Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"People Are People" by Depeche Mode

Song#:  2334
Date:  05/25/1985
Debut:  79
Peak:  13
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Synthpop, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Musicians Vince Clarke and Andy Fletcher began working together in the late 70s and after various iterations they officially became Depeche Mode in 1980 after the adding Martin Gore and Dave Gahan to the line up. Less than a year later, the band recorded a single for Mute Records ("Dreaming of Me") that was a moderate entry on the UK chart. By the fall of '81 they had released their debut LP, Speak and Spell, and got their first UK Top 10 with "Just Can't Get Enough." Clarke would leave the band (replaced by Alan Wilder) before they scored two more Top 10's over the course of two new albums. They were stars in the UK, but their fame in the US was limited to a small college/alt-rock audience. Wanting to break wider in the US, a special compilation of songs titled People Are People was issued in the US in '84 and the title track was pushed out as a single. Neither went anywhere. The song had already been a hit in the UK (#4) and was the first single from their upcoming album Some Great Reward. As that album geared up for US release, this song got pushed out again. The second time was the charm and the single steadily climbed into the Top 20. Both albums that included the song began to sell and over time People Are People would go gold while Some Great Reward would reach platinum.

ReduxReview:  I probably should have hooked into this tune back in the day, but for some reason I didn't connect with it. In fact, I should be a bigger fan of this band than I am. This song actually sounds better now than it did when I first heard it. I like the dense production, arrangement, and hooky chorus. Even parts of it sound like a throwback tune from the 60s, which is kinda cool. While it sounds of its time, I think the tune has aged pretty well.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Vince Clark stayed with Depeche Mode for one album before heading out to seek a new project. He found a partner in Alison Moyet and the pair formed the duo Yazoo (Yaz in the US). Yazoo would have two big hit albums in the UK along with three Top 10 hits. They didn't fare as well in the US with "Only You" doing the best at #67. Clarke would later have great success as a member of the duo Erasure. They would grab fourteen UK Top 10 hits along with six #1 albums. They had limited success in the US with their best effort being the 1988 platinum album The Innocents, which featured two Top 20 hits: "Chains of Love" (#12) and "A Little Respect" (#14).



  1. I saw an interview with Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA. He said he wasn't too keen on their band's name and he wished they'd come up with something cool like Depeche Mode!

    1. I guess he should have read more magazines then... I rather like ABBA as the band name, especially when the logo had the second B backwards. In any case, it worked out for both of them well.

  2. 10/10 for me. One of my all time favorite New Wave songs.

    1. Yeah, I'll have to revisit their catalog at some point as this one does click with me now.