Friday 26 March 2021



On 13th February, Depeche Mode released their first ever live single. Everything Counts was chosen as the best track to promote the forthcoming live release and that was a very good decision indeed.

This release saw Depeche Mode release not one but two new formats and easily their most bizarre official release ever. Until Hole To Feed that is.

Let's then grab all we can of Everything Counts (Live).


The Single

In BONG4, the Depeche Mode fanclub magazine, the new single and album were announced. It was confirmed that Everything Counts would be released as a live version in "mid January" on 7", 7" collectors pack, 12", remix 12", a 10" 2 track single, 3" filofax CD and 3" remix filofax CD. We'll arrive at Format Corner soon enough so let's leave an analysis of that for now other than to pause and wonder what was envisaged with the 7" Collectors Pack? We'll never know. 

The single, BONG16,  was in fact released on 13th February 1989. Smash Hits liked it:

A "perfectly agreeable tune" indeed. I presume other music magazines reviewed the single but I can find no trace of those. Smash Hits helpfully provided the lyrcis too:

That photo has always amused me with Martin stoically refusing to act the clown unlike the other three. You just can't picture Martin doing what they're doing can you? The lyrics are helpful as they allow you to sing along with all Dave's ad-libs and, as this was the first Depeche Mode song that attracted my attention, I remember doing just that with my copy of Smash Hits to hand, although does Dave actually say "Oh you're marvellous" at the end? Also - did I really just ask that question? Finally, 20 of those t-shirts were given away. Given what you need to pay for them these days, the competition winners were very lucky indeed.

The single didn't do that well in Britain but we've come to expect that by now. Despite the numerous formats, It entered the charts at number 34 and then climbed to 23, edged up to 22, then dropped to 24. From there it tumbled to 38, 38 and finally 74 before departing the chart graph (on the wall).

There was no Top Of The Pops appearance other than a showing of the video and that's no doubt because it would be daft to turn up and mime to a live track. Who would actually do that? Well, Depeche Mode would.

This is comedy gold. On 25th February 1989, Depeche Mode appeared at the annual San Remo music festival and mimed their way through a live track in front of an audience who aren't the audience you can hear singing along at the end. Dave starts enthusiastically enough but when he attempts to start a crowd arm waving session at the first chorus, he clearly realises what is going on and quickly stops. He does his best though, miming along to his ad-libs missing a few here and there and even mimes to a couple of lines that he doesn't actually sing. What a remarkably odd but hugely enjoyable thing. You can see them turning into Violator era Depeche too with Dave developing his full 1990 look. The leatherometer has recorded a band wide leather percentage of 75.4% too with points deducted from Alan for wearing normal trousers. Sort it out Alan.

The live version of Everything Counts is of course an absolute joy and, for me, this is the definitive version of the track. The Devotional era version was nice and rowdy and the Global Spirit version had that superb intro (as well as those horrendous tom tom fills - arghhhhhhhhh) but this version is the one for me. The single edit is nice of course but it's the full album version that is the star. The B-Side is the 101 version of Nothing which is a decent version of the song. I'm not a particular fan of the album version, but the live version is enjoyable, especially with the metal pad bashing. 

The Video

Curiously, the video starts at the end of the Rose Bowl show. We see the stadium facade and then the crowd as Dave says goodnight. Even now, the size of that crowd is striking - only 6 years after the See You/chicken incident, Depeche Mode were playing a stadium show. 

We switch from that to a caravan of very happy looking money men and Jonathan Kessler famously says "We're getting a load of money...a lot of money...a load of money...tons of money" no doubt dreaming of all the reissues and box sets he saw far off in the future. Dave is equally happy. As the song starts, he star jumps with excitement.

We then embark on a preview of 101 with various elements of the film peppered throughout the live version of Everything Counts. The stage set is fantastic, all grey and stark, and it's nice to see Martin getting back to not wearing any clothes, or least very few and just the odd bondage chain here or there. Before the first verse starts, we see someone counting bundles of dollars. This shot was actually inserted in the video earlier this year as it shows the takings from the sale of just one copy of the limited edition version of Anton's book.

We get a lot of the live version early on which is good amid snippets of the band collecting gold discs and Dave enjoying a spot of tea. As this is a Depeche Mode video, a visual metaphor is never too far away and as the Basildon Boyzone start their chorus, we see lots of hands literally grabbing t-shirts. Do. You. See. What. They. Did. There.

