Year first eligible: 2007 ceremony
Members included: Vince Clarke, Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, Alan Wilder
Remaining on the cutting edge for over three decades, Depeche Mode has explored new realms of postpunk, electronic textures, and futuristic industrial sounds. Led by one of the all-time most charismatic frontmen Dave Gahan and a songwriting legend Martin Gore. Depeche Mode burst from the U.K. town of Basildon in 1981 with the New Romantic synth-blast of Speak And Spell, as tunesmith Vince Clarke brought his sense of pop classicism to the dance floor in hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “Dreaming Of Me.”
When Clarke left the group to make inventive records with his groups Yaz and Erasure, Gore stepped up to become one of his generation’s most influential songwriters, with his own black-leather blend of existential despair, erotic kink, political bite and sly wit. Depeche Mode built a diehard cult – and helped invent the goth subculture – with groundbreaking hits like “Master And Servant” (1985), “Stripped” (1986), “A Question Of Lust” (1986) and “Never Let Me Down Again” (1987) – while their electro reboot of “Route 66” showed off their wry take on the R&B verities. Black Celebration (1986) and Music for the Masses (1987) led to Depeche Mode’s masterwork Violator (1990), blending ominous synths with rock guitar for classics like “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy The Silence.”
Their newfound flair for the blues exploded in the goth-grunge swamp gospel of 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion (“Walking In My Shoes”), as well as in recent global hits like Delta Machine (2013) and Spirit (2017). Depeche Mode have kept evolving through the 1990s and beyond, remaining a legendarily fearsome live act across the planet, with a foot in the underground and another in the club – but always with an eye on the future.