Milestones, Video — October 5, 2011 at 7:00 am

Milestones: Depeche Mode’s ‘Speak & Spell’ released Oct. 5, 1981 — 30 years ago today

Today we mark a true milestone in the annals of ’80s synthpop: Depeche Mode’s classic debut album, Speak & Spell, was released on Oct. 5, 1981 — exactly 30 years ago. To mark the occasion, we present, below, the band’s first few appearances on U.K. TV institution “Top of the Pops,” which find a group of very young men — introduced as “Depech-ay Mode!” — miming along to their early hits.









  1. Great album. ‘Puppets’ (in my opinion) is sheer class.

  2. I remember buying this album when it came out and being disappointed by it. Took a while for this band to release more vital music.

  3. I assume the departure of Vince Clarke and the ascension of Martin Gore as songwriter explains the transformation, but it’s still funny to see how well-scrubbed and wholesome they seemed on these early tracks, vs. how ominous and creepy their music became just a few years later.

  4. Photographic is one of the best songs EVER!!!!!!!!

  5. Who knew what the future would hold for a band that started out with this kind of synth-pop. Quite the maturation process.

  6. Steve McMichael

    Loved this album when it came out; it remains perfect 30 years later. It is as pure a synthpop record as one could imagine, and shows what a tiny bit of technology in the hands of geniuses can do: blow away the vast majority of what came after. It remains the best DM album of all time. I must be one of the select few who think Vince Clarke leaving was up there with the break-up of the beatles. His sense of melody is unmatched.

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