Some hot dressing room action follows where we see the band milling around and Martin in a pair of his "are you really going out in those?" shorts while Andy Franks goons around and Fletch waves his hips around for some reason. Darryl, Dave and Martin are seen in their Beatles moment from the film before we return to stage for a moment of peak Wilder. As he sings "the graph" you note that, despite standing under stage lights for two hours wearing a leather jacket a presumably leather everything else, he hasn't got a hair out of place. There is of course the famous "keyboard players don't sweat" line from the film, but Martin says that and he's usually basically nude so no wonder. Wilder sweats for no man,

The continuity issues are fairly obvious during the second verse. Either it's filmed from a selection of gigs or Fletch is able to change his clothes at lightning speed and Martin somehow has a hairdresser hidden under his keyboard who applies the fastest acting hair dye known to man. It is of course, footage taken from several shows. If they'd wanted to avoid continuity issues, the should just have filmed Alan - as far as I can tell he put on one set of clothes on the first gig of the tour and didn't get out of them again until the end of the Rose Bowl show.

There are more dressing room shots and then a crowd shot. As you see it, you think "Why on earth would anyone make an admittedly good drawing of Depeche Mode on a huge piece of card and take it to a concert?" How did they even get it in? What if it had rained? What is actually going on there? It's bad enough when people wear rucksacks or hats at gigs. Imagine standing behind someone holding up a huge drawing of the band you were attempting to see?

We hurtle towards the final choruses of the song, Alan still without a hair out of place, Martin ready to play his melodica and Fletch a slicked back but sweaty man. Keyboard players do sweat you see, especially if they wander around clapping and moving their mic stand. This and thinking of 101 generally reminds me of just how much of a hero Fletch is. God bless you Andy.

The crowd appear, all dressed in that strange and really rather stripey way the American "kids" did then and we get a glimpse of the Nashville guitar shop scene from 101. Dave, who by now seems to have put his jacket on and gone back to the start of the gig (I know, I know), demands we all sing along and that's what happens. Dave's face as the crowd sing along is wonderful and the wide angle shot of the stadium breath-taking. The band make for their plane, Dave falls asleep and Alan, still wearing his one set of clothes, uses his hand to ask us to leave him alone.

Thank you, we'll see you next time. 

The Formats

I will say this now and try not to repeat it several times in this section - the artwork on these formats and the labels are all wonderful. Take that as read from now on. BONG16 features the two live tracks I mentioned earlier. The A-Side and front artwork is above. The three girls on the front attempted to sue Depeche Mode because their image was used without their permission. I don't think they succeeded.

There's the back and the B-side. I don't know if the colour black's legal team got in touch with the band about the use of its image on the back there. On the topic of 7" singles, there is a UK 7" promo, BONG16R. It looks just the same as the 7" but has the Radio Edit of Everything Counts (Live) on the A-side and the full version on the B-side. Unless a copy has a Ferret & Spanner or similar sticker on it, the only way to tell that you have the promo is by looking at the labels in the record. I don't have this promo and if you're one of the people who I contact on EBay asking for a photo of the labels of the record you are trying to sell, I'm sorry for being an oddball.

The cover of 12BONG16 features the same three litigation hungry girls. There are two tracks on each side of the record, with the Single Version of Everything Counts (the version from the video) keeping Nothing company on Side A.

The rear sleeve is a work of genius. Those four Anton taken photos are outstanding and quite beautiful. Sacred and A Question Of Lust, both from the Rose Bowl of course, feature here. Those two tracks and Nothing were left off the original vinyl release of 101.

L12BONG16 gave us three new remixes. On the A-Side there is the rather nice Tim Simenon/Mark Saunders remix of Everything Counts which is also known as the Bomb The Bass Mix.

On the B-Side, we get the Justin Strauss remix of Nothing which also goes by the name of the Zip Hop Mix. A dreadful alternative name and an equally dreadful remix. The Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders remix of Strangelove (a.k.a the Highjack Mix) is much better.

There were two promo 12" singles. P12BONG16 features the Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders Remix of Everythinhg Counts and the Alan Moulder remix of the same track which featured on a format we've not yet come to.

