My introduction to British electronic band Depeche Mode was through the video for the brilliant single Everything Counts, from their 1983 album Construction Time Again. It was strikingly unlike anything I’d heard before and made me an instant fan. To this day they’re one of my favorite bands. Very few artists in popular music have created such a singularly distinctive sound, or sustained such a prolific and distinguished career.
In the 80s I devoted unreasonable proportions of my hard-won teenager’s income to obsessively collecting every release in Depeche Mode’s catalog (as best a suburban California kid could do, pre-internet) which led to uncovering quite a lot of lesser-known gems. As the band are currently promoting a series of boxed sets of reissued singles from their early career, I’m struck by how much of their best work in the 80s could only be found on singles.
Here’s a list of my favorite Depeche Mode non-album singles and b-sides, ordered chronologically. If you’re a Google Play person, I’ve made you a playlist.
Ice Machine – B-side to the single Dreaming of Me, 1981
Shout – B-side to the single New Life, 1981
Now This is Fun – B-side to the single See You, 1982
Get the Balance Right! – Non-album single, 1983
Fools – B-side to the single Love in Itself, 1983
In Your Memory – B-side to the single People are People, 1984
(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me – B-side to the single Master and Servant, 1984
Shake the Disease – Non-album single, 1985
It’s Called a Heart – Non-album single, 1985
Christmas Island – B-side to the single A Question of Lust, 1986