Thursday, May 27, 2021

"Route 66/Behind the Wheel" by Depeche Mode

Song#:  3506
Date:  05/07/1988
Debut:  91
Peak:  61
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Synthpop, Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's album Music for the Masses became their highest charting to-date at #35 thanks to a pair of singles including the #1 Dance/#76 Pop track "Strangelove." To keep momentum going, a third single was selected for release. In the UK, the track "Behind the Wheel" was given a remix and released with a just recorded cover of the old standard "Route 66" as the b-side. It did fine getting to #21. However, for the song's US release it was given a different remix with "Route 66" getting combined with "Behind the Wheel." The special mix would do well in the US clubs and reach #3. It would then get on the Pop chart, but couldn't crack the top half.

ReduxReview:  I have to say that combining these tracks was pretty inspired. From what I've read, the band wasn't all that thrilled that "Route 66" was getting attention as they considered it was just a quick, matching song for the b-side to "Behind the Wheel" and it was taking the focus away from their original songs. Apparently, they settled on doing the cover because they didn't have any extra original tunes sitting around and needed something to quickly record. Regardless, it ended up being a pretty great pairing and it earned them their second US Dance Top 10. While you can readily stream the two songs separately, it seems that this combo remix for the US hasn't sprung up on any compilation or reissue. It's too bad because it turned out kinda cool.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When the band decided to release "Behind the Wheel" as a single, they wanted some kind of driving song that would pair well with it for the b-side. The tune they chose was the US road song "Route 66." The band recorded and mixed the song in a couple of days mainly as a lark to compliment "Behind the Wheel." It surprisingly became popular in the UK and thinking that the tune might also grab ears in the US, the tune got combined with  "Behind the Wheel" for the US release. "Route 66" was written in 1946 by Bobby Troup. He wrote the tune while on a cross country trip with his wife. Nat King Cole and his trio were the first to record the song in 1946. Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters also charted with a version the same year. In the rock era, the only act to reach the Pop chart with a full version of the song was the Manhattan Transfer. Their 1982 cover got to #78.


1 comment:

  1. This song appears on Sire cd Just Say Yo. As far as I know, that's the only cd this medley/mix appears on.