Thursday 28 January 2021



Ok, it's not exactly Closer by Nine Inch Nails, but you can see why people might have been offended by Blasphemous Rumours when they heard it. Even Fletch, a man who had remember recently consented to something as deviant as being whipped to be used as a sample, was "quite offended" when he first heard it.

To temper the possibility of this being their The Beatles Are Bigger Than Jesus moment, for the first time in their history, Depeche Mode released a double A-side, radically (erm...)remixing Somebody and adding it to the package. They would not release a double A side again until John The Revelator/Lilian. It is claimed that Fragile Tension was a double A side with some other song but there's no evidence to back that up.

How did it get on? What were the videos like. And why are the labels on the 7" and 12" beautiful yet illogical and frankly annoying? Let's find out shall we?


This brave new double A format was released on 29th October 1984. just as the band were wrapping up the UK leg of the Some Great Reward tour. There was a genuine concern that Blasphemous Rumours' God questioning lyrics might see the song banned, but the BBC weren't that bothered in the end.

Initial reviews of the single were enthusiastic enough. Neil Tennant in his pre Erasure* role as a Smash Hits reviewer said that Blasphemous Rumours was "a routine slab of gloom in which God is given a severe ticking off," which is sort of complimentary I think. Number 1 magazine went all pro Depeche Mode, saying "Depeche Mode are becoming a very important band indeed," adding that the single was "thought provoking stuff." Smash Hits meanwhile deemed Somebody "a bug lush ballad with tasteful sound effects."

*I know, I know.

The band appeared on Top Of The Pops on 4th November 1984 with the song having entered the charts at number 29. The public didn't let the sight of Alan hitting a concrete block with a hammer and Martin tirelessly (ho ho) playing a bicycle wheel put them off - the single flew up the charts the next week to number 16. Sadly however, that's where the fun ended as the single then dropped one place the following week before again dropping to 32, 54 and then refusing to be tied to any charts' strings by falling to 64 then disappearing forever.

The two songs on the double A side appear in different forms to their Some Great Reward versions. Obviously, neither track was suitable for a banging club mix - David Guetta's take on Blasphemous Rumours is a horrifying prospect for example -  but they felt they had to do something. Blasphemous Rumours is presented in a shorter form than on the album with the odd breathing noise section at the end removed among other things. Listening back to it just now, I'm reminded just how good a song this is. One thing I love is that, despite the gloomy lyrical concept, they just couldn't resist sticking a frankly huge pop chorus in. That's brilliant. It's worth remembering too that if we didn't have Blasphemous Rumours, we wouldn't have had a great moment in Depeche Mode history. I'll let this picture say it all:

Among the 247 times the band played Blasphemous Rumours live between 1984 and 1988, this one was surely the most memorable.

Somebody was also remixed with the band turning the album version into a nine and a half minute long sonic reinvention of the track that reminds you of Throbbing Gristle at their most industrial. Not really. It's got a bit more reverb and a few more noises and is a full 8 seconds shorter than the album mix. It's perfectly lovely of course as Somebody always is.  It is of course the first Depeche Mode single not to feature the vocals of Mr Gahan and he's taken a rest to let Martin sing it 354 times between 1984 and 2018. Interestingly, it was only played once on the Black Celebration tour and never on World Violation. 

The Videos

That's right - videos, not just video singular. First up, we have the Blasphemous Rumours video which the Depeche Mode Information Service Newsletter of November 1984 told us was filmed at the Birmingham Odeon on the Some Great Reward tour. Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group's legendary detective work has also found out that part of the footage was filmed at the gig at King George's Hall in Blackburn too.

The band appear on the Some Great Reward stage set and run their way through the song. Naturally, Martin has his top off and Alan is seen in full leather Mode in the man-in-leather-with-big-hair-playing-keyboards stance he maintained from this point to the end of Everything Counts at the Rosebowl. Dave is of course singing and Fletch is having a lovely time playing a classic Fletch one finger bass part. The band look serious throughout as this song is a serious one and they smash bits of metal and corrugated iron in serious manner. Less serious are the various literal interpretations of the samples, for example, the pan falling down some metal steps, the bicycle wheel and the frankly horrendous scissors that appear and snip the film at various places. Stop that.