PP12BONG16 (promo promo?) features the Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders remix of Strangelove which is called the Hijack Mix on the label and the Remix Edit (a.k.a US 7" Remix) of Nothing.

Here's a first. The single was released on a neew format for Depeche Mode - a 10" single. 10BONG16 is a limited edition numbered affair which comes in a lovely all black sleeve.

It's a precariously put together envelope package. You need to be very careful when opening the back of it as the bit of cardboard that hooks into the sleeve is a bit thin.

There are gifts inside too - two postcards and a window sticker. It is still possible to find a complete set if you are looking for one. Do check that everything is present however. There is of course a record too. On the A-Side there is a new remix called the Absolut Remix and it is a cracker.

The B-Side sort of contains three tracks. Fiestly, the classic In Larger Amounts remix of Everything Counts and thirdly, the Reprise version of the track which is that lovely final track on Construction Time Again. Sandwiched in between the two is the grim U.S. 7" Mix  of Nothing which is an insult to the track it attempts to remix. I'm listening to it as I type this. Good grief.

We had seen 3" CD singles for American and German releases before but this was the first time the format had been used in the UK. CDBONG16 should come with a black 5" adapter (mine doesn't) and it contains the same four tracks as 12BONG16.

LCDBONG16 comes in the oddest format Depeche Mode have released anything in, including the entirely pointless cube the entirely pointless MODE came in. In what will come as a surprise to nobody, I've written a full blog about this format already so head to this link - A Filofax? - and read a longer version of this paragraph there. 

People who used filofaxes were busy and important so they needed to be able to carry both 3" CD formats of a single in one place rather than drag another thing jewel box around with them. 

"Nigel - why are you late for this important meeting of people who make obscene amounts of money thanks to Margaret Thatcher's government deregulating everything to the benefit of only a tiny proportion of the country?"

"Well Rupert, I would have been on time but I couldn't fit CDBONG16 into my briefcase"

"For God's sake Nigel, buy LCDBONG16. That was you can put it in your filofax along with the name of your cocaine dealer and the man who sells you red braces. It allows you to carry BOTH formats at the one time. Honestly Nigel, you are a shambles."

Or something like that anyway. As mad as this format is, it is rather nice, though the slots to fit the CD singles into are essentially the same size as the CD itself so getting LCDBONG16 out is tricky.

It can be done though. It features the same three tracks as L12BONG16.

This single got a 1992 reissue too and it features the seven tracks from both the 12/L12 and CD/LCD releases. Don't try and stick it in your filofax however.

The 2004 boxset reissue takes those seven tracks and adds the tracks from 10BONG16.

There is a German 3" CD single that is the same as CDBONG16

There is also a 1992 reissue. The single appeared on 7" and 12" in Germany but there was no 10" of Filofax pack. 

The US 12" is a 6 track affair, taking the 4 live tracks from 12BONG16 and adding the Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders and Absolut remixes of Everything Counts.

Finally, the US promo CD contains the Radio Edit of Everything Counts and the same two additional remixes featured on the US 12". I took the photo like that because if I did it in the normal way you could see me in it and no-one wants that.

101 would soon follow and many late in the day newcomers like me would suddenly discover just how good Depeche Mode were. 

Come the end of the Music For The Massses tour then, the band had reached new heights. What would come next? Could they follow that?

Of course they could. If you think my posts in this series so far have been of the drooling fan boy variety, next time we start on the Violator singles. 

Tuesday 23 March 2021


The official website says this single was released in the UK, Alan Wilder says it was released in France only, yet there are UK versions, German versions, Belgian versions, Spanish, Italian and Dutch versions. Does anyone actually know where it was released?

Was it even released at all? Does it exist? Well, yes it does of course and there are a few formats to look at. There is also a video too remarkably. 

Here then is a briefer than usual blog looking at the single that possibly never was or maybe is in fact Little 15.

The Single

Martin told BONG37 that the band's French label thought the single was a great one for the French market and, despite the band saying that Little 15 was in no way a single, it was released on 16 May 1988. Almost predictably (ho ho), it was a flop in France.

Due to the hardcore Depeche Mode fanbase at home, no doubt enraged that Depeche product was being made available in some European countries, the single actually charted in the UK. It entered the UK charts at number 61 and zoomed up the charts the following week to number 60, before disappearing.

