Rocking Retro: Depeche Mode

Today we regard Depeche Mode as legends, pioneers of the New Wave sound, and all-around elder statesmen badasses of the ’80s. And all of the above is true, even if the band never went away (their latest album dropped in 2009, and they continue to chart very well in parts of Europe). They are regarded as one of the most popular groups around today, but the numbers surprisingly don’t show it – in Depeche Mode’s 30+ year history, they have never topped the pop chart of their native England nor the U.S. Hot 100 (though they do have a few #1s on America’s Modern Rock Chart).

I always knew about Depeche Mode; they’re just one of those bands you find out about at an early age.  When I was around 5 or so, Violator was getting the heavy-airplay treatment and the group was pretty much everywhere.  I became familiar with the hits we all love to croon at karaoke – “Personal Jesus,” “Policy of Truth,” “People Are People.”  While in eighth grade, we had a Spanish foreign exchange student named Rosa who might be, to this day, the most die-hard Depeche Mode fan I’ve ever met.  She blared the newly-released Singles 86>98 compilation the whole time she lived with us, and I learned many more forgotten tracks from the seminal band.

Since this is a “Rocking Retro” post, I have focused my small samplings on the 80’s and Violator, though the group continues to make music that sounds like it could be from the exact same time point (one of my recent favorites, 2005’s “Precious,” could have been a huge hit back in 1986).  So click ahead – after the jump some hits from one of the best bands, like, ever.  This one’s for you, Markham.


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