There's not a great deal to say about it really. It's nice to see the live set up in slightly better resolution than on The World We Live In And Live In Hamburg (DVD please Mute if you're reading) and seeing Martin and Alan hit things on stage is never bad. It's basically the best video of their career to that point.

As with Blasphemous Rumours, the band went for a performance video for Somebody which was therefore good news for Dave and Andy as they got the day off. You do see them of course with the pair appearing on footage played over Martin singing at certain points. Somewhat inexplicably we also see Dave not really running down a hill at one point towards the end. It's hard to know what he's doing really - it looks like he's lost control of his legs. Anyway, over the heartbeat and gasping noises at the start we see the band outside in various locations meandering around. Martin is wearing a hat and, unusually, clothes on his top half. He and Alan are then revealed, Alan on the piano and Martin in a nifty leather dress accessorised as all dresses of the time were (?) with what looks like handcuffs. Martin had clearly got hot under the hat he was wearing at the start of the video as his hair looks like an explosion in a masrshmallow factory. It is peak mid-80's Martin Mad Hair and it's glorious. The Wilder Hair Scale also has a reading of "Dangerously High." 

And that's really it for the Somebody video too. It's fine, it does what it needs to and is short of comedy/terrifying moments. I guess that spacehoppers and milkmen would have really been a bad idea for this song.

The Formats

Normally I give you a quick run through of what's what with the single releases at this point but today we need to talk about a serious issue. Before I go on, I want you to answer this question:

When you think of the double A side single Blasphemous Rumours/Somebody which song do you think of first?

(Insert answers)

That's right - Blasphemous Rumours. It's obviously the true A side here as the front cover shows an image depicting the song (I think - more on that in a second) and the band played it on Top Of The Pops. Why then, does the label on the 7" (7BONG7 - above) have AA beside the song title? 

The B-side label (above) has A beside Somebody which would suggest to me that Somebody was thought of as the true A-side but that can't be right can it? The rear of the 7" is clearly the Somebody side as you can see from the track order in the top right and the imagery. It's the lyrics to the song so it has to be meant to have been the second track of the double A side and thus should have been AA. Right?

Now, these things are NOT important in real life and it may be that having realised I still have 38 of these blogs to go that I am having a nervous breakdown, but I'm sure I'm right here. Alternatively of course, as I have just realised, it could be that AA in music business speak for the lead track on a double A-side single in which case I've just wasted a lot of your time and I'm sorry. I'm not going to check as that will lead to me deleting all this blog and starting again. I'm sure someone will point it out.

Still, intriguing eh? The UK 7" above by the way features two tracks both of which I've mentioned and, misplacement of the letter A aside, the labels are beautiful.

As well as the band's first double A side, we also got the first ever e.p. I was obsessed with hunting this down when I first read about it in 1990 and I love it. It's not that rare of course, it's just a great release. 7BONG7E features the two 7" tracks (the A and AA issue is there again) plus two live tracks from the Liverpool Empire Theatre gig on 29 September 1984

On the Blasphemous Rumours and thus THE ACTUAL A-SIDE there is a riotous version of Told You So and a tremendous Everything Count accompanies Somebody on the flip, other, alternative and very much B-Side.

12BONG7 is on my side. The A-Side features one track and that is the album version of Blasphemous Rumours. As you can see from the picture above, it says A on the label and the front cover is an extended version of the 7" cover. I rest my case.

The B-side features four live tracks from the Liverpool show. As well as the 2 from 7BONG7E, it features a live version of Somebody and a huge sounding and quite magnificent Ice Machine.

The 1991 CD features the same 4 songs as 7BONG7E.

It's a Depeche Mode single from the 1980's so that can only mean German coloured vinyl. We of course have a red 7" which is great but reignites all the AA/A arguments that I am the only person on earth having just now. 

That's the Somebody side above.

There are two colour vinyl versions to collect. Firstly, the rather ominous looking grey one.

It features the same tracks as 12BONG7.

There's a yellow vinyl version too which brings some sunshine to proceedings.

Again, it has the same songs on it as 12BONG7 and it's grumpy grey brother.

The blue stripe CD comes in a jewel box this time rather than the thin style of CD box and features the 12" tracks.

There are a number of French formats. My favourite is the thin card numbered sleeve version which features the 12" tracks. When I say favourite, I really mean "the only French format I actually own."

