Friday 14 May 2021



On 26th April 1993, Depeche Mode finally released a single that was a worthy follow up to another single released on the same day, eleven years earlier.

Walking In My Shoes took over where that single left off, matching it in depth, tone and gothic genius. It could never be rationally argued by anyone that Walking In My Shoes is quite as dark and mysterious as its predecessor but it tried its best.

We have however already looked at The Meaning Of Love, so let's focus on its twin, albeit a twin born 11 years later, instead.

Stumble this way - it's Walking In My Shoes time.


The Single

NME advert - courtesy of Michael Rose/

Walking In My Shoes, BONG22, was the second single from Songs Of Faith And Devotion and was released on 26th April 1993. For many people, it was already a highlight of the album and it's a song that has long been a favourite of many Depeche Mode fans. For the UK music press, it was the usual story.

The NME seemed to like it, saying "Disguised as a small book, with gangs of silly pictures from some video, the new Depeche Mode single is best enjoyed as part of its overpoweringly moody LP Songs Of Faith And Devotion, rather than in this format, where it is not quite tough enough to be a single. Eerie and powerful for all that, though."

The video they refer to is, of course, the actual video. Over at Melody Maker, we got this typical slice of Melody Maker wisdom:

"Oh, come on guys! We all saw that Enjoy The Silence video a couple of years back, where a clearly demented Dave Gahan cast himself as King Canute. So now, obviously, he's gone the rest of the way round the twist, and you've had to have him locked up. But did you honestly think we wouldn't notice when you got Zodiac Mindwarp in to replace him? Dave/Zod pleads that we should never judge him too harshly, because we can't possibly imagine how hard it can be being an international pop star and sex symbol for the young and tasteless. The hearts of the homeless haemorrhage, I'm sure."

I was taught that if I couldn't say anything nice, I was not to say anything at all so I'm not going to comment on that lunacy.

One person who is a fan of the song is Bono. During his 60th birthday celebrations on, he sent letters to 60 artists whose work he had admired. Depeche Mode got a letter and it was about this song:

That's certainly the best review of the song I could find, this blog aside of course.

Promotional postcard

As we saw last time, there was only one in-studio promotional appearance in the whole Songs Of Faith And Devotion era so there is no Top Of The Pops appearance to dissect here. As a bonus then, let's enjoy this performance on the song from 2009 on Later....With Jools Holland, a performance that is unique as both Martin and Andy were too busy to perform on TV, so they were replaced by Dame Barbara Cartland and Elton John for one night only

The single was the only one of the four Songs Of Faith And Devotion singles not to crack the UK Top 10, despite arguably being the best of the bunch. It entered the charts at number 22, climbed to 14 and then fell, firstly to 41 and then even the Lord blushed as the song tumbled to 61 and then into the post chart darkness after that. A poor showing for a mighty song.

And what a mighty song it is. Walking In My Shoes has been a mainstay of Depeche Mode gigs since 1993 and has been played 786 times by the band on every tour since with, for the purposes of the pedants sharpening their pencil, the exception of the Ultra parties. I know they were not actually a tour but one of you always points out something about these blogs so I have to cover every base. This isn't easy you know. Bloody Depeche Mode fans. I know it's boring, but the Devotional version of this is still my favourite. It's a towering version of the song with a mental video played on the mental screens on the mental stage set. Glorious. As each tour passes, the tom toms get louder but they still don't detract from the power this song radiates when played live. It's a very special song, very special indeed.

This single also had a B-Side of course and it's a cracker. My Joy is a wonderful song and one that, for many years I was convinced had a chorus that said "I'm not about to move me." for some reason. Had I given it any thought, I would of course have realised that it actually says "I'm not a mountain no, you move me" which makes more sense, at least in a way. It's a song that many people such as Kevin May, the co-author of the more details coming soon book Halo, feel merited a place on Songs Of Faith And Devotion. Kevin is biased however as he loves the song in an almost alarming way. You do wonder what the album would have sounded like with this track instead of, say, Get Right With Me for example. I like both songs though, so I'm not opening this can of worms. My Joy has never been played live and, let's be honest here, it never will. Sorry Kevin.

The Video

After the shock of 1980's sit-com stars appearing alongside a bearded Dave in I Feel You, what were we in store for next? The cast of Bread playing keyboards with Fletch? Thankfully not. Instead, and quite logically, the band turned to ice skating chicken head beasts. It was the obvious move.

