracks, did not fair as well critically. This is a slickly produced, highly listenable album, but there is in the end a failure of nerve, noted Christopher John Farley in Time.

A four-year hiatus, marked by Wilders departure from the group in 1995 to focus on his solo project, Recoil, and Gahans heroin addiction, attempted suicide, and lengthy recovery, followed the release of Songs. The groups next effort, Ultra, released in 1997, featured hits Its No Good and Barrel of a Gun and stronger, more controlled vocals by Gahan. The hit singles compilation The Singles 86-98 was released in 1998; a supporting tour followed. Exciter, released in 2001, with lead track Dream On, was produced by Mark Bell, who was familiar to the group through his work with Icelandic pop songstress Björk. A five-month, 24-country world tour followed Exciters release.

Selected discography

Speak and Spell, Sire, 1981.

A Broken Frame, Sire, 1982.

Construction Time Again, Sire, 1983.

Some Great Reward, Sire, 1984.

People Are People, Sire, 1985.

The Singles 81-85, Reprise, 1985.

Catching Up with Depeche Mode, Sire, 1986.

Black Celebration, Sire, 1986.

Music for the Masses, Sire, 1988.

Depeche Mode 101 (live), Sire, 1989.

Violator, Sire, 1990.

Songs of Faith and Devotion, Sire, 1993.

Ultra, Reprise, 1997.

The Singles 86-98, Reprise, 1998.

Exciter, Mute/Reprise, 2001.

Sources

Books

Graff, Gary, and Daniel Durchholz, editors, MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, Visible Ink Press, 1999.

Periodicals

New York Times, July 22, 1990.

Rolling Stone, May 3, 1990; July 12-26, 1990.

Spin, July 1990.

Time, July 16, 1990; April 12, 1993.

Online

Depeche Mode, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (December 28, 2001).

Depeche Mode, MTV.com, http://www.mtv.com/bands/az/depeche_mode/bio.jhtml (October 11, 2001).

Depeche Mode Announce 2nd Wembley Show, Mute Liberation Technologies, http://www.mute.com/mute/dm/dm.htm (December 28, 2001).

Depeche Mode Official Website, http://www.depechemode.com (December 28, 2001).

Anne Janette Johnson

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Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode

Avant garde techno-pop group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

The latest British band to take America by storm is Depeche Mode, a group of post-punk pop performers who have broken new ground in the field of computer-assisted music. Depeche Mode has enjoyed great success in England almost since its debut in 1981. In the United States its following was limited to a sizeable cult until 1990, when the album Violator brought the group into the mainstream. Since then Depeche Mode has had little trouble placing singles on the top forty charts and selling albums by the millions.

The groups success has come without compromise or pretenseDepeche Modes members call themselves pop musicians and seem quite comfortable in that format. In fact, Depeche Mode has been one of the few recent bands to infuse pop with some sense of credibility. Most pop songs just dont reflect life the way it really is, songwriter Martin Gore told Spin magazine. You cant be happy all the time. Throughout our career, Ive tried to write good serious songs as well as escapist songs. I know we get accused a lot of being depressive, but our songs also have a certain get-on-

For the Record

Band formed in Basildon, England, in 1980, with members Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher, Martin Gore, and Dave Gahan; Clarke left group and was replaced by Alan Wilder. All band members play keyboards and synthesizers. Group signed with Mute label, 1981, and released first album, Speak and Spell, 1981. Had first American hit, 1985, with single People are People. Group has toured extensively in England, Europe, and America.

Band is the subject of the film documentary Depeche Mode 101, released in 1989.

Addresses: Record company Sire Records, 3300 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91510.

with-it attitude. If life is bad, theres always something to give you solace.

Most pop bands tend to bask in the limelight and court the press. The members of Depeche Mode do almost the oppositethey save their performances for the arena and do little to court favor among the media. Depeche Mode interviews and features are so uncommon that many new fans still do not recognize the individual band membersa state of affairs the musicians do nothing to correct. This reluctance to speak in print stems from the bands earliest days in England.

Depeche Mode formed outside London in 1980, fronted by songwriter Vince Clarke. Other founding members include Martin Gore, Andy Fletcher, and Dave Gahan, all of whom grew up in the suburbs of London. Rock music had spawned a whole new generation of machines for making musicsynthesizers and drum simulators, to name twoand Depeche Modes members gravitated to these machines. We started doing something completely different, Gahan told Rolling Stone. We had taken these instruments because they were convenient. You could pick up a synthesizer, put it under your arm and go to a gig. You plugged directly into the PA. You didnt need to go through an amp, so you didnt need to have a van. We used to go to gigs on trains.