Finally in the European section, here is the Belgian CD release. It's lovely beacuse it's yellow.

To end, we venture to America and ask exactly what the fuck is that? A promo 12" for Blasphemous Rumours was released by Sire and it's baffling on many levels. Firstly, the tracklist. It features the single version of Blasphemous Rumours, the album mix of Something To Do and the single version of (Set Me Free) Remotivate Me. That's an odd bunch. Secondly, we have the cover. In these Covid ridden times, seeing someone breathe into someone else's face is enough to worry you. Presumably however, the person on the right is whispering rumours which may or may not be blasphemous into the ear of the person on the left who has an extremely long head. It's very, very odd and makes Anton's sleeve for Spirit look positively Michelangelo like by comparison.

With this single, phase 1 of Depeche Mode was over. The next album would be a phase 1 summing up compilation and it would feature two new tracks both of which would be released as singles. One is a poppy, fairly lightweight one which sounds like the last track phase 1 DM recorded. 

The other is a dark, masterful love song so epic and glorious that it was surely bound to capture the heart of everyone who heard it on its unstoppable run to the top of the charts. All it needed was a title that wouldn't put people off. Yes, write a darker, brooding love song, but don't give it a name that makes you sound like you are ill. 

Ah. You did do that Martin, 

We'll check in on the patient next time.

Tuesday 26 January 2021



Is there anything that says mid 1980's Depeche Mode more than Master And Servant? Chains, Berlin, leather, whips, drills and lyrics all about kinky sex. This was Depeche Mode as a 16 year old teenager, striking out on their own, thinking they were being all edgy, when all they were really doing was looking a bit silly but in a lovely way.

"Awww...look at wee Martin with his leather clothes. And doesn't Fletch look adorable swinging around on those chains?"

Don't get me wrong, Master And Servant is simply fantastic and it is rightly beloved by Depeche Mode fans of all ages. So let's all slip into something black, squeaky and unflattering, wrap ourselves up in a chain or two and read all about Master And Servant.


The Single

The Depeche Mode Information Service newsletter of July 1984 told the world that a new Depeche Mode single would be released on 20th August, the as then untitled Martin written track backed by another Martin song that was apparently "very boystown." Nope, me neither. The following month's newsletter confirmed what was going on, announcing the release of Master And Servant. 

The single was released before Some Great Reward and, like People Are People, it gave a clear indication of where the band were headed with its use of samples of items such as drills, air compressors and Andy Fletcher's arse. Yes, as Andy confirmed in a 2009 interview for a German magazine "I was once whipped. The result can be heard on Master And Servant. That was really strange."  Poor Fletch. That sort of thing wouldn't have happened if Martin had stayed in Basildon.

The song was subject to the usual mixed reviews. Dave Walters in Time Out stated "What do you expect from this bunch of lame dickheads, which was a tad harsh. Robert Hodgens of one hit blunders The Bluebells didn't like it either, telling Smash Hits readers "I'm afraid that, except for the lovely See You, Depeche Mode have consistently failed to evoke any melancholy in me"  and Paul Simper of No. 1 magazine simply said that the song saw "their simple formula reduced to drivel." Lovely stuff.

The British public of course paid no attention to this. Following the song's release on 20th August, it entered the charts at 24, leading to the above performance on Top Of The Pops on 30th August. This performance was the exact point Alan Wilder turned into that Alan Wilder. No longer the new boy, Alan stands there leathered up with sunglasses on, gargantuan hair and a chain round his neck that could only reasonably be used for pulling something the size of an elephant out of a hole. Like Martin he spends the whole 3 and a bit minutes hitting things and, let's all be quite honest here, he looks great. Martin is fully clothed oddly, this being the only day in the period 1983-1988 that he wasn't topless. He is sporting a jaunty leather beret however and the make up levels are rapidly increasing. Dave dances a lot and sports the single drumstick he was holding for the People Are People appearance we read about last time. Fletch has been promoted however, good behaviour seeing his drumstick and cymbal rations doubled from last time.

The song climbed the charts the following week, moving to 12 and then 11. It didn't stall there however as another Top Of The Pops appearance on 12th September when the band appeared as cover act Depechey Mode and played "The Master And The Servant" saw the song leap into the Top 10.

