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).
FUN PACKED - EVERYTHING COUNTS (LIVE)
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.
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.
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.