There is much that is odd about this. Firstly, it came out just as the Music For The Masses tour was winding up in America. As we saw with Strangelove, the end of the tour didn't stop Sire re-releasing that single in 1988 after the tour ended as they wanted to grab a music award. There doesn't seem to have been any similar aim on the part of the French record company however - they just seemed to think it would be a hit. 

In France, the single got what one might call the normal catalogue number, in this case 90420 on the Virgin 7". The copies that you could buy in Britain however had a unique catalogue number - LITTLE15. Instead of a BONG number then, we had 7LITTLE15 and 12LITTLE15. That does tend to suggest that it was released in Britain albeit in a catalogue confusing way.  All very odd.

The band seem convinced that it was not released in Britain but the official site and the unique British catalogue number say otherwise. The 12" of course appears in the Music For The Masses 12" boxset but as those boxsets have thus far failed to reproduce some 12" singles that were officially very much released in Britain, the appearance on Little 15 in the 12" boxset doesn't tell us much. It also appears on the The Singles 86>98 where it is tacked on at the end after Only When I Lose Myself, perhaps indicating that it wasn't released in Britain.

BUT, when you look at the tracklist of that compilation, you see that Everything Counts (Live) is then added after Little 15 despite the fact that it was released in the UK. What on earth is going on?

Now, you may already think that I've spent too much time on this and lord knows I do too, but I have spent a few days wondering whether or not to even include Little 15 in this increasingly time consuming blog series and I concluded that I should. All the evidence would suggest that it was officially released in Britain and that it was done so by accident. Perhaps the band were desperate to get the wonderful B-side Stjarna out to a wider world and they only way they could do that was by releasing this single? Does anyone actually know the answer? The two tracks on the single have been basically ignored since the thing came out. Little 15 has been played live on three occasions, all acoustically by Martin on the World Violation tour at the gigs at Radio City Music Hall gig on 18th June 1990, San Diego Sports Arena on 31st July 1990 and finally, and French record company pleasingly at Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy in Paris on 23rd October 1990.

It's a lovely song of course and really quite different to the rest of Music For The Masses, feeling a bit more Black Celebration like than anything else. An odd single then and a baffling release. Not as baffling as the decision to actually officially release Hole To Feed of course, but there is little more baffling than that in the band's career.

The Video

The video was filmed at Trellick Tower in London near where Fletch was living at the time and filming took place between the European and Japanese legs of the Music For The Masses tour. It was directed by Martyn Atkins.

The budget for this one clearly wasn't huge. We open on Alan in full Wilder Mode winding up an alarm clock. I don't mean that he's taunting it, calling its alarm stupid or anything, he's just standing there, winding the hands round. A coffee gets stirred, a 14 gets pulled off a calendar revealing a 15 (do you see what they did there?) and then Dave appears, leather clad and singing along.

We are then taken down some grim looking stairs before being bundled into a grim looking, filthy car just in time for the "and if you could drive" line - again clever stuff. In the video for A Question Of Time there was another odd kidnap type thing but that was only the open roads of America with Alan enjoying the sunshine on the porch of a large house. Here, it's someone bundled into a grim car on a grey day in a grey part of London. I blame Margaret Thatcher.

We return to the stairwell, see someone showing us their watch and are then trapped in a lift before we finally break free. We are on the streets of London and watch as groups of seemingly miserable people walk past us looking miserable. Lordy, this is no Leave In Silence.

It gets confusing from here really. We see the long haired boy who was running down the stairs kicking a pillar in a car park, so he seems to have got away from the kidnapper. A coffee cup appears again, this time empty, so perhaps he's perked himself up. All of a sudden though, we are back in the lift before Dave finally, mercifully appears and starts singing again.

Alan returns, clock in hand (stop that) as the grim car once again drives away though. Fear not however, as one of our best agents is on the case. Fletch makes his first appearance and he's keeping an eye on the kidnapper, staring at him through binoculars. I presume this made sense when they were planning the video. Alan, annoyed at not having binoculars to look through, gets his clock out again (I warned you) and starts winding the hands around. 

More London street scenes lead us to the middle instrumental section and we see Martin for the first time, lying on the floor, playing a mini piano. Halfway through his piano section, he looks up at the camera, quite clearly seeking praise for his great piano work. Before we can give him that however, Alan's clock takes over (...unbelievable) and Martin looks away and continues tinkling.