Honestly, how hard can it be to actually read the title out correctly? Anyway, that performance is worth watching for Martin's hugely unenthusiastic drumming. The next week climbed to number 9, giving the band yet another Top Ten hit, before it fell to 14, 24, 33, 50 and then somewhat appropriately 69, before leaving the charts

I don't need to tell you much about what Master And Servant actually sounds like as you all know that already. It's a deliberately loud and thumping track that the band somehow managed to take seven days to mix. It was a live favourite for many years, appearing 345 times on the Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, Music For The Masses and World Violation tours. Each different version is worth checking out on It disappeared post World Violation but made a surprise return on the Tour Of The Universe in 2009, appearing 25 times before being binned for much better songs like Hole To Feed. The 2009 version was rather flat and the new arrangement pretty poor. That said, I do wish it had stayed in the set as I would have loved to have seen it.

As we saw earlier, the B-Side of Master And Servant was a track that promised to be "very boystown." Now, I have no idea what that means but if (Set Me Free) Remotivate Me is a boystown track then fair enough. Alan was given a rest from B-Side duties and Martin came up with this pleasant enough poppy track. There's not a great deal more to say about it really. It's never been played live, but that's not a surprise is it?

The Video

OK. Where do we start with this one?  The first 8 seconds alone are truly terrifying. We thought and indeed hoped that we had seen the back of the Basildon Boyzone after Everything Counts but here they are once again and this time, they have a quite horrendous dance routine. Add to that the first of many shots of band members swinging about on chains and you are almost pining for Leave In Silence as at least that made you feel like you were on drugs. Just as you get over that and attempt to ignore Dave's grey suit, you are then bamboozled by the introduction of footage of women in kitchens loading dishwashers and so on. What? Oh wait...there's an old guy putting cement in a cement mixer. This must all mean something right? RIGHT? At this point we are only 17 seconds in. There's a man laying a paving slab. And some people in gardens. Hmmmmm.

At this point, confused yet still just holding it together, your eyes begging you to close them, you are greeted with something that no Depeche Mode fan should see. It feels like a month since the video started, but it's only been 23 seconds. It's at this point, we see this:

Dave's shoes, or to put it another way, sandals. With socks. What the hot buttered Christ is going on here? People still have a go at Martin about the way he dressed in the 80's but no-one brings this up. IN a career littered with clothing issues, this is the low point. Perhaps it's never mentioned because they are trying to ignore it or perhaps the shadowy forces of Big Sandal do all they can to put the focus on Martin - who knows? All I know is that if this series of Depeche Mode Singles blogs ends here, you all know that the murky forces behind the Master And Servant Sandalgate have got to me. 

Anyway....the video carries on and we see Dave singing, once again interposed over footage not of wars this time, but of Alan pulling Martin about on the floor by chains that have wrapped young Martin up at the wrists. Is this the chain Alan was wearing on Top of The Pops? Who knows and, more importantly, who cares? At 51 seconds, we see Alan and Martin on the floor, this time being dragged along by Fletch as they hold onto his ankles, mistaking him for Dave in a doomed attempt to get rid of the sandals. This video is genuinely dreadful.

There then follows a relatively normal 30 seconds or so of Dave jiving around and Martin and Fletch floating about on chains. Oddly, a woman appears in the video singing along as if she is in the band. I have no idea why. We then see quite a bit of footage of the anti nuclear campaign at Greenham Common in England as the first "It's a lot like life/and that's what's appealing" section is played in a move that boldly puts two things together that have no business being put together at all. The mood is lifted by Fletch appearing looking very serious as he drills into a wall for no obvious reason.

On we go, with things once again relatively normal. There's more stock footage, more Dave dancing, band members buggering about on chains and the occasional glimpse of the s****ls but nothing too terrifying. And then, 2 minutes 28 seconds in, it happens. The "It's a lot" section. Oh my word. How this got past quality control I will never know.  It's like a compilation of the worst parts of the preceding couple of minutes minus the footwear - chains, people rolling around, more Basildon Boyzone and more chains. Any attempt the song made to sound a bit underground is quickly and terminally undone. It then mercifully heads to a conclusion using all the tricks it has used before with the addition of some sterling drilling work by the boy Wilder.

