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Depeche Mode: Black Celebration: The Biography

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Written with the band's co-operation, Steve Malins' biography throws light on this private, frequently misunderstood group and their lives, which have been bizarre, hilarious, extreme and destructive through nearly 20 years of constant success and excessive celebration. Now fully updated and expanded with an additional 10,000 words, new cover and enlarged format, this new Written with the band's co-operation, Steve Malins' biography throws light on this private, frequently misunderstood group and their lives, which have been bizarre, hilarious, extreme and destructive through nearly 20 years of constant success and excessive celebration. Now fully updated and expanded with an additional 10,000 words, new cover and enlarged format, this new edition will coincide with the band's first world tour in over 3 years as they promote their brand new album Playing the Angel.


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Written with the band's co-operation, Steve Malins' biography throws light on this private, frequently misunderstood group and their lives, which have been bizarre, hilarious, extreme and destructive through nearly 20 years of constant success and excessive celebration. Now fully updated and expanded with an additional 10,000 words, new cover and enlarged format, this new Written with the band's co-operation, Steve Malins' biography throws light on this private, frequently misunderstood group and their lives, which have been bizarre, hilarious, extreme and destructive through nearly 20 years of constant success and excessive celebration. Now fully updated and expanded with an additional 10,000 words, new cover and enlarged format, this new edition will coincide with the band's first world tour in over 3 years as they promote their brand new album Playing the Angel.

30 review for Depeche Mode: Black Celebration: The Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Found this book at the British Music Experience in London - snapped it up, believe me! I recommend this book not just for those who truly dig Depeche Mode, but for a cracking good story, well told, of the process and evolution of one of the '80s most successful bands. Beginning with their formative years, it tells the story of how they met, what drove them forward, the heartbreaks, successes, misadventures, and their creative process year after year. It also sheds quite a light on their relation Found this book at the British Music Experience in London - snapped it up, believe me! I recommend this book not just for those who truly dig Depeche Mode, but for a cracking good story, well told, of the process and evolution of one of the '80s most successful bands. Beginning with their formative years, it tells the story of how they met, what drove them forward, the heartbreaks, successes, misadventures, and their creative process year after year. It also sheds quite a light on their relations among one another - sometimes too bright a light, as my esteem for Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher has dimmed a bit after how they treated Alan Wilder during the recording of "Songs of Faith and Devotion" (he did ALL the work). Also, as I always suspected, Andrew "Fletch" Fletcher can't play anything - his sole purpose is to keep Gore company and provide a "Man on the Street" opinion of whatever they're working on. But Dave's story takes center stage, and man - do I have a newfound respect for what he's been able to overcome. It's heartbreaking what he went through - did you know he "died" twice? The scene where he leaves his heroin gear out while his mum and his son are at his house is incredibly sad. His mum throws the stuff out while Dave's passed out, and then he runs out and grabs the neighbor's trash (five large bags worth) and empties them in the kitchen looking for his junk. Then he breaks down sobbing and says, "Oh, Mum - I'm a junkie, I'm a junkie!" She looks down at him and says, "I know, love. I know." Great interviews of all band members (Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder), Wayne Hussey of the Mission UK, members of Miranda Sex Garden, the Cure, OMD, Killing Joke, Daniel Miller, Flood, Francois Kevorkian, Blixa Bargeld, Soft Cell, Steve Strange, et al., make this THE book on Depeche Mode. I HIGHLY recommend it!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    4.5 stars I absolutely love Depeche Mode they are one of my favourite bands. I didn't know too much about their early years so I learnt a few interesting things, the later years seemed a bit rushed and it was a shame there was no pictures. A must for all fans. 4.5 stars I absolutely love Depeche Mode they are one of my favourite bands. I didn't know too much about their early years so I learnt a few interesting things, the later years seemed a bit rushed and it was a shame there was no pictures. A must for all fans.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Danilo

    gostei, apesar de ter sido muito baseada em artigos de jornais da época

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Best band in the world. Ever. A must-read for devotees.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jarret Lovell