We thunder towards the last verse literally behind the wheel of the grim car which turns out to be a more sinister than you imagined it would be Land Rover. It approaches the long haired boy. A woman gets out and the two of them wander off. Fletch is still tracking them though through the binoculars that remain pressed to his eyes. Martin returns, this time behind Dave as the two of them sing along together while we see the 15 torn from the calendar fall to the ground in front of a creepy man, before the Land Rover drives over the calendar page and heads off. The luckless piece of paper then gets kicked down a drain and ends up in a sewer. Poor thing.

Just when you think our man with the binoculars will save the day and sort all this out, Fletch removes them and somehow makes a complete arse of telling the time as his watch comes loose and, instead of keeping an eye on the bad people or just even checking the time, he starts laughing.

Oh, Fletch.

The Formats

Did I mention that there is confusion about this single?  Here is the not officially/actually released (delete as applicable) UK 7" single, 7LITTLE15. Our luckless calendar friend appears on the front and, as you'll see, the label is rather lovely. The single cover is a blueish sort of colour.

The rear sleeve gives a nod to the Bong Megaphone, revealing it to also be part of the calendar conspiracy. The label is less attractive tham the A-side and the track that appears here is of course Stjarna.

For a single that was only possibly released, the existence of a second format, 12LITTLE15, would appear to indicate that it was at least intended for semi-official release if nothing else. The green cover sees the calendar page attacking the Bong Megaphone and, if nothing else, it's nice to see it start taking the fight to someone rather than just getting kicked around. The label is lovely again. There is only one track and that's Little 15. 

The B-side features two tracks - Stjarna and yet another B-side cover version, Sonata No.14 in C#m (Moonight Sonata), a Beethoven piece played by Flet....Alan. Apparently, Martin secretly recorded Alan playing this and as they'd clearly used up all the spare Music For The Masses material, it appeared on the 12".

The 1991 CD Single boxset brought all three tracks together in one digital place.

In Germany, as well the 7" and 12" there were not one but two CD singles. The blue stripe CD features all three tracks from 12LITTLE15.

There is also a lovely 3" CD that features the two 7LITTLE15 tracks and uses the same cover.

As this whole was it or wasn't it a single business started because of the French record company, it's only fair to see one of their formats. Here is the 12".

It features the same three tracks as 12LITTLE15. The single is also available on 7"and CD from France. 

It's hard to draw any conclusion from this release really. It's never been clear what was intended by it other than a French smash hit and that certainly didn't work. The band and label obviously took it seriously enough but it will forever be viewed as an odd relative in the Depeche Mode family, one you see occasionally but can never remember how they're related to you in the first place.

When the single came out, Depeche Mode were busy playing shows in America including a little known one in Pasadena. Apparently it was recorded and a single featuring one of the tracks from that hugely unimportant gig was released as the band's next single. 

If I can find out any more, I'll cover that next time.

Thursday 18 March 2021



On 28th December 1987, Depeche Mode gave their fans a last Christmas present ahead of the UK leg of the Music For The Masses tour. Behind The Wheel was released in remarkably unsatisfactory remixed form featuring a new B-Side that fitted the vehicular theme of the single perfectly.

Some nice artwork, a couple of fancy formats and an insanely rare 7" promo would surely see this song return Depeche Mode to chart success in their homeland, especially in the low sales post Christmas period wouldn't it?

Of course not. Here is the story of Behind The Wheel.


The Single

The new Depeche Mode single, BONG15, didn't attract too much attention from the music press who were more concerned with their usual end of year best of lists and reviews. Smash Hits didn't let the single go ignored however, with Sue Doyle saying this in the 30th December edition:

"Not unnaturally since this is, after all, Depeche Mode, several odd noises immediately come into play here, not least the sound of a car hub cab falling off to begin proceedings. A door opens and closes and then - zwoom! - we're off at fairly moderate speed, Dave Gahan in the passenger seat and some weird girlie (not only weird but no doubt a bit of a perv on the quiet since Martin Gore wrote the thing) driving. And that's all that happens. Dave's "voice" travels no more than three notes up or down the scale, and the bumping one finger synthesizer beat surrounding the "jaunt" fares not much better. A bit weedy on the whole, and not much cop."

In other words, Sue didn't like it. The same edition featured a poster of the band. It actually broke the leatherometer so high is the leather percentage here:

You can almost hear the picture creak.