As it ends, you close your laptop and stay silent for a while. There's a lot to take in there and a lot more to try to forget.

The Formats

BONG6 appeared on the then usual three formats. 7BONG6 has sleeve art that fits the theme as you can see above. The label is great too and that band name font one of their finest.

The boystown side is much more befitting of the poppy nature of the track that it features, with the emphasis on confetti and good times rather than chains and darker times.

12BONG7 features yet another solid gold masterpiece of an early Depeche remix. The Slavery Whip Mix may have a fairly useless name but it is a bloody marvellous thing. It's thundering beast of a remix that takes the song on a 9 and a half minute sonic adventure, twisting and turning it in several directions at once before ending on what can only be described as a pissed up singalong acapella version that is splendid in every way. 

The B-side (above) houses two tracks, We have the Release Mix of (Set Me Free) Remotivate Me which is quite excellent in places, and Master And Servant (Voxless) a slightly remixed, instrumental version of the song. Instant Depeche Mode karaoke.

You can pick up a white label of this track if you so wish. I got the one above a couple of years back with its handwritten label. I have played it and happily it is the 12" and not some random record.

The September Depeche Mode Information Service Newsletter announced that "Depeche Mode have released a Limited Edition Radical by Adrian Sherwood" and that "radical" remix appeared on L12BONG7 (above). Titled An ON-USound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic, the remix is more experimental than the previous On-Usound remix of People Are People but it is really rather enjoyable. 

The B-side features the seven inch version of (Set Me Free) Remotivate Me alongside a real Depeche Mode catalogue oddity. Are People People is another Adrian Sherwood remix that takes People Are People to a very strange place indeed. It occasionally sounds as if your record is damaged but has some interesting moments, The "dang dang dang zoom zoom zoom bop bop bop" sample is from the song When I Woke Up This Morning by The Citadels.

The 1991 CD single reissue took the tracks from the 7" and standard 12". Now to head to Germany.

Another lovely red vinyl 7" is our first exhibit.

It's as lovely on its A-Side as it is on its B-Side.

The 12" comes in the gorgeous marble coloured vinyl above. 

It features the same three tracks as the UK 12"

Not to be outdone with Radical Remix 12" singles, the Germans also put that out on marble viny too.

Again it features the same three tracks as the UK version.

It is of course available in boring black vinyl too.

The blue stripe CD takes the 12" tracks and adds the 7" version of Master And Servant.

The French CD single does the same. There's also a French version of the 12" and L12.

While we're on France, a random 12" promo from 1995 is available. It is for an album called Les Annees New Wave and it features Master And Servant. It seems odd to have it on a bus, but it's at least not a bus that's covered in a lie about NHS funding to fool people into voting for Brexit. 

The US had their own 12" which features the US Black & Blue Version on its A-side. It's a decent enough remix but lacks the punch of the Slavery Whip Mix.

The B-side features the US 12" Mix of (Set Me Free) Remotivate Me, again a decent enough thing, and Are People People?

Picture courtesy of

There is also a US promo 12" featuring the two tracks above. I have this but can't find the bastard thing, so I've borrowed from the wonderful

Another single, another top ten hit for Depeche Mode. The lyrics had caused an issue or two at the BBC but nothing that got the song banned. Curiously, this would be the last time Depeche Mode would visit the UK Top Ten until 1990. If only Dave had worn better shoes....

The BBC's failure to ban the song angered Martin so he was determined to once again wind them up with the band's next single. Thankfully, the lyrically explicit and frankly violently offensive Somebody was made a double A side with the much more palatable Blasphemous Rumours and we'll take a look at that next time.

Monday 25 January 2021



When mixing Construction Time Again there, Berlin made such an impression on Depeche Mode that they decided to record its follow up Some Great Reward in Hansa Studios. The band, Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones headed to Berlin and used Hansa's space to create a booming album that improved upon and crystalised the Industrial meets Pop sound of its predecessor.

The first song the world heard from the album was People Are People, a song that would not only give Depeche Mode their highest UK chart placing but one that woud also conquer Germany and hit a suprisingly high number in the US Billboard chart.

Let's get our heads, and fists, round People Are People.


