Saturday 7 March 2020


It feels as if I have written this blog several times before, so please bear with me if it feels like this is a repeat. It is no exaggeration to say that Enjoy The Silence was a song that changed my life. When I first heard it playing on my Mum's car radio, everything stood still and I was captivated by what I heard, a feeling that I still get when I hear the song. Without that song, it's unlikely I would have embraced Violator and, without that, you wouldn't be reading this as I don't think my Depeche Mode fandom would have reached the clearly problematic levels it has currently reached. In other words, blame Enjoy The Silence for the existence of this blog. I will never tire of it. How can anyone not love a song that says so much, so simply:

"All I ever wanted, all I ever needed, is here in my arms."

It's not just me that feels like that. Many members of the Depeche Mode fanbase first discovered the band having heard Enjoy The Silence. It's a song that piqued the interest of casual fans, becoming a genuine crossover hit, and it's a song that has influenced numerous musicians and bands - see Coldplay's video tribute to it with their Viva La Vida video.

What is it about this track then? What made Enjoy The Silence so special? At the risk of setting off an "Alan is the best" debate, we first must look at Mr Wilder's contribution to the track.

Martin had turned up at PUK studios in Denmark with a demo version that bore no resemblance to the final version we all know. His demo was more along the lines of the Harmonium version that can be found on L12BONG18 and LCDBONG18. Famously, Alan insisted on adding his glittery disco ball to the mix and he was right to do so, noting that it would be criminal to pass on the song's "massive commercial potential." Alan and Flood sent everyone away and got to work on Martin's demo, ending up with a version the band loved. Daniel Miller was unhappy with the band and Francois Kervorkian's mix of the track however, and so his mix was ultimately released as the 7" version.

The first the world heard of Enjoy The Silence was in Dortmund on 18th November 1989, when the band performed the song on Peter's Pop Show. Here it is in all its glorious "video mix" version glory:

At this point, the single was just under three months from release. As YouTube didn't exist then, it's quite remarkable to think that only those who were able to access the broadcast at the time were the only people that could actually see this. I imagine that video tapes of the show would have been in heavy demand. The song was so new that the iconic video had not yet been filmed and, in fact, the song would not be performed again on television until after the single's release.

Ah, the video. As beautiful as the song itself is captivating, Anton Corbijn's majestic video is one of those Violator era moments where Depeche Mode's music and Corbijn's vision blend perfectly, creating an astonishing accompaniment to the single. The video famously features very little of the band but wall-to-wall Dave Gahan. The band shots were filmed in London on 28 November 1989. The opening 17 seconds of the video are wonderful. The band are naturally shot in black and white with Dave putting on his hard man look again, disappearing one by one until only Dave is left. The video proper then begins, Anton's first colour video for the band. This is Depeche Mode looking their coolest and the opening section of the video mix, a mix that has criminally never had an official audio release, is incredible.

In December 1989, the video shoot proper kicked off with Dave and Anton's crew heading to the Balmoral Estate in the North East of Scotland.  There was a brief article about the video in Bong 8, the much-missed Depeche Mode Fanclub magazine, talking about Dave's 8 hour shoot in freezing conditions. It mentioned that, after the shoot, Dave remained in his robe and crown and waved to inevitably bemused passers-by as he and the crew left the shoot. 

Dave at Balmoral, picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

The video shoot carried on in January 1990 when Dave, Anton and co headed to the Algarve in Portugal and a place called Alvor at Praihna Beach, Here, a number of the video's most striking moments were shot, including the section where Dave stares out to sea which, the opening aside, is my favourite part of the video. This was of course also the time where Dave was sporting a daring new haircut that featured a tree on top of his usual hairdo. We can see it here, captured by Anton in his Strangers book:

Filming concluded a week or so later in the Swiss Alps where the video's iconic snowy scenes were filmed. It was at this shoot that Dave famously sent Anton's assistant Richard Bell out into the snowy wilds to star in one scene that featured the video's King very, very far away. He'd had enough of the cold and who can blame him?

Dave reacting to Anton suggesting he go very far away for the last shot

And that was that. The greatest Depeche Mode video and, yes, I'll say it, the greatest video of all time, was complete. Here are all 4 minutes 40 seconds of this most wonderful film:

How can anyone ever grow tired of that? Sigh. Anyway....