Bob Stanley, not yet then of St Etienne, reviewed the single in the NME in the January 2nd edition saying:

"Beind The Wheel is standard Mode fare, Dave Gahan's voice a virtual monotone while he drones on about rumpy pumpy on the back seat - the B-side's another game entirely. Route 66! This has been completely Mode-ified with twinkling keyboard noises, but there's still a chugging guitar line in there trying to break loose. Startling stuff."

Startling indeed, especially when he praises the music that is actually from the "standard Mode fare" on the A-Side.

Once again, Depeche Mode ignored Top Of The Pops and instead headed to ITV to play on The Roxy, appearing on the 5th of January 1988 show.

Interestingly, they used the DJBONG15 version here. That version is an edit of the Remix that was released and does nothing to improve it really. It is however a version of the track that is much sought after by collectors as we'll see. The Roxy performance is fine with Dave on particularly jolly form, grooving along to Martin and co's mimed performance. Dave must have been chilly however as he appears to be wearing at least three layers.  Fletch is hammering away at his synth as usual and Alan is just what you would expect a January 1988 version of Alan to be. It seems that he and Fletch are both playing the same synth line - Alan, stop copying Andy.  Finally, it's rather nice to see the video play behind the band on stage.

The single entered the UK charts at a poor 32 on 9th of January but rose the following week landing at number 21. That was the highpoint however as it then fell to 24, 47 and 75 before driving off into the sunset.

The single version of the song is a remix by Shep Pettibone. I've never quite understood this version really. The original version of Behind The Wheel is a dark, majestic and, to use Smash Hits language, perv track that is quite brilliant. It doesn't need fiddled about with in 7" form as the album version is spot in, This remix removes the layer of darkness that envelops the original version and makes it tinkly and, well, frankly a bit rubbish. The Remix version has been ignored entirely when it comes to live performances. The song has been played live 598 times by the band appearing 101 times on the Music For The Masses tour, 88 times on World Violation, 97 times on Devotional, 60 times on the Exotic tour, 11 times on the Singles tour, 124 times on Touring The Angel, 68 times on Tour Of The Universe and 49 times on the Delta Machine tour. 

The 101 version is of course legendary. The moment above where Dave looks at Martin as his eyes say "What the fuck have we done booking a stadium?" is marvellous. The Devotional version is wonderful too. Ok, the roaring guitar part may be very Dave 1993, but it's bloody marvellous

The B-Side is a cover version of course, the Martin sung Route 66. It's great and fits the whole car theme nicely. The remix by The Beatmasters is where the song first came to my attention in the section that it pops up on. Depeche have of course played the song live too, using it alongside Behind The Wheel to close off all the gigs on the World Violation tour in a section that was called the BONG15core. Actually it wasn't but it should have been. Dave of course took lead vocals on the live version for all of its 88 appearances.

The Video

It's 1987, it's Anton, it's therefore black and white, grainy and contains highly unsubtle sexual suggestions, 

We open with Dave looking said because his bubble car has in fact let him down (again) and he is forced to sell it for a few coins to a strange looking man on a tractor. Dave must really regret ever going to Denmark - he's had a rough time since he arrived there what with the trying to drown while wearing leather trousers business. Never fear though because Dave is soon on the move. Armed only with a pair of crutches and a map, he manages to escape his Danish hell and land in Italy, although quite how he managed that is beyond me.

We see him, map in hand on an Italian road wondering what his next move is when suddenly a moped driving by Italian model Ippolita Santarelli appears out of nowhere. This good news sees Dave regain the use of his legs and, in a hugely irresponsible move, throw his map and crutches to the ground. Honestly, English tourists abroad - they just don't care what mess they make. Dave hops onto Ippolita's moped and off we go with Dave the passenger and Ippolita Behind The Handlebars. 

Ever the romantic, Dave takes the chance to sing Behind The Wheel to this complete stranger using the "Now" at the end of verse one as a disguise for rather forwardly placing his hands around her waist. They motor on and are spotted by a priest around 1 minutes 37. He doesn't attempt to intervene at all but instead stands there and rather curiously licks his lips as the moped meanders past. All very Anton.

