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BLACK CELEBRATION

RECORDED, LIKE MUCH OF BOWIE’S BERLIN TRILOGY, IN THE SHADOW OF THE WALL, THE BAND’S ECHO-SOAKED FIFTH ALBUM MIGHT NOT BE THEIR VERY BEST, BUT FEW WOULD ARGUE THAT IT’S DEFINITIVE DEPECHE MODE…

In 1985 Depeche Mode released their first singles collection. Television advertised, it was an avowedly commercial gesture – and with a group portrait adorning the front of package, it marked a break with the ‘faceless’ spell they’d woven with previous releases.

Gore had no intention of making similar compromises with the group’s next album. Two things hit Daniel Miller as he heard the demos; no singles, no radio. When the band convened to record the album, the ever-supportive Miller softened his approach, devising a plan to capture the essence of these dark works in progress. With himself and Jones in tow, the group would, he announced, “live the album”. Recorded in 14-hour long sessions spanning 120 days, largely at Berlin’s Hansa Studio, Black Celebration would be a work of total immersion and commitment, conceived as their masterpiece. The Germans would be more succinct: ‘gesamkunstwerk’. Uneasy music required uneasy methods… the musical equivalent, Jones later said, of Werner Herzog “dragging boats through jungles” on his film Fitzcarraldo.

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About Classic Pop Presents

In our latest special edition 132-page magazine we explore the world of synth-pop pioneers Depeche Mode. We follow the band’s epic story – decade-by-decade – from their genesis in Basildon as synth-loving adolescents with Vince Clarke at the helm, through to the present day as a globally famous three-piece with over 100 million record sales under their belts. Classic Pop Presents turn the spotlight onto classic albums from every era of the group’s evolution including Speak & Spell, Black Celebration, Violator, Songs Of Faith And Devotion, Exciter and latest LP Spirit – plus, we go behind the scenes via exclusive interviews with Depeche’s Martin Gore and Dave Gahan, as well as producers Tim Simenon, Ben Hillier and James Ford. We also sit down with the two directors of pioneering tour film 101 to hear how they captured the reality of ‘Mode on the road’. Also inside, we deliver our definitive Top 40 Depeche Mode playlist as well as highlighting some lesser-spun gems; we survey the band’s videography and revisit their mammoth global tours through the years. Add to that our in-depth feature on Depeche’s many collaborators, our investigation into collectable vinyl from their back catalogue and much more besides – it’s an unmissable issue!