Speak & Spell 30 Year Anniversary

30 years ago today Depeche Mode’s first album Speak & Spell was released! Quite a landmark for any band, but especially a band who have been able to stay together, stay consistent, and most importantly… stay relevant. While some, if not most, of their peers who released records in this era are gone, Depeche Mode have gone on to be and stay one of the biggest and massively influential bands today and we celebrate that more than an anniversary of just one specific record. Some bands are playing reunion tours and the Mode fans are waiting for the next record and tour! Congrats on the anniversary fellas, but the studio is a calling and we’re waiting for the new music!

In varying degrees, the album will always hold a special place in the fans hearts and we love when the band agonizes over playing “Just Can’t Get Enough” for us, the fans who love it. How about in 2006 when the fans collectively picked their jaws up off the floor when they knocked the dust off “Photographic” after all these years. “This is the first song we ever recorded” Mart introduced it to the crowd, I think he even said “Here’s one for the Futurists” as well (if memory serves).

Here’s the band playing it at The Rock Am Ring Festival in 2006:

Let’s go back to 1981 and see their young, fresh faces on TV performing “Just Can’t Get Enough” when it was brand spanking new. Dave’s in a big suit, Mart’s hair is bigger, and some guy name Vince is in the band. Vince went on to do something, but not sure what…sarcasm people.

One of my favorite tracks from Speak & Spell has always been Tora! Tora! Tora! and here is the band performing the song in ’82 with a new band member… Mr. Alan Wilder! Besides loving the video, I just love this performance and my man Andy Fletcher gets down! Love this one and that bass line is epic!

Besides writing this, today I am going to pop the vinyl of Speak & Spell on thee ‘ol turntable and listen to it as it was released in ’81. While the fans embrace the album more then the band really, it’s part of the foundation of what made them who they are. The fans eating up the Croc’s soundboard or the the recently surfaced demo tape is proof of that. Happy Anniversary to the band, the record, and the era…

Great, I have to think of something to write about A Broken Frame next year.. haha..


  • Jeff G


    Two of the best songs on the album (Big Muff and Tora! Tora! Tora) were written by Martin. Imagine how incredible and darker the album would have been if the entire album was written by him. Don't get me wrong; I love Vince but the genius that he is...... he was meant for Yazoo and Erasure. Puppets, Photographic, Ice Machine, Shout and Nodisco are enjoyable tracks. The rest border on flamboyant and just plain silly. Just MHO.... No flaming...... Been a huge huge fan since 1984.

  • Michel J


    Speak & Spell is the ultimate almost-guilty pleasure - like a synthesized lump of candyfloss. It may stick out like a pink flashy thumb in the mode's discography but it's so infectiously catchy, incredibly well-crafted, fresh and loveable - you caneven forgive "What's your name". And Puppets, Photographic or Martin's Tora Tora Tora clearly point the way to what was to come next. Happy anniversary, silly bird. We love you no matter what. And looking fwd to next year's write-up indeed - if there's one guiltier pleasure in the whole output of the band it's gotta be A broken frame ! :-)

  • Denitsa M


    Speak and spell was very important for the music history at the time and really stood out.

  • Robert


    You've got to love New Life and Tora!Tora!Tora!. JCGE is OK especially in its schizo mix incarnation yet Photographic is the stand out track for me. Blimey 30 years since buying the album with the daft bird on the front and cradling it on the bus home.

  • Francis vace


    30 years, a milestone indeed! And what do mute give us to commemorate this event? A illustrated history perhaps? Cd/DVD of rare live performances? Nope, another remix collection. Joy.....

  • JM


    I enjoy listening to Speak & Spell. Ice Machine and Photographic (Some Bizarre) are 2 of my DM highlights... (Both songs not included, but... Speak & Spell anyway). Would like to listen some more "oldiest" live, but some more new material too (last tour was a little letdown but with great sound and energy).