05 March 2024

Depeche Mode Arrive...

It was March 1980, and Vince Clarke, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher formed a band called Composition of Sound, with Clarke as singer and guitar player, Gore on the keyboards and Fletcher on bass. The lads had been in various bands for a couple of years, with no success - but they were very young at the time and international stardom was probably not their aim.

In fact, even in 1980, none of the lads could have dreamt of what was about to happen.

Martin Gore had met up with his ex-classmate Andy Fletcher at the Van Gogh Club in 1980.

Official Depeche Mode history: The new band was called 'Composition of Sound' at the time of their first gig at the end of May 1980. The original Depeche Mode line-up was all present and correct by that time as Dave Gahan had just joined. More here.

After the formation of Composition of Sound, Clarke and Fletcher switched to synthesisers, working odd jobs so they could buy them - or borrowing them from friends. The group was soon joined by the essential lead singer Dave Gahan and DEPECHE MODE was born. The location was Basildon, Essex, England.

In December 1980 their local paper, The Basildon Echo, commented: 


Some of these perfumed, ponced up futuristic pop bands don't hold a candle to these four Basildon lads. They are Depeche Mode who would go a long way if someone pointed them in the direction of a decent tailor.

The photograph above was taken around 1981, the year the group first charted, and I think they look great! I love Depeche Mode.

Their first "hit" - Dreaming of Me, released in February 1981, reached No 57 in the charts, but the follow-up, New Life, released in June, went all the way to No 11. By the end of the year, the group had broken into the Top Ten with Just Can't Get Enough and released their first album, Speak and Spell.

Vince Clarke departed the band in late 1981 (we hadn't heard the last of him!) and Alan Wilder joined in early 1982.

Depeche Mode had arrived. Back in the early 1980s, I remember my mates and I pronouncing it "Depeché Mode" - in fact it seemed to be quite a widespread thing.


'Cos we woz fik.