Our intrepid duo then arrive at a tree and immediately hop off the moped and head in different directions, both looking fairly sheepish. What happened on that journey? I imagine Ippolita mentioned that she though the Remix version of Behind The Wheel was grossly inferior to the album version and Dave took offence. The time apart does them good though and, relations repaired, they head off again, next stopping to refuel the moped. Ever the gentleman, Dave wanders off and poses moodily, leaving Ippolita to do all the work. 

All this Dave chat is fine but where are the other three? We last saw Martin singing by lamplight in Denmark so what has become of him? Well, here he is along with Alan and Andy and they're having a sing song. Martin has lost the odd hat he had when we last saw him, found a pair of sunglasses and is standing outside a cafe singing the sampled vocal line in the middle of the song. Fletch and Alan do the same albeit while they sit and enjoy a drink. What anyone randomly coming across that scene must have thought eh?

The Bong Megaphones make a brief appearance and then we return to the cafe scene to find Martin annoying the neighbours having picked up his guitar. Dave and Ippolita appear too and the bandmates who left Dave abandoned on a Danish beach no doubt did their best to make amends. "Look Dave, the last me and Alan saw was you and Martin on the beach while he was singing. We thought he would get you to the bus. Honestly." Martin then brings out his accordion again to remind everyone of better times but that mood is killed by Fletch and Alan attempting to play along on what look like a mouth organ and recorder respectively. None of the three of them offer Ippolita a seat, leaving her to sit on her moped. Depeche Mode as a whole have behaved appallingly here.

1987 was of course the pre-internet era so you very much had to make your own entertainment. If you went on holiday, you might take a game or two to help you while away the hours. Ever resourceful, Fletch has taken care of this for the Depeche Mode On Tour Basildon Banter Holiday of 1987, by bringing along a massive gameshow style wheel covered in numbers. Why? Well, can only be one reason. As Fletch's Wheel of Misfortune spins, Dave pops his arm round Ippolita's waist and, would you believe it, the wheel stops on number 69. Ho, ho etc.

Dave and Ippolita pop into the cafe to book a room as the Depeche Mode Wandering Minstrels (a darker version of the Basildon Boyzone) continue to ruin a small Italian village's tourist industry by bellowing Behind The Wheel outside.  The subtletyy continues as we see the (possibly) happy couple look out a window over a silhouette of the Bong Megaphones, before we find Fletch standing behind a Bong Megaphone from which lots of things are emanating. Ippolita and Dave then emerge from the room looking dishevelled and in what can only be described as the most alarming thing in the video, Dave has grown his Spirit era pencil moustache. Good lord. He and Ippolita then dance as the Depeche Mode Wandering Minstrels play on and then finally wander off to hassle more people outside a different cafe in the village.

Or at least that's what I make of it. I could have just said "it's a good video" right enough.

The Formats

Not too many formats this time around, but a bigger headache for collectors than normal. 7BONG15 wis straightforward enough. Behind The Wheel appears on the A-side in remixed fashion. The artwork and labels are again top notch, though I don't know how the word The is meant to be pronounced when it has an umlaut over the T.

The B-side label is a bit cheerier with the Bong Megaphone creeping into view.

picture courtesy of

Now, how do you an annoy a Depeche Mode collector? Tell them you have the UK 7" promo of Behind The Wheel and that you got it either at a charity shop or as part of a job lot of singles from a seller who didn't know what they had. Both of these things have happened to me, This is insanely rare and it is the only official place where you can hear the edit used on The Roxy above. commonly known as the DJBONG15 mix. It is called that because the matrix on Side A of the record says DJ BONG-15 A-1. If yours says that, you have a rarity which I will happily give you £10 for. I'll even pay the postage. If you want to get your hands on one just now, you could hand over nearly £1700 on Discogs. Alternatively, you could do what I do and but every single copy of the 7" that you find at record fairs or in charity shops, run home and check the matrix only to once again feel disappointed. I have a nonsensical number of Behind The Wheel 7" singles. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't gone back into the charts.

While we are talking promos, there were two promo 12" singles released. The first is DBONG15 which features the album version and Shep Mix of Behind The Wheel which is actually the Shep Pettibone remix from the standard 12". It also contains the 7" version of Route 66.

The other promo is a promo of L12BONG15. It has a gorgeous label and contains two tracks - the Beatmasters Mix of Behind The Wheel and the Casualty Mix of Route 66.