    As someone who’s been listening to Depeche Mode for 34 years and has seen the band live 16 times, my expectations for this (in the States at least) hard-to-find book were perhaps unrealistically high, so the lack of a 5th star likely has to more to do with my expectations than with author Steve Malin’s accomplishment. I suppose I wanted the book to confirm what I already feel - that Depeche Mode is one of the most creative and influential bands of the last 4 decades; that Martin Gore is one of t As someone who’s been listening to Depeche Mode for 34 years and has seen the band live 16 times, my expectations for this (in the States at least) hard-to-find book were perhaps unrealistically high, so the lack of a 5th star likely has to more to do with my expectations than with author Steve Malin’s accomplishment. I suppose I wanted the book to confirm what I already feel - that Depeche Mode is one of the most creative and influential bands of the last 4 decades; that Martin Gore is one of the strongest songwriters of our generation; that Depeche Mode produce hauntingly-beautiful songs with heartbreaking yet uplifting lyrics. I also wanted to read about the events that almost ended Depeche Mode (and almost ended the life of Dave Gahan). I realize now that what I was unprepared for was a book that humanized my heroes in often unflattering ways. Again, this is not the fault of Malins but instead of my idolatry and deification of artists who are ultimately flawed humans like the rest of us. Nevertheless, what emerges from the book is a portrait of a band that cannot easily be discounted or dismissed; one that has not only endured trends in music but has set them; one that ultimately has the last laugh - selling millions and millions of records worldwide and earning the respect of some of the biggest names in music. The book itself is rather formulaic in structure. After a brief introduction to the formation of the band, each chapter focuses on the creation of an album. This is a great way to organize the book, and the author cleverly picked the lyrical phrase that best describes the status of the band at the time. “This twisted, tortured mess” is the chapter that describes the recording of Ultra and a time when Gahan was struggling with heroin addiction. Meanwhile, “Dream On” describes the recording of Exciter when the band’s future was uncertain, but hopeful. This helps to contenxtualize the mood of each album era. Of course, the book is filled with character assessments of each band member, and these don’t always go down easily for this fan. While any DM fan knows that Martin is the shy one, his failure to express his emotions to other band members often created chaos in the recording studio, and became a sore spot with Gahan when he needed friendship and reassurance during his recovery. We learn that the line, “Where were you when I fell from grace” from Gahan’s song “Suffer Well” was a bit of a dig at Gore and Andrew Fletcher. We learn that Gore never communicated satisfaction with Alan Wilder’s remarkable production skills, only dissatisfaction. We learn that he has a dependency on Fletcher do communicate for him. We learn about his alcoholic binges. We also learn a lot about Gahan. Because Gahan is more communicative, we actually get a pretty multidimensional and sympathetic portrait of him, even when he’s at his worst. As for Malin’s narrative contribution, Malin’s does a nice job revealing the lack of respect Depeche Mode receives from it’s home country. It’s maddening to be sure, but it’s also comical to read the UK reviews of Violator decades later, when the album is now universally considered a classic by rock critics. Indeed, Personal Jesus has been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash! Ultimately, while one’s heroes become humanized after reading this book, one cannot help but respect these artists for making it this far and overcoming their demons and differences. The 2007 edition ends with Playing the Angel, a personal favorite album of mine and a turning point for the band, as it marked the first time Gahan contributed songs. This was a very contentious event, as Gore had always been the songwriter. As the book ends, a once reluctant Martin Gore suggests a guitar riff to accompany Gahan’s song “Suffer Well.” Gahan loves the suggestion, and what emerges from the recording session is a track that Gore compliments AND complements. Once again, the two personalities combine and become one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bjørn

    (Rating: 3,5) There is a great book hidden inside an average one here. The interviews, inside information, backgrounds to the songs are incredible. As for the rest… Possibly the most jarring bit for me is that the book was very clearly supposed to end before Playing The Angel – the solo records chapter is an obvious conclusion to the book… followed by another, less powerful one. Typos are distributed generously, sometimes misspelling the same word in two consecutive sentences (Francois Kevorkian (Rating: 3,5) There is a great book hidden inside an average one here. The interviews, inside information, backgrounds to the songs are incredible. As for the rest… Possibly the most jarring bit for me is that the book was very clearly supposed to end before Playing The Angel – the solo records chapter is an obvious conclusion to the book… followed by another, less powerful one. Typos are distributed generously, sometimes misspelling the same word in two consecutive sentences (Francois Kevorkian becomes Kervorkian, etc.) Some of the interview quotes are placed together so cruelly that I gasped on occasion, wondering whether those two people will ever speak to each other again if they as much as browse through the book. I didn't feel that a biography that well researched and packed with in-depth interviews, quotes, and, frankly, brilliance was necessarily the best place for the author to interrupt those riches with his track-by-track reviews of the records. This could have been remedied by putting all the reviews in a separate section at the end. Instead, there's – say – a section about Martin Gore's Counterfeit 2 complete with a scathing review by Steve Malins plopped in the middle. The book made me re-play and finally appreciate Exciter, which (to put it mildly) has never been my favourite. Ultra actually is as good as Malins insists. Playing The Angel isn't. Still, I wish I didn't have to compare my feelings about the music with those of the author and could just make up my mind. Mercifully, Playing The Angel, the last record discussed, is also DM's last record that's memorable in any way. That, however, has nothing to do with Mr Malins :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Turns out....I have more Depeche More than I thought I had...I havebits of vinyl knocking around and CD's, generally pre owned bits i have found as I have always thought their sparky dark take on Pop was just my thing.. That said and as the book attests they have journeyed musically into other areas a tad whilst ultimately having their own thing going on. It's an interesting read, from initial fame it did seem the game was may be up when original song writer Vince Clarke left and yet Martin Gore r Turns out....I have more Depeche More than I thought I had...I havebits of vinyl knocking around and CD's, generally pre owned bits i have found as I have always thought their sparky dark take on Pop was just my thing.. That said and as the book attests they have journeyed musically into other areas a tad whilst ultimately having their own thing going on. It's an interesting read, from initial fame it did seem the game was may be up when original song writer Vince Clarke left and yet Martin Gore rose to the challenge and they used their foundations to become so much more. The sign of a good music book is does it make me explore the albums that it described...well yeah writing this review as I'm listening to the live 101 album ...it seems a very honest book where band tensions and substance/alcohol use are explored as is the shifting dynamics around the sound and how they attained this. It does what it does..it maybe doesn't give many insights to the initiated but to the casual fan like me things such as the production techniques and the use of sounds provide an interesting story.