The Single

People Are People (BONG 5) is arguably one of Depeche Mode's biggest ever singles, yet it's a song the band have ignored since the Rosebowl gig in June 1988. They seem to be embarrassed about it, no doubt due to its fairly simple lyrics, but who can't say that when People Are People starts on 101 they don't get a shiver down the spine in anticipation of the song blasting into life? We don't go to a Depeche Mode gig to analyse the lyrics (blogs are for that...), we go to jump around, sing and have fun. People Are People would have been a welcome addition to recent set lists.

The single was released on 12th March 1984 and it was the perfect taster for what lay ahead with Some Great Reward. Almost everything on the single was sampled and played via a Synclavier, including a sample of Martin doing the "ugh-ugh-ugh" noise that you are currently all singing - admit it, you are aren't you? This was the point where Depeche Mode started to leave the pop world behind although as the album demonstrated, they still knew their way around a poppy chorus. They had played with the notion of sampling on Construction Time Again and then Black Celebration saw them develop their glorious. dark, unique sound but Some Great Reward was where they distilled the best parts of both those albums. It was the point phase 1 of Depeche Mode handed over to phase 2.

Initial reviews of People Are People were, as we've all now come to expect, mixed.  Roy Hay from hilarious novelty band Culture Club, a band whose entire career contains not a single second of anything of any merit whatsoever, said in Record Mirror "I really laughed the first time it came on." Only seven months after People Are People, Culture Club released The War Song. Mr Hay clearly has no grasp of irony. Smash Hits were much more positive saying the song was "Easily their best yet and this harder direction is bound to spawn bags of imitators."  

The single entered the UK charts at number 29 on 24th March and the above performance on 22nd March marked that event. There are a few things to note from the performance. Unusually, Martin has a top on but it's only a vest and the addition of leather trousers and braces both at least two sizes to big for him help regain some valuable Martin points. He is also alternatively banging bits of metal and an odd drum with a hammer. Alan has started to develop the tall hairdo beloved of peak era Wilderphiles and he is hitting a bit of corrugated iron that, for some reason, says PUS on it. He at least has a synthesizer though. Dave and Andy clearly couldn't be trusted with bits of metal or iron though - they just have a drumstick and cymbal each.

The UK pop pickers clearly loved this performance and the following week, People Are People zoomed into the Top 10, landing at 9. It went up again the following week to number 5 - the band's highest ever UK chart position. But wait! The next week, it went up again, this time to number 4. Depeche Mode had once again taken to the Top Ten but sadly number 4 was as good as it got. Industrial action at the BBC meant that the band could not play the song on Top Of The Pops again and so sadly, the song's momentum stalled. Instead of climbing higher, possibly even to Number 1, the next week it went down to 6. The following week, it fell 9 before one more week in the Top 20 at number 20, finally leaving the charts punching and kicking and shouting via numbers 36, 50 and 74. 

This hugely impressive performance was bettered in Germany where the song was Number 1 for three weeks and, for the first time, America fell for Depeche Mode's charms with the song reaching a remarkable number 13. They had a genuine worldwide hit on their hands.

As I mentioned earlier, the song has been ignored by the band in live sets for 30 years now. It has featured 226 times however and it would be great to hear it again.

As with Love In Itself, the B-Side to People Are People was another Alan Wilder composition In Your Memory. Originally announced by the Depeche Mode Information Service in its March 1983 newsletter as Place It In Your Memory, the song is, like Fools, another great Alan penned track. It's a catchy, clanging track full of the bleeps and bashes of this era's Depeche Mode but it's one that's never seen the light of day live

The Video

The video is not bad while never quite managing to be that good. The live action scenes of the band hitting things, sliding down other things, turning handles, pulling levers and pushing stuff are mixed with actual singing scenes, all of which were filmed on HMS Belfast which is a ship that you can visit if anyone is ever allowed to travel to London again, 

Luckily, the boat isn't in active service anymore. If it was, then Dave dancing rather than steering the thing 57 seconds in could have led to something awful happening. Amidst the Depeche Mode Attempt To Steal A Royal Navy Boat And Do It Badly scenes, there is lots of stock footage of soldiers, weapons, war and so on because, let's be honest, can any of us really understand what makes a man hate another man? It's deep stuff. Dave's Everything Counts trick of dancing while being interposed over the video makes a return for the second verse and Martin likes it so much that he joins in for his solo lines.

