Artists // DEPECHE MODE // Biography
Depeche Mode - Picture
Depeche Mode - Picture
Depeche Mode - Picture

It as one of the most successful electro-synth groups in music history, Depeche Mode was a dominant and groundbreaking musical force during the '80s and continues to hold much clout in the neo-synth pop '90s.

The seeds for Depeche Mode were planted as far back as 1976 when keyboardists Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher formed the group No Romance in China. The Basildon, Essex-based duo didn't last long, but in 1979 Clarke returned to form French Look with guitarist/keyboardist Martin Gore. Fletcher soon joined and the band re-christened themselves Composition of Sound. Although the band played for several months with Clarke performing vocal duties, they eventually hired David Gahan in 1980 as the permanent lead singer, and changed their name one final time to Depeche Mode (French for "Fast Fashion").

Relying exclusively on their synthesizers, they quickly gained a following in the post-punk London club scene with their single "Photographic," and were soon signed to Daniel Miller's Mute Records. Following several new singles of up-tempo dance tracks, the band released their debut album, Speak and Spell, in 1981. The album was a success, but the departure of principal songwriter Clarke shortly after its release seemed like it might kill their chances of a worthy follow-up. To the contrary, with replacement keyboardist Alan Wilder, and Gore emerging as the chief musical force, Depeche Mode continued to build their popularity. Their fourth album, 1984's Some Great Reward, broke through to mainstream audiences in both the U.S. and the U.K. A darker work than their previous efforts, Reward was highlighted by synth-pop classics like the scathing "Blasphemous Rumours" and the sadomasochistic "Master and Servant." The industrial flavored "People are People" also became a worldwide smash.

Depeche Mode spent the rest of the '80s cranking out the hits; issuing Black Celebration (1986), Music for the Masses (1987) and the live 101 (1989) before hitting the pinnacle of their success in 1990 with Violator. Singles like "Enjoy the Silence," "Policy of Truth" and "Personal Jesus" truly made them worldwide stars and the Violator tour became one of the biggest grossing concert tours of the year. The grueling schedule, however, took its toll on the band.

Things held together through 1993's Songs of Faith and Devotion, which featured a more guitar-oriented sound and the singles "I Feel You" and "Walking In My Shoes," but by 1995 Wilder had left the group. The situation got worse when Gahan was hospitalized, reportedly because of a drug overdose, and only a few months later attempted suicide. He entered a rehab clinic for heroin addiction and the band took a year-long hiatus. Amazingly enough, Depeche Mode stayed together and Gahan, Gore and Fletcher released Ultra in 1997, proving they still had what it took with songs like "Barrel of a Gun," and "It's No Good."

In 1998, Depeche Mode released the double-disc greatest hits compilation Singles '86-'98 and followed it with an extensive worldwide tour.

The band's 2001 release, Exciter, was followed by another world tour, this one lasting five months and covering over twenty countries.

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