Happy Birthday, Dave Gahan: 5 Essential Depeche Mode Songs

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Mute Records
Hello, Dave.
Today Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan turns 50 years old. This is a remarkable achievement, in that he was once declared legally dead but still looks like he's 20. Not only that, but he, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher are easily the most popular and influential electronic-rock band of all time, still going strong and making some of the best music of their career. DM is now working on a new album and plans to tour the world, again, next year.

I would like to extend my own personal birthday wishes to Gahan. I admire him because not only has he been one of my favorite rock and roll singers for a long time -- his sultry, smoldering style has a little Bryan Ferry, a little Bowie -- he is also one of the only other people I know of who has managed to drive himself into a heart attack at younger than 40. It's not easy to do, even if you work at it.

That was in October 1993, when Gahan was only 31 and having a little too much fun on Depeche Mode's Devotional Tour. But two days later, he was onstage singing at the Summit. He's a tough dude.

Depeche Mode has released an abundance of compilations over the years, starting with 1985's Catching Up With Depeche Mode and culminating in the six-part Singles Box monster several years back. Most recently, some of the biggest names in EDM (M83, UNKLE, Royksopp) lovingly tweaked Gahan's vocals on last year's Remixes 2.

Unless you're Dave Gahan, racking up that kind of catalog can get a little expensive, so to give newcomers a little push (and say happy birthday), I picked out five of my favorites.


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"Everything Counts": The same song as AC/DC's "Moneytalks," except written almost a decade earlier: Band signs record contract, is shocked and amazed that promoters and label men may not be looking out for their best interests. But seriously, not only does "Everything Counts" make sound like getting taken to the cleaners fun, it crystallized Depeche Mode's interest in industrial music. Gahan's bandmate and DM's principal lyricist at the time, Martin Gore, wrote it after going to an Einsturzende Neubauten show.

Album: Construction Time Again (1983)


"Blasphemous Rumors": If Gore was trying to get away from Depeche Mode's early image as synth-pop pretty boys who only sang lightweight love songs ("Dreaming of Me"), he did a good job with this one shaking an angry fist at an indifferent God for allowing an innocent British girl to get hit by a car and end up on a respirator. For his part, Gahan manages to sing lines like "I think that God's got a sick sense of humor" without turning into a total buzzkill.

Album: Some Great Reward (1984)


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10 comments
Sking8819
Sking8819

"Everything Counts," if anything, is an oblique reference to the Cold War military industrial complex, not the music industry.

Zeke
Zeke

Liked the article but your honorable mention of "A Question of Lust" was sung by Martin Gore, not Dave Gahan. 

Lostindustrial
Lostindustrial

Anyone's personal must have DM list is gonna be different from the next, but I'm a bit disappointed that you didn't include any that Dave actually wrote. :(

Corey
Corey

Every time you compile a list, I have a notably less respect for the HP when it comes to music. Seriously.  How pale you are compared to real music journalists.

MishapsGalore
MishapsGalore

Nice choices. Not easy task. So many to choose. I would add my personal favotite Halo. Gore is under appreciated as a lyricist.

Jon B.
Jon B.

Gotta call you out on your discography - Everything Counts appeared on Construction Time Again, DM's third LP, the first with Alan Wilder. It was NOT on A Broken Frame, DM's second LP. 

Rocks Off
Rocks Off

My mistake. I could have sworn I saw Broken Frame when I was researching. I don't know how I mixed up the two except I haven't listened to either album in years, but "Everything Counts" has always been one of my favorites from DM's early years. Thanks for calling me out. It should be fixed now.

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