We open with Dave, crouched over in the corner of what looks like a very unpleasant room, looking ashamed. No wonder. He'd just played the band the demo of Hole To Feed and they demanded he go and stand in the corner of the room and really think about what he'd done and why they were so disappointed in him. They weren't angry, they just felt let down. He's quickly joined by two people with the big Walking In My Shoes chicken beast heads on and they're both wearing robes so there's nothing to see here. I previously suggested that this song's younger twin bother's video was "on drugs" - this video has found several other stashes and necked them all at once.

We see Dave again, the some sort of priest type chap and Dave storms off, turns blurred and red and starts singing in front of the two chicken head beasts and his Big Castle. He was in a right mood by now and, if you look closely enough, he's not in fact miming "I would tell you about the things they put me through" but is instead mouthing "We are here, we can love, we share something."

The priest reappears and is seen reading one of the 34 additional books that would later feature in the Sounds Of The Universe deluxe boxset, before he's joined by a female colleague and they shyly, and rather sweetly, hold hands while Dave continues his one man singing protest.

At this point, I should point out that I am not going to start talking about the extras that feature in the video as that's simply not fair. I've been at enough Depeche gigs to have seen plenty of you. People in glass houses and that.

As the first chorus arrives, we see the whole cast on the steps of Dave's Big Castle as he mouths "Words can leave you broken inside" as the song plays, The flirting priests keep flirting and everyone keeps looking around in a shifty manner. They can all hear what Dave is singing - they just can't believe it. One question leaps out however - where are the other three?

Well, one minute and thirty seconds in, we find out. Remember the perky Basildon Boyzone who we saw in the Everything Counts video, singing and a-swinging as they jauntily sing along? Well, ten years later, they are older, more miserable and definitely hungover. We seem them in that state, imprisoned in Dave's Hole to Feed Corner with the lead singer having exacted his revenge and placed them there while the demo plays at Metallica like volume over bis Big Castle's stereo. Dave pops up and then we see Alan alone, looking like a bit miserable puppet with its strings cut.

The Basildon Boyzone then turn up again, this time with naked women sitting on their knees as morality frowns upon them and rightly so. Dave is determined to make this all about him, so he turns the front of his Big Castle into the set of Hole To Feed - The Musical and we see the whole cast stand again as he sings along ("Shame has a hold, that's kept us frozen"). The musical mood is disturbed by class clown Gore pressing his face up against the camera. Behave Gore, you'll only encourage the others....oh STOP IT Fletcher and Wilder. Get back into Hole To Feed Corner. 

At two minutes and 48 seconds, Dave introduces the finale of Hole To Feed - The Musical as the ice skating scene begins. As he raises his arms, the two flirting priests don their chicken beast heads and start ice skating. Gore and Fletcher are rightly placed back in Hole To Feed Corner and the priests finally get married in front of the cast and two chicken head beasts. It the wedding everyone dreams of. The video plays out as the happy couple ice skate in front of Dave's Big Castle.

Do you know something? Watching that video for the first time in ages really was moving. What a video and what a song. As I type, I feel like I felt when I heard the song for the first time. It is an incredible and hugely moving song and I seem to have something in my eye. What a special band.

The Formats

There was no official 7" single released in the UK this time. There is a "Jukebox Promo" version however, so called because the central hole is designed to fit a jukebox. Whether or not anyone was using a jukebox in 1993 is another question. The catalogue number is BONG22, and Side A features the 7" Mix of Walking In My Shoes, a decent remix edit of the album version.

Side B features My Joy and a picture of my hand although it's not known if that features on all copies.

While we are on promos then, here is P12BONG22, the 12" promo. It features the 7" Mix of Walking In My Shoes on the A-Side together with the, sigh, Grungy Gonads Mix. Really? Side B features two mixes of My Joy - 7" Mix and Slow Slide Mix.

CBONG22, the cassette single, contains the same two tracks as the promo 7". Like everything else officially released for this single, the packaging is wonderful.

The chicken head beast returns for the cover art for the single and it is, of course, naked save for its big mad head.  12BONG22 featurs the same four tracks as P12BONG22 so that means Side A contains the Grungy Gonads Mix. The mix is good, the name is not.

The B-Side features the two versions of My Joy. 

CDBONG22, my well worn copy above, comes in a matt and glossy in places digipack.

Chicken head beasts aplenty here.

The CD features the same four tracks as 12BONG22.

