September 1982: Depeche Mode Release A BROKEN FRAME

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Depeche Mode was in a state of extreme flux when it came time to record the band's second album, A Broken Frame. Vince Clarke, the person who wrote a majority of Depeche Mode's music, had left the fold to form a new group: Yazoo (AKA Yaz), featuring Alison Moyet on vocals. Now reduced to a trio with Dave Gahan and Andy Fletcher, Gore stepped up to the plate as Depeche Mode's new main songwriter.

"It's just a represent of breaking away from our limitations from before," was how Gore explained the album's title during a 1982 interview. "We felt sort of enclosed, and that's just sort of breaking out of what we were doing before."

It was January 1982 when Depeche Mode released "See You," the band's fourth single, and the first penned by Gore. The track inspired a tour, which allowed the group to show a new fourth member: keyboardist Alan Wilder. Arriving with a Julien Temple-directed music video, "See You" was a hit, peaking at #6 on the UK Singles chart, and taking the #1 spot on the UK Indie chart.

"I think a lot of people have, but I think we're not going to get away from that for a long time," Gore responded when asked if fans had "forgotten" Vince Clarke leaving the group.

"People had forgotten it at one time. Just after Vince had left, we had 'See You' [and it] was successful, and Vince hadn't released a single, people didn't sort of remember it then. Now, Yazoo is successful, people are obviously gonna remember it, and keep asking us about it in interviews, especially foreign interviews, I think, where we get it more. Because, I think Yazoo have done well in most countries abroad. A lot better than us, even. So obviously people are going to ask us about that. I think in a lot of places we're the Heaven 17 of that country, the same sort of situation."

April 1982 is when Depeche Mode returned with another single: "The Meaning of Love." The chirpy and upbeat dance tune was another hit for the group, cruising to #12 on the UK Singles chart, and #2 on the UK Indie chart.

A third advance single from A Broken Frame arrived August 1982 in the form of the dark and moody "Leave in Silence." Critics were quick to savage the song, with Sounds magazine proclaiming the tune as "overlong, extremely downbeat and could spell the end of chart success for Gahan’s geeks. Seems like the Vincent /Yazoo prophets of doom were right all along.” 

Despite the critical drubbing, "Leave in Silence" did just fine, climbing to #18 on the UK Singles chart, and marking a return to #1 on the UK Indie chart. Depeche Mode was on a roll.

September 27, 1982, Depeche Mode released the group's second full-length album, A Broken Frame. The LP featured a Brian Griffith cover photograph of a woman wielding a sickle as she works in an English field that's meant to resemble a painting. A Broken Frame soared up the charts to take #1 on the UK Independent Albums chart, peaking at #8 on the UK Albums chart. The record even made an impact in America, breaking into the Billboard 200 to reach #177.

"For me, it's a lot better, I enjoy writing, I enjoy writing songs, I enjoy having more freedom in the studio," Gore said in 1982 of Depeche Mode's situation post-Vince Clarke. "Before it, a lot of it was left up to Vince. he'd come in with a song, virtually say 'I wanna do this,' everything was just left up to him. If we disagreed with something, then we'd have to really argue, although there's three of us and we might disagree with him, it would still be a struggle, because he's such a - he has a very strong character. Now, we've all got more freedom, we're more like a democratic band. If someone doesn't like something, we consider that opinion."