And that's how it carries on really. More boat, more bewildering stock footage and more shots of Martin and Dave singing. Not much happens really.

The Formats

7BONG5 features the A-Side and B-Side we've covered above. A fun fact however is that the cover (above) features a famous hand. One of the two hands above belongs to English actor Hugh Grant in what is surely one of his most convincing performances. As far as I know, and if I am wrong I have no doubt you'll tell me, this is the only Hollywood star to feature on the front of a Depeche Mode records.

The rear of the single contains information but no A-list celebrities. In needless interest in things news, I again love the font and the labels. Very, very nice.

The 12" single, 12BONG5, is a wonderful thing for many reasons but one key one - the track on the A-A-side, People Are People (Different Mix). The literal title aside, this is a stunning remix. The first minute or so sounds like the noise you would get if you turned on a switch that activated a factory and from there it thuds majestically, all 7 plus minutes a joyous reinterpretation of the song. It is fantastic. God, I really wish Depeche Mode still did their own remixes.

The B-Side features the Slik Mix of In Your Memory, so called because Alan's nickname at the time was Slik in honour of his increasingly tall and slicked back hairdo. I don't know whether this really cool remix is also called that because the band left Alan to it in the studio. Depeche Mode leaving Alan alone in a studio to do all the work? Well, if it happened then, it would certainly never happen again....

The March 1984 Depeche Mode Information Service newsletter said "There will NOT be a limited edition 12" " of People Are People but quickly contradicted itself the following month, announcing that there would be a limited edition 12" featuring "A Special Club Mix by Adrian Sherwood," adding, somewhat mysteriously, that it was "recorded purely for clubs." If you try to listen to it in your home, your speakers explode and the police arrest you. L12BONG5 is a numbered release in a glossy sleeve and it's a lovely thing from its cover all the way to its labels. The A-Side, the ON-Usound Remix is great and clangs along pleasingly in the same way the Different Mix does.

The B-Side features the single versions of People Are People and In Your Memory.

Once again, the song appeared on CD in the UK in 1991 with the tracks from the 7" and 12" present.

Once again, Intercord broke out the coloured vinyl box and once again the 7" was released with its erstauflage in rotem vinyl which I am assured means "first edition in red vinyl."

The single features the same two tracks as the UK 7".

The coloured vinyl 12" is a STUNNER. Look at that - magical, marbled vinyl. 

The B-side above is equally gorgeous. The record features the same tracks as boring black vinyl 12BONG5.

Hang on. The German L12 equivalent is MORE STUNNING! Look at that beauty! Quite superb and limited edition too. You can't quite see in that picture, but in the bottom right it sais "Limited Edition No." and a number. Mine? It's number 46,975. Highly limited stuff.

I discovered that I had one of the three variations of the German black vinyl L12 when I was digging out records for these photographs. There it is above.

The German blue stripe CD single is a three track affair, featuring the two standard 12" tracks and the single version of People Are People.

The French CD single features the same tracks. France and Spain also released versions of the L12, the French one saying "Limited Edition" on the front and the Spanish one "Edicion Limitada" which is pleasing if you like that sort of thing. I seem ot have created a rule for these posts where I only post pictures of things I have, so to see that sleeve, head to

Away from Europe, there was a Japanese 7" which is nice thing. It uses the picture that would form the cover of the North American album People Are People. For those who don't know, and to be honest why would normal people know this, the sleeve is a shiny piece of paper and the record is housed in the blue inner sleeve above. The shiny paper sits on top of that.

People Are People's lyrics feature on the reverse of the shiny paper thing.

Finally, the US 12" features three tracks, namely the Different Mix, the On-Usound Remix and a track called In Your Memory (Slik Mix Edit) on the sleeve. It is in fact the single mix of In Your Memory, but I guess that is actually an edit of the Slik Mix so fair's fair.

People Are People was Depeche Mode's first big global breakthrough single and it really is a fine track. It started off a new level of fame for the band, one that would grow and grow over the next few years. Suddenly, Depeche Mode weren't just a synth band from the UK. They were a band with a German number 1 and a Billboard Top 20 smash hit.

They seemed unstoppable. All they had to do now was avoid controversy and not release a song about bondage sex or one criticising God and a UK number one would surely be theirs. 

They wouldn't do that would they?