Personalities | Depeche Mode | Eighties | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1976–present)

The band was formed by Essex schoolboys Vince Clarke (keyboards), Martin Gore (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Andy Fletcher (keyboards) and singer Dave Gahan. New label Mute took a punt on their melancholic but hooky synth-pop and were rewarded with the Top 10 album Speak And Spell (1981) and classic dance track ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. Clarke departed to create Erasure, and Gore assumed songwriting duties, racking up hits that combined Gahan’s world-weary delivery with a riffy, industrial-lite appeal – ‘Everything Counts’, ‘People Are People’ (their first US hit) and ‘Master And Servant’. Deeply depressive collections such as Some Great Reward (1984), Black Celebration (1986) and Music For The Masses (1987) cemented their US reputation, while 1990’s Violator and its premier single ‘Personal Jesus’ marked a move to a more guitar-oriented sound. Bands such as Nine Inch Nails paid homage. Gahan suffered drug-related problems in the 1990s, but varied outings such as Ultra (1997) and Exciter (2001) proved the band had plenty of life left.

Styles & Forms | Eighties | Rock
Personalities | Dexy’s Midnight Runners | Eighties | Rock

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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