The band started releasing promos for the single, most of which now sell for very high prices online. A promotional postcard was sent out to Fanclub members when the single was released on 5th February 1990, showing off the iconic single art for the first time:

It told you what initial formats were released initially which was handy:

A 7 inch promo was sent out. The only difference between it and the standard 7" is the size of the A on the A-Side of the record. If yours looks like this, you have a nice asset. I saw one sell for £5 or so on eBay last year - the seller clearly had no idea what they had.

BONG18 promo 7" - a-side
The b-side of the promo 7" looks no different to the standard 7":

BONG18 promo 7" - b-side

A 12" promo was released in one of those wonderful Mute promo sleeves of the time:

It features three tracks, all remixes of Enjoy The Silence: Bass Line, Ricki Tik Tik Mix and Single Version. The Ricki Tik Tik Mix on the promo 12" is different to the commercially released mix that appears on the limited edition 12" and CD single, as it features additional keyboard sounds. That version was released commercially when the Depeche Mode Singles Box Set featuring Enjoy The Silence was released in 2004. There was also a 3" promotional CD single:

CDBONG18R and more of my carpet than is necessary
It features the same tracks as the promotional 7".

Promotional items aside, eight different versions of Enjoy The Silence were released. First of all, the standard 7" which featured the Single versions of Enjoy The Silence and spooky but gorgeous instrumental track Memphisto. Martin says that the b-side is the name of an imaginary film he created where Elvis featured as the devil. Of course.


As you can see, the big A from the promo is not there. As you can also see below, the b-side is identical to the promo 7" b-side:

Let's pause this format nonsense briefly to look at the cover art. The 7", cassette, standard CD single and standard 12" all had the same front sleeve and it is stunning. Simple, but quite beautiful, it is one of Anton's finest. The rear of the 7" and CD/12" also feature the same art as the 7" above and, again, and no doubt to the surprise of no-one, I love it. The rose motif appears again, and the simple DM accompanies it perfectly. D and M are also my initials - Anton was clearly sending me a message. Right?

Anyway, the cassette single has the same tracklisting as the 7":


The rose and DM logo appears there too as you can see. 12BONG18 features four tracks and is a beauty.

12BONG18 - a-side

The a-side features the Single Mix and Hands And Feet Mix of Enjoy The Silence. The latter is a classic 12" style remix that has featured prominently in live versions since 1990. 

12BONG18 - b-side
The b-side features the Ecstatic Dub version of Enjoy The Silence, a really cool remix that shows off the track's harsher side, focussing on the bass and percussion side of things. Sibeling is the second track on the b-side, another instrumental, more piano led than Memphisto. It's a lovely thing. Both the Hands And Feet Mix and Ecstatic Dub are Francois Kervorkian remixes.


The standard CD single, CDBONG18 pictured above, is a 3" cd featuring the same four tracks as the 12" albeit the Hands And Feet Mix is in an edited form due to the capacity of the CD. It is 37 seconds shorter than the 12" version.  So there you go. 

L12BONG18 - a-side

There were limited edition formats too starting with L12BONG18, the limited edition 12". This is my favourite Depeche Mode record of all time. The record above was the first Depeche record I ever bought while in London on a family holiday in 1990. My Mum won't fly, so getting to our ultimate holiday destination of Livorno in Italy was hard enough. We started off driving to Dumfries then getting a train first to Carlisle and then to London where we spent a night. I managed to go record shopping and bought this record. I subsequently carried it with me from London to Dover (train), Dover to Calais (hovercraft) and then from Calais to Livorno. Going home, I carried it all the way back, finally playing it at home in Castle Douglas having been a pain in the arse and added unnecessary hassle to a family holiday (Dad - "Would you put that bloody record down?"). Those memories however, and the memories of 1990's Depeche Mode discovery, make me very happy indeed.

L12BONG18 - b-side.

