Depeche Mode

The electronic new-wave work of Depeche Mode helped to break the British musical movement internationally. Formed in England in 1980 by Vince Clark, Andy Fletcher, and Martin Gore, the band pivoted to an electronic sound after hearing Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. As Depeche Mode, the band’s first show occurred in May 1980 and it recorded “Photographic” for the first Some Bizarre Records sampler. By the end of the year, following a show in London, the band had been signed to Mute Records and recorded its formal debut, “Dreaming of Me,” released in early 1981. It performed on Top of the Pops and, by September, the single “Just Can’t Get Enough” would become the band’s first entry into the Top 10. A debut album, Speak & Spell, was released in October and Clarke left the group in November. He was replaced by Alan Wilder and the group embarked on its first North American tour. The band returned to England to record 1982’s A Broken Frame, after which it expanded its sound for 1983’s Construction Time Again. Recorded partly in West Berlin’s Hansa Studios, the album featured a wider range of electronic instruments and a heightened focus on sampling. Depeche Mode continued to release albums regularly through the end of the decade and found steadily increasing success in mainland Europe. In 1990, Violator, bolstered by the “Personal Jesus” single, became the band’s first album to break into the Billboard Top 10, after which it embarked on a stadium tour of the United States. Despite internal strife and the departure of Wilder in 1995, the group continued to tour and release new albums regularly through the 2010s. The proliferation of electronic music recording technology in the 2000s allowed for a further diversification of Depeche Mode’s sound, the ability for members to participate on collaborations with other artists, and a general appreciation of the band’s contribution to the early stages of new wave.