The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. David Bowie. Queen. Led Zeppelin. The Police. Depeche Mode. Erasure. Dead or Alive. Culture Club. Duran Duran. The Human League. Spice Girls. Coldplay. One Direction.
Those acts are all part of a “British Invasion” and depending on your age, you’re likely a fan of, at least, one of the groups.
I was fortunate enough to see The Human League at Market Days in Chicago about ten years ago and they were awesome. I had tickets to see Culture Club the last time they were going to tour the U.S., but Boy George’s visa was denied because of the criminal charges surrounding his holding a male escort “hostage” in his home! Luckily, he cleaned up his act and I hope they tour in the next year or so.
And, back in 2002, when I was a news writer for Fox News Chicago, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke of Erasure passed through the newsroom for an interview to promote their new album and concert and I got to meet them and they signed a VHS copy of their “Wild! Live” concert for me.
It’s too bad that I didn’t get to go to that concert that night because they are phenomenal live (on video, at least).
As you know, from a previous blog, I got to see one of my childhood idols, Helen Reddy, last month in St. Charles, Illinois, and next month, I’ll be seeing one of my 1980s crushes, Rick Springfield, right here in the Quad Cities.
And, later this summer, I’ll get to mark another one of those English super groups off my list!
I’ve been a huge fan of Depeche Mode since their first American hit, “People Are People”, reached #13 in 1984, and I can’t wait to see them in concert for the first time. It has only taken me thirty years, but they still sound as good today as they did back when I was a teenager!
The band, made up of lead singer Dave Gahan, and keyboardists/guitarists/vocalists Martin Gore (who’s also the primary song writer) and Andy Fletcher, are ready to kick off their “Delta Machine Tour” to promote their 13th studio album of the same name. That album just debuted in the Top Ten in both the U.S. and U.K. As a matter of fact, every one of the band’s studio albums have debuted in the Top Ten in their native England and they’ve also had three other complication and greatest hits albums to hit the Top Ten there, too.
As a young gay man in western Kentucky, that first Depeche Mode song touched me.
It wasn’t just the new, amazing electronic sound and the vocals, but the lyrics, “It’s obvious you hate me/ Though I’ve done nothing wrong/ I never even met you/ So what could I have done” and “Now you’re punching and you’re kicking/ And you’re shouting at me/ I’m relying on your common decency/ So far it hasn’t surfaced/ But I’m sure it exists/ It just takes a while to travel/ From your head to your fist/ I can’t understand/ What makes a man/ Hate another man” were incredible and touching.
And, it didn’t hurt that the band was so cutting edge and that Dave Gahan was so dreamy!
I’m counting down the days four months from now to see them rock Chicago (okay, Tinley Park) with classics and songs from the very moody and amazing new album, “Delta Machine”. While I won’t get to meet Dave, Martin, and Andy, I have awesome seats! I may be closing in on 50-years-old in the next year or so, but I’ll be channeling my former 19-year-old self that night!!
This may be where I lose some of you, but I want to introduce you to the band and let you know about their accomplishments and why they are still relevant and popular three decades after their first album and first songs. Depeche Mode has sold more than 100 million singles and albums and are the “most successful electronic band in history”.
Depeche Mode, if you happen to read this and you’re still putting together your set list, please consider playing your first Top Ten hit (#8, 1981) in the U.K., “Just Can’t Get Enough”. I know you don’t do it very often any more, but I absolutely love this one. American radio missed the boat on this first release when it hit our shores in 1982, but it did reach #26 on the Billboard Dance chart.
In the U.K., the band have had 43 Top 40 songs. Of that number, 14 have hit the Top Ten. Sadly, they also hold the distinction of having the most Top 40 hits in the U.K. without reaching #1. They have reached #4 three times. “Soothe My Soul” is already being played on some American rock stations, so maybe that’ll be the one to top the charts in the U.K.! They recently performed that song for David Letterman and it’ll give you a good idea of how great the new album is.
In America, the dance clubs love the band. They’ve charted with 27 hits on the Billboard dance charts. Of those, 16 have hit the Top Ten, and 10 of them have topped the chart. Their first was “Strangelove” back in 1987, and just this week (yes, this week!), they topped the chart again with “Heaven”, the first single from the new album.
On the Billboard Hot 100, Depeche Mode has charted with six Top 40 hits: “People Are People” (#13, 1984), “Personal Jesus” (#28, 1989), “Enjoy The Silence” (#8, 1990), “Policy of Truth” (#15, 1990), “I Feel You” (#37, 1993), and “It’s No Good” (#38, 1997).
In the U.S., Depeche Mode has had 11 album to be certified gold (shipment or sales of 500,000) or platinum (shipment or sales of 1 million-plus). Their biggest selling American album was 1990’s “Violator”, which went triple platinum (three million-plus) and also featured three of their radio hits, “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy The Silence” (their only Top Ten Hot 100 hit in America) and “Policy of Truth”.
Dave, Martin, and Andy, I can’t wait to see you later this summer. You guys rock!
By the way, Quad Cities, believe it or not, the band performed at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, back on March 23, 1985!!!! So, here’s a live performance from that era and they probably did this song live here.
If you haven’t picked up “Delta Machine”, what are you waiting for? It’s incredible!