On 11th July 1983, Depeche Mode changed. The new, beefier sound evident on Leave In Silence and Get The Balance Right proved to be a hint as to where the band's future lay but it was with this release that Depeche Mode became the band we know and love today.
This was a new Depeche Mode. A Depeche Mode who had added Gareth Jones to their team, a Depeche Mode who had grown up and a Depeche Mode who had discovered Berlin, metal bashing and the joys of sampling.
This is Everything Counts.
NO TURNING BACK - EVERYTHING COUNTS
Everything Counts was the first fruit of the band's work at John Foxx's studio The Garden with Daniel Miller and Tonmeister Gareth Jones, The Depeche Mode Information Service announced the single's release in its June 1983 newsletter:
As you can see it didn't have a name at that point. You wonder if the band had recorded it with a chorus going "The grabbing hands/Grab all they can/........../In large amounts" before stumbling on the missing, crucial words. Everything Mounts just wouldn't have been the same would it?
BONG3 bounced into the world and restored Depeche Mode to the Top 10 and rightly so. It's very difficult to say anything new about this song really. It is simply a classic Depeche Mode song where Martin's innate pop genius mixes perfectly with his desire for sonic experimentation. Add to that a superb production team and Alan's studio skills and you have a Depeche Mode song that has easily stood the test of time. As with the rest of its parent album Construction Time Again there were very few, if any, other bands in the pop mainstream being this experimental at the time. While no-one would say Depeche Mode had gone full Einsturzende Neubauten, they had taken a bold, experimental step and deserve much credit for that. Turning that experimentation into a Top 10 pop hit was a stunning achievement.
The song received generally positive reviews. Deborah Steels in Smash Hits said that the single was "a nugget," adding "While most synthesiser bands are beginning to sound tedious, DM manage to retain a freshness and subtlety that makes them so continually appeaing." Mark Cooper in No.1 Magazine liked it too, calling it "compelling" and the band's "strongest melody in a long while." Gary Bushell on the other hand, a man whose opinions should always be instantly disregarded, said in Sounds "whether the members of Depeche Mode are actually dead or alive is a question that has baffled the medical profession for years." How thrillingly controversial.
Everything Counts started its chart life at number 41 before leaping to 26 and then number 16. Along with the band's new sound, the public were introduced to Dave's blonde hair, Alan's xylophone, Fletch's shawm and reintroduced to Martin's nipples. These things helped boost the song, taking it to number 10 and then a See You equalling number 6. From there, it went to 7, 14, 22, 28, 46 and finally 71 before the grabbing hands lost grip and it fell from the charts forever.
Oddly, the song has never been played live by the ban...wait....checks notes...ah. The song has in fact been played live 750 times by Depeche Mode, starting on the 7th of September 1983 at The Regal in Hitchin, England and last seeing an outing in its glorious Global Spirit Tour form at the Waldbuhne on that boiling hot night on 25 July 2018. You all know its various live versions by now from the shiver inducing Rose Bowl one to the powerful Devotional one and to the oddly unsatisfying World Violation version. It is a highlight whenever it's played and seeing it in the rain at the Olympic Stadium in London in June 2017 was one of the greatest musical experiences of my life. God bless this track.
The B-side is an intriguing noise called Work Hard. Clearly over brimming with Construction Time Again enthusiasm, the band sampled every single piece of metal in London and Alan and Martin used that to once again co-wrote a B-side that very much overplayed the construction imagery. It's worth noting as well that the verse "Nothing comes easy/it never will/Nothing comes easy/But a broken will" is simply dreadful. It's a decent enough track for a B-side and it has never been played live.
It never will.
The band are on record as saying that this was the first video they were ever happy with and, bearing in mind the horrors of the previous videos, this Clive Richardson directed video can certainly said to be something that you can watch without cringing too much. That is very much a win in context of the early Depeche video days.
We start with various Berlin shots before Fletch and Alan appear, shawm and xylophone in hand respectively in a "look these are actually REAL instruments" move that fools no-one before Dave arrives superimposed over Berlin street shots doing a quite dreadful dance. This carries on until the chorus before the Basildon Boyzone, Martin, Alan and Andy, pop up in height order singing along with Dave dancing in again frantically grooving past a Berlin branch of the Hofbrauhaus.
