Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Depeche Mode History

Depeche Mode is an English electronic music band formed in 1980, in Basildon, Essex, England. The group's original line-up was Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, vocals, chief songwriter after 1981), Andrew Fletcher (keyboards) and Vince Clarke (keyboards, chief songwriter 1980–81). Vince Clarke left the band after the release of their 1981 debut album, and was replaced by Alan Wilder (lead keyboards, production 1982–1995). Depeche Mode is one of the longest-lived, most successful and influential bands to have emerged from the New Wave era. It has had forty-five songs in the UK Singles Chart, as well as #1 albums in UK, US and throughout countries in Europe. According to EMI, Depeche Mode has sold over 75 million albums worldwide, as part of total worldwide record sales (including singles) in excess of 100 million.

Formation (1977-1980)

Depeche Mode's origins can be traced back to 1977, when Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher formed a band called No Romance in China, with Clarke on vocals/guitar and Fletcher on bass. In 1979, Clarke played guitar in an "Ultravox rip-off band", The Plan, with friends Robert Marlow and Paul Langwith. In 1979, Marlow, Gore, Clarke and friend Paul Redmond formed a band called The French Look, Marlow on vocals/keyboards, Gore on guitar and Redmond on keyboards. In March 1980, Clarke, Gore and Fletcher formed a band called Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals/guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. Dave Gahan joined the band in 1980 after Clarke heard him perform at a local scout-hut jam session, crooning to a rendition of David Bowie's "Heroes", and Depeche Mode was born.

Speak & Spell (1981)
The result of this verbal contract was the single "Dreaming of Me", which was released in February 1981, reaching number 57 in the UK charts. Encouraged by this, the band recorded its second single "New Life", climbing to number 11 in the UK charts. Three months later, the band released "Just Can't Get Enough" - its first single to enter the UK Top 10, peaking at number eight. This record was in many ways a breakthrough for the band, and its success paved the way for its debut album - Speak & Spell, released in November 1981, and eventually reaching number ten on the UK album charts.

Clarke's departure (1981)
In November 1981, Clarke publicly announced that he was leaving Depeche Mode. After initial talk of Clarke continuing to write material for the group ultimately amounted to nothing (Clarke offered the remaining members of Depeche Mode the track "Only You", but they declined and it subsequently went to UK #2 for Clarke's new band, Yazoo), Gore, who had written "Tora! Tora! Wilder joins (1982)

In late 1981, the band placed an anonymous ad in Melody Maker looking for another musician. In January 1982, the band released "See You", their first single without Clarke, which against all expectations, managed to beat all three Clarke-penned singles in the UK charts, reaching number six. In January 1982, the band embarked on their first world tour, the "See You" tour. Depeche Mode began work on their second album in July 1982. Daniel Miller informed Wilder that he was not needed for the recording of the album, as the band wanted to prove that they could succeed without Vince Clarke. Their second album A Broken Frame was released that September. In October 1982, the band embarked on their second tour that year, the "Broken Frame Tour".

Construction Time Again (1983)
A non-album single "Get the Balance Right!" was released in January 1983, and was Wilder's first musical contribution to the band.

For their third LP Construction Time Again, Depeche Mode worked with producer Gareth Jones, at John Foxx's Garden Studios and at Hansa Studios in West Berlin. Some Great Reward (1984)

In their early years, Depeche Mode had only really attained success in the UK, Europe, and Australia - however, this changed in March 1984, when they released the single "People Are People". Sire, the band's North American record label, released a compilation of the same name. In September 1984, Some Great Reward was released. The album was also their first to enter the U.S. album charts, and made the Top 10 in several European countries.

In 1985, Mute Records released a compilation, The Singles 81>85 (Catching Up with Depeche Mode in the U.S.), which included the new singles : "Shake the Disease" and "It's Called a Heart".

Arguably Depeche Mode's largest transformation came in 1986, with the release of their fifteenth single "Stripped", and its accompanying album Black Celebration. The band recognised the song's promise, and decided to improve it and include it on the album, renamed as "Fly on the Windscreen - Final".

