Formation (1977-1980)

Depeche Mode's origins are in 1977, when Vince Clarke and Andrew Fletcher formed a band called No Romance in China, with Clarke on vocals and guitar and Fletcher on bass. In 1979, Clarke played guitar in an "Ultravox rip-off band", The Plan, with friends Robert Marlow and Paul Langwith. In 1978-79, Gore played in an acoustic duo, Norman and The Worms, with school friend Philip Burdett on vocals and Gore on guitar. In 1979, Marlow, Gore, Clarke and friend Paul Redmond formed a band called The French Look, Marlow on vocals/keyboards, Gore on guitar and Redmond on keyboards. In March 1980, Clarke, Gore and Fletcher formed a band called Composition of Sound, with Clarke on vocals/guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. On 31 May 1980, The French Look and Composition of Sound played together at St. Nicholas School Youth Club, Basildon, Essex.

Soon after the formation of Composition of Sound, Clarke and Fletcher switched to synthesizers, working odd jobs including carpentry to buy or borrow them from friends. Dave Gahan joined the band in 1980 after Clarke heard him perform at a local scout-hut jam session, crooning to a rendition of David Bowie's "Heroes", and Depeche Mode was born. When explaining the choice for the new name (taken from a French fashion magazine, Dépêche mode) Martin Gore has said, "It means hurried fashion or fashion dispatch. I like the sound of that." The band made their recording debut on the Some Bizzare Album, with the song "Photographic", later re-recorded for their debut album, Speak & Spell.

Clarke departs, Wilder joins (1981/1982) During the touring and promotion for Speak & Spell, Clarke began privately to voice his discomfort at the direction the band was taking. He later expressed his agitation that "there was never enough time to do anything". In November 1981, Clarke publicly announced that he was leaving Depeche Mode. Soon afterwards, he joined with blues singer Alison Moyet to form Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.) and later, the duo Erasure with Andy Bell. After initial talk of Clarke continuing to write material for the group ultimately amounted to nothing (Clarke offered the remaining members of Depeche Mode the track "Only You", but they declined; it subsequently went to UK #2 for Clarke's new band, Yazoo), Gore, who had written "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and "Big Muff" for Speak & Spell, was forced to become the band's new songwriter.

In late 1981, the band placed an anonymous ad in Melody Maker looking for another musician. Alan Wilder, a 22-year old keyboardist from West London, responded and after two auditions, he was hired in early 1982 initially on a trial basis as a touring member.

Wilder's departure (1995) In June 1995, Alan Wilder announced that he was leaving Depeche Mode, explaining,

" Since joining in 1982, I have continually striven to give total energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the furthering of the group's success and in spite of a consistent imbalance in the distribution of the workload, willingly offered this. Unfortunately, within the group, this level of input never received the respect and acknowledgement that it warrants."part 2

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