The artwork on this and the equivalent CD single is magical too. A simple re-telling of the standard release covers with a copy of the rear art and it compliments them perfectly. Here's LCDBONG18:

Both releases feature the same four tracks: the Bass Line, Harmonium and Ricki Tik Tik versions of Enjoy The Silence and Memphisto. Harmonium is a version that is very close to Martin's original demo and is hauntingly beautiful. I used to put it on mixtapes thinking I was being really clever when, in fact and bloody obviously when you think about it, all people wanted to do was hear the actual song and not some obscure remix. The things you do when you are young. Both Bass Line and Ricki Tik Tik Mix are wonderful remixes. Bass Line  is a curiously intriguing mix that mixes distorted vocals with all sorts of stuff to quite wonderful effect.  The Ricki Tik Tik Mix is another superb deconstruction of Enjoy The Silence with interesting acid like squiggles at points throughout. All three remixes on the limited releases are credited to Depeche Mode and Flood.

Picture courtesy of

All of a sudden, adverts like the one featured in Record Mirror above appeared, A 15 minute non stop mix of Enjoy The Silence? Mixed by Tim Simenon, Holger Hiller, Gareth Jones and Adrian Sherwood? One sided etched 12"? What did any of this mean?

It meant this gorgeous beast:

XLBONG18 front cover and inner sleeve
Now, we (and by "we," I automatically exclude any normal people) had been used to L12's and LCD's in the Depeche Mode release world, but what wizardry was an XL12 and XLCD? Well, it was apparently an extra limited release featuring a mix in four parts called The Quad: Final Mix, a 15 minute (actually 15 minutes 27 seconds) remix of Enjoy The Silence. Nearly as mad as the legendary Everything Counts Filofax pack, this was a truly odd yet marvellous way to round off the multi format madness of Enjoy The Silence.

XL12BONG18 - a-side

Before we get to the remix and etched b-side, let's just appreciate that artwork. The DM and rose we'd seen on the rear of the releases above features on both the cover and the printed inner sleeve. Add to that the fact the cover is black and you have a something incredibly special. How bloody lovely.

XLBONG18 - etched b-side
The rear cover is wonderful too, echoing both standard 12" and CD singles PLUS the postcard I showed you earlier. If you are like me, and I presume most of you reading this are indeed that or even worse, then this can never fail to make you smile. The etching on the unplayable b-side is beautiful too as I hope the picture above shows. In many ways, this is an almost pointless, vanity release, but to be perfectly honest, I'd have bought it even if it didn't include a record.

And then there's The Quad:Final Mix itself. 4 remixers take charge and remix the single as they see fit, with Paul Kendall having the job of putting all four together. It's not a mix you would put on at a party, but it's still something quite remarkable. The first part is along the lines of the 12" mixes already released and is quite brilliant. At 3 minutes 26 seconds, an alarm clock sounds and the song takes off in a different direction entirely, experimental but interesting and then, all of a sudden, 6 minutes 28 seconds in, everything slows down and the song becomes an orchestral piece. It is beautiful. The orchestral section mixed by Gareth Jones and Mimi Kobayashi was actually released on its own on a Mute compilation album called International : Compilation Mute in 1993. The fourth part of The Quad begins at 10 minutes 41 seconds and ends on a high with a booming final section. What an odd but fantastic release. 


There was also a CD release too with no etched b-side, but with a black 3" CD as you can see above. If you'll permit me one last wander down memory lane, this CD single is a wonderful example of how not to collect any band, let alone Depeche Mode. Back in 1990, I would go into Dumfries with my friends Stuart, Jamie and John and we'd trawl the record shops. At the end of one of these days, we went to Domino Records next to our bus stop. Both the XL12 and XLCD were on sale in that shop for 99p each. Rather than buy both, I bought the 12" and some chips. Many years later, I paid around £30 for the CD. Ok, at the age of 16, collecting was hardly at the forefront of my mind, but the chips instead of XLCDBONG18 decision remains one of my worst of all times, at least from an economic point of view.

Ultimately though, I have no Enjoy The Silence regrets. If I could only ever listen to one song for the rest of my life, it would be this one. I have experienced so many things in my life as a result of being a Depeche Mode fan, and none of that would have happened without hearing Enjoy The Silence for that first time in early 1990. It changed everything for me and I can't ever forget that.

It didn't do too badly for Depeche Mode either. As we'll see tomorrow, even the music press liked it.

Thanks to Thomas and Julien for fact checking.

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