The group also did not need a grange hall in which to practice. In fact, they didnt even need to be togetherany individuals bedroom could become a studio. Within a year of founding Depeche Mode, Clarke had put together a demo tape and was making the rounds trying to find a record label. Finally the band signed with an independent British company, Mute Records, and released a debut album, Speak and Spell, in 1981. The music was entirely synthetic, but it was original nonetheless. At a time when most techno work revolved around gloomy themes, Depeche Mode offered a dance beat, provocative lyrics, and that get-on-with-it attitude. Speak and Spell became one of the ten best-selling albums in Great Britain in 1981, and Depeche Mode was launched.

Not surprisingly, fans and press hounded the young performers mercilessly, and soon Vince Clarke had had enough. After Clarke quit, Gore became the principal songwriter, and Alan Wilder was added to help with vocals. Under Gores direction, wrote Jeff Giles in Rolling Stone, Depeche Modes music becameto quote the title of an album that many of the groups fans hold dearesta black celebration. His songs, a few of which have made American radio programmers blush, have been both profane and kinky. Almost virtually without radio station support, Depeche Mode began to attract an audience in America. They had one Top 10 hit in 1985, with People Are People, but they became immensely popular as live performers. For a time the group was even compared to the heavy metal bands of the 1970s who regularly sold out in concert without ever earning a gold record.

Gradually, however, Depeche Mode began to make inroads in the all-important radio market. This was not an easy task for a group one critic called synth wimpsthe standard rock format radio stations simply would not play Depeche Mode. The group was saved by dance hall crowds and New Wave fans who could groove to the bands techno-pop beat and provocative lyrics. Gore told Rolling Stone: A lot of people get swayed by the real music thing. They think you cant make soul music by using computers and synthesizers and samplers, which we think is totally wrong. We think the soul in the music comes from the song. The instrumentation doesnt matter at all.

Early on the members of Depeche Mode realized that their brand of music would not translate well in live performance. They have therefore become one of the few major pop groups be open about enhancing their concerts with pre-recorded material. This has allowed the group to be as outrageous as any of its contemporaries and has contributed in no small part to its fantastic success. Using tapes to enhance a bands performance is less a case of deliberate misrepresentation than of keeping up with the times technologically and giving the audience what it wants, Peter Watrous wrote in the New York Times. People weaned on music from the 1960s may go to an Eric Clapton concert to hear how well he plays his guitar, but an audience for Depeche Mode, whose concerts seem almost completely prerecorded, attend for different reasons. The combination of post-punk performance ideas, in which improvisation is beside the point, and consumer-driven images, in which people come to share space with a performer, has produced an audience that goes out for more than the pleasure of music.

If the sold-out 1990 World Violation Tour is any indication, Depeche Mode is reaching its fans even with prerecorded concerts. Fletcher told Spin that Depeche Modes whole aim is to avoid the ego-trip legacy of the big rock bands. We dont think you have to be a great musician to be allowed to play and get a message out, he said. I guess thats what punk was all about, getting rid of the ego and getting right down to it without having to be a session guitarist. Wilder put it more bluntly in Time magazine. While working with Depeche Mode, Wilder said, nobody is allowed to be pretentious. The music speaks for itselfand it speaks volumes.

Selected discography

Speak and Spell, Sire, 1981.

People Are People, Sire, 1985.

Catching Up with Depeche Mode, Sire, 1986.

Black Celebration, Sire, 1986.

Music for the Masses, Sire, 1988.

101, Sire, 1986.

Violator, Sire, 1990.

A Broken Frame, Sire.

Construction Time Again, Sire.

Some Great Reward, Sire.

Sources

New York Times, July 22, 1990.

Rolling Stone, May 3, 1990; July 12-26, 1990.

Spin, July 1990.

Times, July 22, 1990.

Anne Janette Johnson

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"Depeche Mode." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved November 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/depeche-mode

Depeche Mode

DEPECHE MODE

Formed: 1960, London, England

Members: Andy Fletcher, synthesizers (born Basildon, Essex, England, 8 July 1960); David Gahan, lead vocals (born Epping, Essex, England, 9 May 1962); Martin Gore, synthesizer (born Basildon, Essex, England, 23 July 1961). Former members: Alan Wilder synthesizer (born England, 1 June 1959; Vince Clarke, synthesizer (born South Woodford, London, England, 3 July 1960)

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Violator (1990)

Hit songs since 1990: "Enjoy the Silence" "Personal Jesus" "I Feel You"


The music of British electronic synthesizer band Depeche Mode slipped onto American air-waves in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sandwiched between the synthesized sounds of the 1980s New Wave and the guitar-driven sound of grunge rock. Before the release of their seminal album, Violator (1990), Depeche Mode (French for "fast fashion") had enjoyed a cult status in the United States throughout the 1980s. The band's music is dark, sensual, and emotional; the chief songwriter Martin Gore composes achingly romantic and heartbreaking love songs that often deal with unhealthy, obsessive relationships. The band has been together for over twenty years, surviving substance abuse, depression, and personnel changes.


