Depeche Mode Must-Watch Videos
By Classic Pop | December 20, 2012
Here’s the Classic Pop guide to Depeche Mode’s Must Watch Videos – taken from our Lowdown feature in issue 1. Look out for more Lowdown instant guides in every issue of Classic Pop
Follow link at the bottom of the page to see our selection of must-have Depeche Mode albums…
PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE (1984)
People Are People and Master And Servant were the singles that finally ingratiated Depeche Mode with European audiences, so the band’s record company were keen to capitalise with suitably captivating videos. The latter’s video accompanied the song’s none-too-subtle S&M lyrics with images of people painting park benches (yes, really), but more memorable was the People Are People promo, which set out its anti-war message from the off and stuck with it. Filmed on what looked like a battleship, it saw the band running amok, smacking pieces of metal with large hammers to create their industrial din. And, just in case we didn’t get the message, this was interspersed with footage of various wars and armies marching. The video finished with some shots of the record being pressed, presumably to lighten the load – after all that, we certainly needed it.
DA Pennebaker’s documentary wasn’t for the faint-hearted, following Depeche Mode on their gruelling 101-date Music For The Masses tour of the US. If the film taught us anything, it was that the band were huge in the States at this point in their career. Nowhere was this better highlighted than during the climactic concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, where 60,000 fans treated the band like rock gods (charmingly, the band looked genuinely taken aback by the reception). The sound quality was crystal-clear throughout, while the song choices were perfect for the occasion. But most engrossing of all was witnessing Dave Gahan in full flow. Watching him feed off the crowd’s adulation, you couldn’t help wondering how he’d ever match that euphoria. Perhaps the answer lies in the heroin addiction that blighted his life in subsequent years.
ENJOY THE SILENCE (1990)
“OK, Dave, you dress as a king, take this deckchair and wander around some hills,” is possibly what director Anton Corbijn said at the start of this video shoot. “And I want you in one of those beards without a moustache.” Since Corbijn had already been bossing U2 around for some years, who were Depeche Mode to argue? Gahan obeyed, the rest of the band chipped in with cameo appearances in black and white, and the result was one of the band’s more-memorable videos. To be fair, Corbijn clearly knew how to make something banal look cool, as proven by the video’s symmetry, locations, colour balance and distant shots of silhouetted landscapes. Then there were the “subliminal” flashes of the Violator cover – the album from which this track came. “Buy me!” they screamed. The fans took note and the band shifted eight million copies, making it the band’s biggest-selling album.
With the worst of their troubles seemingly behind them, Depeche Mode enjoyed a return to form with the single It’s No Good. The video was no slouch, either. Starting in a bar, complete with dancing girls, glitzy jackets and even a plot (of sorts), it saw Gahan step up to the plate with some tongue-in-cheek acting, before the whole band was whisked away through the streets of New York with their entourage in tow. This could’ve been construed as Gahan parodying the person he’d become during his darker days – the arrogant pop star getting his own way. Or it may have simply been a celebration that the band were returning to better days, their singer having returned following a stint in rehab. At the end of the video, they emerged from Hotel Ultra – Ultra being the name of the album from whence this single came. More not-so-subliminal advertising?