Anton has directed 19 more of the band's videos (the latest being 2006's "Suffer Well") and live performances, and has been responsible for some of the band's albums and singles covers.

Music For the Masses (1987)
1987's Music for the Masses saw further alterations in the band's sound and working methods. Record Mirror described it as "the most accomplished and sexy Mode album to date" and it made a breakthrough in the American market, something which the band had failed to achieve with their previous albums.

101 (1988)
On the heels of Music for the Masses, the group played a follow-up world tour in 1987–88. Violator (1990)

In mid-1989, the band began recording in Milan with producer Flood and engineer Fran├žois Kevorkian. The initial result of this session was the single "Personal Jesus". In February 1990, "Enjoy the Silence", became one of Depeche Mode's most successful singles to date, reaching number six in the UK; a few months later in the U.S., it became Depeche Mode's biggest hit, reaching number eight, and earning the band a second gold single. As an apology to the fans who were injured, the band released a limited edition cassette tape to the fans living in Los Angeles and was distributed through radio station KROQ, the sponsor of the Wherehouse event. Two more singles from the album, "Policy of Truth" and "World in My Eyes" were UK and U.S. hits.

Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993)
The 14-month Devotional world tour followed. It was documented by a concert video of the same name, and a second live album, Songs of Faith and Devotion Live. The live album was essentially a track-by-track reproduction of the eponymous album, designed to help boost sales figures of the studio album, and it proved to be a critical and commercial failure. Wilder's departure (1995)

In June 1995, Alan Wilder announced that he was leaving Depeche Mode, explaining,
Wilder continued to work on his personal project Recoil, releasing a fourth album (Unsound Methods) in 1997.

Following Wilder's departure, many were skeptical of whether Depeche Mode would ever record again. Despite Gahan's increasingly severe personal issues, Gore tried repeatedly during 1995-1996 to get the band recording again. Gore was forced to contemplate breaking the band up, and releasing the songs he had written as a solo album. In mid-1996, Gahan entered a drug rehabilitation program to battle his heroin addiction. With Gahan out of rehab in 1996, Depeche Mode held recording sessions with producer Tim Simenon; the next year, the album Ultra, and its two preceding singles, "Barrel of a Gun" and "It's No Good", were released. The album debuted at #1 in the UK and #5 in the US.

A second singles compilation The Singles (86-98) was released in 1998, preceded by the new single "Only When I Lose Myself", which had been recorded during the "Ultra" sessions. The band set off on a four month tour. The same year, a tribute album For the Masses was released, featuring Depeche Mode covers by bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Rammstein and The Deftones.

In 2001, Depeche Mode released Exciter, which was produced by Mark Bell (of the pioneering techno group LFO). Bell introduced a minimalist, digital sound to much of the album, influenced by IDM and glitch. The album failed to achieve the same levels of sales as the band's previous three releases, and was the first studio album by Depeche Mode to chart higher in the U.S. than the UK, although it reached the Top 10 in both countries. The critical response to the album was mixed. In 2004, Mute released the DVD version of Devotional, filmed during their 1993 world tour, as well as a new remix compilation album Remixes 81 - 04 that compiled new and unreleased promo mixes of the band's singles from 1981 to 2004, including a reinterpreted version of "Enjoy the Silence" by Mike Shinoda entitled "Enjoy the Silence 04", which was released as a single, and reached #7 on the UK charts.

Playing the Angel (2005)
On 17 October 2005, the band released their 11th studio album Playing the Angel. Produced by Ben Hillier, this Top 10 hit (peaking at #1 in 17 countries) featured the hit single "Precious", peaking at #4 in the UK charts. The album was backed by the band's first in-store signing since 1990, on the day of release in New York City. This is the first Depeche Mode album to feature lyrics written by Gahan and, consequently, the first album since 1984's Some Great Reward featuring songs not written by Gore.

