|NME advert - courtesy of Michael Rose/depmod.com|
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 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 know...you 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.
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.
Very interesting and funny, as usual. ThanksReplyDelete
Hum...looks more like an Ibis head than a chicken head to me....ReplyDelete
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!!!ReplyDelete
Last year, the french magazine "Rock'n'Folk" had designated "WIMS" as the best single of DM. Here is why...ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
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.ReplyDelete
Actually these chicken head beasts may be related to the swan beast in BONG9.ReplyDelete
"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, SophieReplyDelete
You have a lovely collection there...ReplyDelete
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.