Depeche Mode

Formed in Basildon, Essex, England in 1980, Depeche Mode are one of the most popular electronic and synthpop bands in pop music history. The original line-up of the group featured main songwriter Vince Clarke (keyboards), Martin Gore (electric guitar, synthesizer, vocals, backing vocals), Dave Gahan (vocals), and Andrew Fletcher (synthesizer, bass). The group signed to Mute Records and released their debut single, “Dreaming of Me”, in 1981. Their next single, “New Life”, missed the UK Top 10, stalling at Number 11. Their third single, “Just Can’t Get Enough” rose to Number 8 and paved the way for the success of their debut album Speak and Spell, released towards the end of 1981. The group became an international success, even breaking the American market thanks to college and new wave radio stations. Surprisingly, main songwriter Vince Clarke left the band at the height of their initial success but would later form short-lived groups The Assembly and Yazoo before he joined forces with vocalist Andy Bell in Erasure. The other three members hired keyboardist Alan Wilder, initially for live performances only. Gahan, Fletcher and Gore, now the main songwriter, recorded A Broken Frame (1982) as a trio before making Wilder a full-time creative member of the band. Depeche Mode’s third album, Construction Time Again (1983) showed a shift in sound thanks to Alan Wilder’s inventive arrangements and Martin Gore’s maturing songwriting skills. The group’s commercial breakthrough came with Some Great Reward (1984), which included the international hit “People Are People”. 1986’s Black Celebration was another success, but they didn’t take a big leap forward until Music for the Masses (1987) and the subsequent tour. The US leg of the tour was captured in the documentary film and album 101 (1989). Depeche Mode’s leap into superstardom came in 1990 with the release of the album Violator and the hit singles “Enjoy the Silence”, “Personal Jesus”, and “Policy of Truth”. With Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993), Depeche Mode reached the top of the English and American charts for the first time. Alan Wilder, who had become an integral member of the band, left after the release of the album, and Depeche Mode became a trio again. The groups albums – including Ultra (1997), Exciter (2001), Playing the Angel (2005), and Sounds of the Universe (2009) – continued to chart although their singles were not as successful. The group’s sound took a darker, more sophisticated turn with Delta Machine (2013) and Spirit (2017). In 2020, Depeche Mode was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On May 26, 2022, Depeche Mode lost one of its founding members when Andrew Fletcher - known as Fletch - passed away at his home in St John's Wood at the age of 60. Five months after the death of Fletch, Martin Gore and David Gahan announced that they would finish their album – that they had been working on since the beginning of 2020 – and undertake a world tour to promote it. In February 2023, they released the single “Ghosts Again” to great acclaim. Depeche Mode issued their 15th album, Memento Mori, in March 2023 to their most positive reviews in decades.

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