12BONG15 is a lovely thing. The design of all the Music For The Masses era sleeves really was superb. It features two tracks. The A-Side is the fairly underwhelming but better than the 7" version Behind The Wheel (Remixed by Shep Pettibone).

The B-Side is the much better Route 66 (Remixed By The Beatmasters) which brings back all those 101 memories. "They come from everywhere to take the challenge....if they can name it, they can claim it" and so on.

L12BONG15 contains the same two tracks as the promo. The A-side, Behind The Wheel (Beatmasters Mix) is fine but once again, the cover and labels are the real stars of the show.

The B-Side has the Casualty Mix of Route 66 which is an enjoyably noisy version. It's also over 10 minutes long.

The new found love of cassette singles continued. CBONG15 looks rather lovely as you can see.

It comes in the videocassette style packaging again and features three tracks - the two remixes from 12BONG15 and the album version of Behind The Wheel.

There was also a CD single. CDBONG15's four tracks are the two 7" tracks, the album version of Behind The Wheel and Behind The Wheel (Shep Pettibone Mix) which is the remix from 12BONG15 with an annoyingly different name.

A 7 track CD was released in the UK in 1992 bringing together all seven tracks from the various 1987 formats.

The 2004 boxset reissue repeated that 7 track trick.

The German coloured vinyl 7" singles ended with Never Let Me Down Again and with Behind The Wheel we got the last of the coloured vinyl 12" singles.

This orange vinyl release features the same two tracks as 12BONG15.

The yellow vinyl version of L12BONG15 is fantastic.

It will surprise no-one to learn that it features the same tracks as L12BONG15.

The Intercord blue stripe CD contains a tracklisting identical to CDBONG15.

A nice item is the German 3" CD single. It features the two 7" tracks and the Beatmasters Remix of Behind The Wheel.

The 1992 German CD single reissue mirrored the UK one from the same year but it's not orange which means it doesn't look at nice.

Finally, in Random European Format The Boredom Of Lockdown Made Me Buy Corner, here is the French CD single with the same tracklisting as CDBONG15.

In America, there was yet another garishly sleeved promo 12", On Side A we have Behind The Wheel (Extended Remix) which is the Shep Pettibone 12" version and Behind The Wheel (Dub) which is fairly uninspiring.

The B-side features the 7" DJ Remix of Behind The Wheel which is not the DJBONG15 mix as far as I know. It also features the Beatmasters Mix of Behind The Wheel.

The standard 12" has a much better sleeve thankfully. On the A-Side we have the...shudder...Behind The Wheel/Route 66 (Megamix) and Behind The Wheel/Route 66 (Megadub). Neither are one what might call mega.

The B-Side is much more sensible featuring the Beatmasters Mix of both Behind The Wheel and Route 66.

There is a 6 track promo CD if you fancy it. It contains: Behind The Wheel (7" remix), Behind The Wheel/Route 66 (mega-single mix) (STOP IT), Route 66/Behind The Wheel (mega-single mix) (I SAID STOP IT), Behind The Wheel/Route 66 (megamix) (ARGHHHH), Behind The Wheel (Beatmaster Mix -the s is missing on the sleeve, don't write in) and Behind The Wheel (Extended Remix). There is also a 7" and cassette single from the time.

Let's end in Japan. This is a lovely item - a 3" CD single featuring I Want You Now and Behind The Wheel (Remix).

The lyrics and photos of the DM "lads" feature on the rear of the sleeve.

Isn't that a beautiful CD? The version of I Want You Now is an edit exclusive to this release. The pack this CD comes in is called a snap pack as it can be folded in half to form a neat little case. Only buffoons do that however. Get yours unsnapped and keep it that way. There is also a 7" promo of this which was issued in Japan. It is one of those items that will forever be on my wantlist as it goes for insane prices. You can buy one for just under £1,250 on Discogs if you are rich enough to have nothing better to spend your money on.

And with the release of Behind The Wheel, Depeche Mode set off on a European and American tour. I wonder how that ended up going?

Actually, before I hilariously lead on to the next review being Everything Counts (Live), I'll stop myself. The next one will be Little 15 even though I'm not sure as to whether or not it counts as a UK single. I don't think anyone knows really. For the sake of completeness, I shall have a look at that next time. 

I'm off to Italy to pick up Dave's rubbish. Thanks for reading and see you next time.