Starting Out

The initial trio of Clarke, Fletcher, and Gore debuted in London clubs playing guitars, not synthesizers, but it did not take long for them to switch. When Depeche Mode signed to London's Mute Records in 1980, they were a dance pop band and their debut album, Speak and Spell (1981), yielded two hits in the U.K.: "Just Can't Get Enough" and "Dreaming of Me." Their early music was notable for simple electronic dance beats and catchy, rhyming lyrics. By their third album, Depeche Mode began to hit their songwriting stride. With Some Great Reward (1984), they had several hits that covered a wide array of subject matter, from religious doubt ("Blasphemous Rumours") to sexual dynamics ("Master and Servant"); the album boasted a massive, transcontinental hit in "People Are People." The follow-up album, Black Celebration (1986), features "Strangelove," a song with a typically twisted, self-destructive theme that had become their signature. Its refrain consists of Gahan's deep voice chanting "Pain / Will you return it / I'll say it again / Pain."

Building on the success of 1987's Music for the Masses, the band put together a documentary, Depeche Mode 101, directed by D. A. Pennebaker, and a companion live double album, culled from years of U.S. tours. 10 is not only an informal greatest hits compilation, but it is also an example of the band's charisma. The documentary captures the band enjoying huge, sold-out success in stadiums and arenas across the United States. Both their music and their lyrics had developed substantially and become more sophisticated, thanks to Martin Gore, their primary songwriter. This trend is evident in the beautiful ballad "Somebody" and a nearly six-minute version of the subversive, double-entendre-laden "Behind the Wheel." "Somebody," with Gore on piano, is especially moving. He sings his plea, accompanied by thousands of fans: "I want somebody to share / Share the rest of my life."


Music for the Masses

With the release of Violator (1990), Depeche Mode was poised for their greatest success yet in the United States. Violator (1990) is a classic Depeche Mode album: dense, dark, melodic, but with a twist. Violator marked a harder-edged sound; its synthesizer pop songs, still melodic and danceable, feature more industrial textures and are suffused with guitars. The unlikely subject matterreligious fanaticismbrought them a number three hit on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and inspired several remixes. The video, directed by the renowned photographer Anton Corbijn, known for his super-saturated, sepia-tone processing, is fraught with sexual overtones and enjoyed constant rotation on MTV. The album spawned three hits: "Personal Jesus," "Enjoy the Silence," and "Policy of Truth"; the latter two reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. The album, which examines the ways in which love, trust, sex, and friendship are subject to violation, is the pinnacle of their achievement: nine tracks of spare, sensual, tortured, dark, synthesized rock music. Thematically, it also hints at some manner of chemical dependence with the declarations on "Clean" and the somber, pensive, "Waiting for the Night to Fall."

The band sustained their momentum with the album Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993), which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. The album preserves the guitar sounds prevalent in the previous release but introduces something new: real string instruments. The majestic orchestration in love songs such as "One Caress" lends a lush sound to the track and suggested the band was moving in a new direction. The real drums and guitar riff propelling the transcendent lead-off track, "I Feel You," shows a more conventional, rock-and-roll approach.


Change of Heart, Change of Mind

By the mid-1990s the band had began to unravel; Alan Wilder left in 1995 to pursue other musical interests, and Gahan endured a series of personal crises: In 1996 he divorced, remarried, and redivorced the same American woman and then attempted suicide. By the end of 1996, he was determined to stay clean and he openly discussed his dependency on heroin and his rehabilitation in an interview in the U.K. magazine New Music Express. Toward the end of the decade, Depeche Mode recommitted themselves to their music for two more well-received albums, Ultra (1997) and Exciter (2001); the latter spawned several dance remixes that became popular in both the United States and Canada.

The alternative synth-rock of Depeche Mode wrought a major success out of an unlikely combination of elements: the edgy touches of industrial sound, the melodic sensibility of pop, and offbeat lyrics that probe the dark recesses of the human heart.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Some Great Reward (Reprise, 1985); Black Celebration (Reprise, 1986); Music for the Masses (Reprise, 1987); Depeche Mode 101 (1989); Violator (1990); Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993); Ultra (Reprise, 1995); Exciter (2001).

VIDEOGRAPHY:

D. A. Pennebaker, director, Depeche Mode 101, VHS. (1989).

carrie havranek

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"Depeche Mode." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Depeche Mode." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/depeche-mode

"Depeche Mode." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved November 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/depeche-mode