As sure as night follows day, an L12 follows a 12, so here is L12BONG22. I have a T-shirt with that cover that has somehow survived 28 years. My friend Stuart got one with the 12BONG22 cover at the time of which I was always jealous.

The single comes in a gatefold sleeve with a "luxury" inner sleeve. That doesn't mean that it comes with free room service, all it seems to mean is that it is shiny. It is very nice.

The rear of the sleeve and its luxury inner are a tad sparser than the rest of the package.

The Policy Of Truth nudity score is beaten here.

In actual music news, the record features four remixes of Walking In My Shoes. On Side A we have the Extended Twelve Inch Mix (epic and glorious) and the Random Carpet Mix (odd name, good remix). On the other side, we get the Anandamidic Mix and the Ambient Whale Mix, with the former taking the "best remix of Side B" prize.

LCDBONG22 is another matt/glossy digipack. I really like the black CD.

The art is very similar to the L12 art.

The CD itself features the same four remixes as L12BONG22.

The 2004 reissue, CDBONG22X, puts all eight tracks together in one place.

Away from the UK. Germany was one of a few countries sensible enough to release a 7". Isn't it lovely?

Sweden, France and Belgium did the same. The 7" singles feature the same tracks as the UK promo 7". I don't have that any version of this single really. Do check for a full run down of all available formats and look out for the 2 track card sleeve CD singles from Germany, Belgium, France and Sweden as they look rather lovely. 

In the US, a promo CD was released containing the Album Edit and Single Edit, both of which appear to be the same length so who knows what is going on there.

The US CD single helpfully contains all 8 remixes from the various UK formats we've seen.

The US 12" singles from this era were a joy as they are basically as long as many albums. Side A here features the Extended Twelve Inch Mix, Random Carpet Mix and Grungy Gonads Mix.

Side B contains the Anandamidic Mix and Ambient Whale Mix alongside the Slow Slide Mix of My Joy.

Let's end in Japan with one of their typically full of things CD singles. The songs featured are those on CDBONG22 but you also get an OBI, a card to order something and a lyric sheet in both English and Japanese. Lovely.

Walking In My Shoes is quintessential Depeche Mode and a track that is rightly loved by most, if not all, Depeche fans. It night have been the more obvious choice for the first single for the album but Depeche Mode don't do that.

What it turns out they did do was their own take on gospel music. That will take the stand next time.


  1. Very interesting and funny, as usual. Thanks

  2. Hum...looks more like an Ibis head than a chicken head to me....

  3. Keep on keeping on man. I love your work, and your side comments as well! I look forward to reading your articles every time I see them!!!

  4. Last year, the french magazine "Rock'n'Folk" had designated "WIMS" as the best single of DM. Here is why...

  5. 1.The song. I remember very well that I fell in love with it th 1st time I heard it. It marks the climax (ans sadly the end) of 10 years of union between a brillant songwriter and a brillant arranger. Epic, sexy, glam, dark. Everything here is sublime.

  6. 2. This is the most beautiful (but the last good) Anton's cover for DM. Sexy, indeed, but it drill marks the spirits of the public.

  7. 3. One of DM's strengths will be to use the best artists of the time (or, before their times) for the remixes. Just look at the 1993-94 : Brian Eno, J.Dollarand Portishead (when they were unknown) or the future Garbage. If these versions are reused in concerts, it's because they worth it. And you've already pointed out that "My Joy" is excellent.

  8. 4. One of the best entries of your blog. The description of the vidéo is excellent (even it's more Ibis heads than chicken's). I wish that DM release soon more singles just to read your blog. One more time, thanks a lot.

  9. Actually these chicken head beasts may be related to the swan beast in BONG9.

  10. "a performance that is unique as both Martin and Andy were too busy to perform on TV, so they were replaced by Dame Barbara Cartland and Elton John for one night only" :) :) Great and hilarious review as always! thanks! cheers from rainy Paris, Sophie

  11. You have a lovely collection there...

    Actually, what you keep referring to as 'chicken beast head' or 'chicken head beast' was inspired by a Hieronymus Bosch triptych called The temptation of St Anthony (check out the outer panels).
    I'm sure I'm not the only one knowing this fact from contemporary music magazines, since the single came.
    Not trying to be condescending but in 2021 a simple Google search would have revealed the CBH background if you were interested to find out. :)

    Random Carpet, Grungy Gonads and Slow Slide are among the Top 20 best ever DM remixes.