The second single from the album, "A Pain That I'm Used To," was released on 12 December, and the third single from the album was "Suffer Well," the first ever post-Clarke Depeche Mode single not to be written by Gore (lyrics by Gahan, music by Philpott/Eigner). To promote Playing the Angel, the band launched the worldwide Touring the Angel in November 2005, taking them to North America and Europe. The second instalment of remastered albums were A Broken Frame, Some Great Reward and Songs of Faith and Devotion, all of which were released on 2 October 2006.

Construction Time Again and Black Celebration were released on 26 March 2007. On 25 September 2006 Depeche Mode released their live DVD-CD set Touring the Angel: Live in Milan, directed by Blue Leach and recorded at Milan's Fila Forum on 18 February, and 19 February 2006. The DVD has a full concert on disc 1, bonus live songs "A Question of Lust" and "Damaged People" along with a 20-minute documentary featuring Anton Corbijn, official tour announcement from Germany in the summer of 2005, and the Playing the Angel electronic press kit on disc 2, and disc 3 is a CD with live versions of tracks from Playing the Angel.

On 2 November, Depeche Mode received the MTV Europe Music Award in the Best Group category. During that same period Fletcher confirmed that the band was on a long break after the massive "Touring the Angel".

In December 2006, Depeche Mode were nominated for a Grammy Award, for Best Dance Recording, for "Suffer Well.

" Sounds of the Universe (2009)
In August 2007, during promotion for Dave Gahan's second solo album, Hourglass, it was announced that Depeche Mode were heading back in studio in early 2008 to work on their upcoming twelfth studio album.

In May 2008, the band returned to the studio to work on some songs that Martin Gore had been working on at his home studio in Santa Barbara, California.

In August 2008, it was announced that Depeche Mode were splitting from their long-term U.S. label, Warner Music, and will be signed to EMI Music worldwide.

"Wrong" is a Dave Gahan-sung track with a lot of electronics, "Peace" a Gore/Gahan duet.

Posted on YouTube are videos shot by Andy Fletcher of the construction of a new song from the album.

On 15 January 2009, the official Depeche Mode website announced that the new album would be called Sounds of the Universe. The album will be released internationally on 20 April 2009 and in the U.S. on 21 April 2009.

"Wrong" is the first single from the album, released digitally on 21 February 2009, and physically on 6 April (7 April in the U.S.). The full album was leaked over the Internet on 26 March 2009, when it was sold ahead of time through iTunes Pass.

Depeche Mode's Andy Fletcher has told the indie electronic magazine Side-Line that several demos from the band have gone missing. Legacy and influence
Depeche Mode influenced many of today's popular recording artists, in part due to their recording techniques and innovative use of sampling. Neil Tennant says, “We were listening to Violator by Depeche Mode, which was a very good album and we were deeply jealous of it.” Appreciation of Depeche Mode within today's electronic music scene is shown by the numerous Depeche Mode remixes by contemporary DJs such as Ricardo Villalobos' remix of "The Sinner in Me" or Kruder & Dorfmeister's remix of "Useless".

Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke cites Depeche Mode as an influence with Mode's early 90's album, Violator.

Ken Jordan, member of the LA electronic duo The Crystal Method has said that Depeche Mode is one of The Crystal Method's main influences in music.

Chester Bennington, vocalist of Linkin Park, was inspired by the band. Another Linkin Park member Mike Shinoda has said, "Depeche Mode is one of the most influential groups of our time. The band's influence is spread throughout different genres of music. Raymond Herrera, the drummer of the heavy metal band Fear Factory, says, "A lot of different music influenced the way I play now. Like the band Depeche Mode. According to Darren Smith, the guitarist of the post-hardcore band Funeral for a Friend, "dark, moodier stuff" in his band's music was "Depeche Mode-influenced." Depeche Mode's influence on heavy metal bands is clear through the numerous covers of their songs. In August 2008, Coldplay released a "cover version" of the video for "Enjoy the Silence" as an alternate video for their single "Viva la Vida". In May 2009 a massive Depeche Mode tribute compilation "Alfa Matrix re:covered" was released holding 32 covers by bands such as FRONT 242, Komor Kommando, Ayria etc.

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