We get more Berlin shots accompanied by Dave's increasingly wayward moves before something odd happens for the second chorus. All of a sudden, the Basildon Boyzone are facing us, again in height order, but this time doing what could only be described as a dance routine. They somehow manage to move up and down while staying entirely still apart from Martin who moves his arms in a rhythmic yet obviously entirely unnatural to him way. It's quite something. Fletch and Alan are dressed like two accountants on a day off too while Martin is naturally in a black vest and black trousers, desperate to leave the video shoot to delve into Berlin's nightlife.
We then get ladders, a more animated Basildon Boyzone dance "routine", a bit more red hot xylophone and shawm action, Martin and his melodica and some unusual non Depeche Mode dancing. It's all a bit random now really. The whole band appear together for the first time, first at the beach then under the famous The Hand statue in Berlin the back at Wannsee again amidst footage of people enjoying the beach.
By this point, as you'd expect, Martin has his top off.
It ends then, leaving you happy that a watchable video has indeed been created. Thank you Clive.
The artwork for this single is magnificent. The 7" (BONG3) cover (above) hints at what was to come with Construction Time Again with a sketch heavily hinting at the forthcoming album sleeve. Note too the hand logo as you'll see that again and not only on the 7" label.
The back of the 7" lists the tracks and the label features the hand again. I really quite like the handwriting font they use. No idea why.
Here is the UK 12" 12BONG3. The cover is a sort of remixed version of the 7" cover and the hand appears again on both the sleeve and the label. The A-Side features Everything Counts (In Larger Amounts) which is (a) a staggeringly good remix that you should all love and (b) a staggeringly good remix title that you should also love. I don't mean to get all nostalgic, but these early Depeche Mode 12" remixes were outstanding. No DJ's getting involved to cheapen a song by removing it entirely other than the title sung endlessly over bland, generic beats. This was a band once again experimenting and setting the agenda when it came to 12" remixes. Sigh.
The rear of the 12" is another remix as it were of the 7" cover and, in music news, there is one track on the B-side and it's the East End Remix of Work Hard which is a remix of the song on the 7".
The August 1983 Depeche Mode Information Service newsletter promised a "Special Limited Edition" of Everything Counts and that's what we got on 1st August with this wonderful release. As with its Get The Balance Right counterpart, L12BONG3 was initially released in a numbered edition with a fancy leather style textured sleeve and gold writing. As you can see, the hand reappeared on the cover and the lovely label. The A-Side features the "Original 7 Inch Mix" of Everything Counts.
The B-side (above) features four more tracks from the Hammersmith Odeon show on 25th October 1982 - New Life, Boys Say Go!, Nothing To Fear and The Meaning Of Love. Including an instrumental track live was a bold move, and including it on a 12" bolder, but it's really nice.
The UK CD single reissue in 1991 brought together the tracks from the 7" and 12". And now, let's go to Germany.
Once again, we have a lovely red vinyl 7"
The coloured vinyl doesn't stop there with this marvellous clear vinyl version of 12BONG3
Clear vinyl is hard to photograph so let's have another go, this time with the B-side:
In digital news, the blue stripe CD featured the 12" tracks and the single version of Everything Counts:
The grabbing hands of collectors in Germany were filled with a numbered Intercord version of the L12, firstly on black vinyl which has both a front sleeve
and a back one:
There is also another coloured vinyl version, again on clear vinyl:
I'm not convinced that clear is a colour technically:
Finally in German news, we have a CD version of the L12 which features the original 7" mix and a curious beast called the Original 12" Mix. Before you run to Discogs however, please note that this is of course the In Larger Amounts version.
There are many other releases from all over the world and I don't have the time or collection to allow me to look at them all. One nice release is the French L12" version:
Unlike it's UK and German counterparts, it has two tracks on the A-side - the 7" and 12" mixes of Everything Counts.
The B-side features the same four live tracks as the other releases.
There are three different versions of the French CD of the L12". The one above comes in a numbered sleeve and features the same 6 tracks as the French L12. There is also a standard French CD featuring the same three tracs as the German blue stripe CD:
Finally, this US 12" promo is a majestic thing. Look at it and fall in love with it:
As ever, do check depmod.com to find out just how many versions of this single you still need to buy to complete your collection.
Everything Counts is simply a classic Depeche Mode song and the second track of theirs after Just Can't Get Enough to gain acclaim outwith the band's fanbase. At this point, people who may previously ignored Depeche Mode or dismissed them as lightweight started listening and Depeche Mode started to look like a serious proposition.
Goodbye overt pop, hello to a new, darker future, This is where things started getting very interesting indeed.