You Say It's Your Birthday: Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan

Today is the birthday of Depeche Mode singer Dave Gahan,

who was born in 1962 in Epping, England. Depeche Mode emerged in the early

1980s as a true electropop band, using harmonized vocals and keyboards to craft

such songs as "People are People" and "Personal Jesus" before graduating to a

few electric guitars in recent years. The group's original lineup--Gahan,

keyboardist Vince Clarke, keyboardist Andrew Fletcher and guitarist/keyboardist

Martin Gore--hooked up in 1980 and chose to work heavily with keyboards

because of their portability. Their choice paid off, and their debut, 1981's

Speak and Spell, was a dance-floor smash. However, Clarke soon departed

to work with Yazoo and, eventually, Erasure.

Alan Wilder replaced Clarke,

and over the next couple of years the band continued to release records. In

1985 Depeche Mode had its first breakthrough hit with the simple, political

"People are People," which went to #13 in America. Before and after that

single, the band was mostly considered a fringe outfit despite its prolific

nature and hummable, if bleak, tunes. In 1990 they released Violator,

which revealed the group's new, grittier feel and charted with "Personal

Jesus." Its followup, Songs of Faith and Devotion, also fared reasonably

well in the States, debuting at #1 on the Billboard chart.

However, the

tour for that album was a disaster for the band, which was coming apart at the

seams. The group's problems culminated in a suicide attempt on the part of

Gahan, who spent some time in rehab as well. The band returned to form this

year with the release of Ultra, which has been selling modestly and

spawned two minor hits, "Bullet of a Gun" and "It's No Good."

Other

birthdays: Peter Wilkinson (Cast), Sonny Curtis (Crickets), the late Dave

Prater (Sam & Dave), Pete Birrell (Freddie & The Dreamers), Tommy Roe, Don

Danneman (Cyrkle), Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield/Poco), Steve Katz (Blood

Sweat & Tears), Billy Joel, Mike Wallace (60 Minutes) and actress Candace

Bergen. -- Beth Winegarner