Artist of the Week – Depeche Mode

Trawling through the archives, I found this, the text I put together for Depeche Mode when they were featured as artist of the week on my old radio show Music for the Masses. I’ll apologise right now for any unintentional plagiarism, errors, or particularly rude statements about group members that follow.

Depeche Mode formed from a group of school friends in 1981, and the group was one of the first signings to Daniel Miller‘s Mute Records. Two of the singles from their first album Speak and SpellNew Life and Just Can’t Get Enough reached the top ten, but shortly after the release of the album, principal songwriter Vince Clarke decided to leave the band to pursue other projects. The band pulled together, and Martin Gore took over songwriting duties.

Over the course of the 1980s, Depeche Mode began to pick up a substantial underground following, and travelled much of western Europe recording, and across the world touring. They reached their live pinnacle in 1988, when 75,000 people packed out the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Throughout the 1990s, their following has continued to grow, and the quality of their music has continued to excel. Their 1990 album Violator yielded several substantial hits, and became the first of three number ones in the UK.

The mid-1990s saw them hit traumatic times, as they lost long-standing member Alan Wilder, leaving them with only Martin Gore, singer Dave Gahan, and general dogsbody Martin Fletcher, whose main function in the band seems to be to wax lyrical about their 1986 album Black Celebration.

At this time, Dave Gahan was going through extreme drug problems, and generally it was thought that the band would split up, but somehow they fought against the odds, and came back in 1997 with Ultra, one of their best albums to date.

Their must recent album Exciter was released in 2001, and saw them return to a more upbeat style for the first time in a decade, and after spending last year [2003] immersed in solo projects, they will be returning at the end of October [2004] with a triple CD package of old, new, and previously unreleased remixes.

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