  8. 5 out of 5

    S.S.

    I bought this book because I was interested in reading about the history of Depeche Mode. DM have been a part of my life for pretty much most of my life (I'm 38 so that's a fair amount of time.) I've grown up hearing them or hearing about them. (My dad's into their music!). I also was born pretty near to Basildon too, so ... they're like a home band to me, haha! Of course, I like the band but I don't know very much about them apart from the music itself. As such, I jumped at the chance to read t I bought this book because I was interested in reading about the history of Depeche Mode. DM have been a part of my life for pretty much most of my life (I'm 38 so that's a fair amount of time.) I've grown up hearing them or hearing about them. (My dad's into their music!). I also was born pretty near to Basildon too, so ... they're like a home band to me, haha! Of course, I like the band but I don't know very much about them apart from the music itself. As such, I jumped at the chance to read this book and I'm glad I did. I found it interesting to read about the processes behind how they recorded their music, as well as the internal struggles that informed the band itself and about certain parts of the members' private lives. It's definitely something to return to again ..... when my dad's finished reading it! XD

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christina Schad Ramos

    As a fanatic of Depeche Mode, this biography broke my heart a bit. Dave, praise God he’s sober, what a self inflicted hell he went through. Martin, what a lucky bastard, talent to write some of my absolute favorite songs but what a lack of connection to others. Seems like a lonely road. Wilder held it together as long as he could, seems he found a good breaking point & I pray he’s found happiness in other ways. Appears Fletch has had a nice ride with little work involved, I wonder if boredom con As a fanatic of Depeche Mode, this biography broke my heart a bit. Dave, praise God he’s sober, what a self inflicted hell he went through. Martin, what a lucky bastard, talent to write some of my absolute favorite songs but what a lack of connection to others. Seems like a lonely road. Wilder held it together as long as he could, seems he found a good breaking point & I pray he’s found happiness in other ways. Appears Fletch has had a nice ride with little work involved, I wonder if boredom contributed to his meltdowns? I hope those are behind him now. Everyone has a story, everyone. It’s hard to swallow their journey. I’m so grateful the band continues to create music I love & of course I wish to read part 2.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I finally finished this book after starting, stopping and picking it back up. I was honestly a bit underwhelmed by the book. I wanted a more interpersonal look at the band and was interested in the meaning of the songs I have grown to know and love. But, as the author explains, the band does not like to discuss these details, so that is why I think they are largely missing. It does offer a comprehensive look at Depeche Mode's (DM) beginning (which is fascinating) and at the history of the DM dis I finally finished this book after starting, stopping and picking it back up. I was honestly a bit underwhelmed by the book. I wanted a more interpersonal look at the band and was interested in the meaning of the songs I have grown to know and love. But, as the author explains, the band does not like to discuss these details, so that is why I think they are largely missing. It does offer a comprehensive look at Depeche Mode's (DM) beginning (which is fascinating) and at the history of the DM discography in great detail, so much so that I felt the book earned 3 stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jo Green

    Depeche Mode: The Biography An excellent narrative, covering all the pits and troughs of lives lived. Details up to Delta Machine, right from the beginning. A must-read for any devotee.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ola Skowron

    Very good! Perfect read for a DM fan. Informative, funny at times...I couldn't put it down....Pleasure!!! I would highly recommend it !!!! Very good! Perfect read for a DM fan. Informative, funny at times...I couldn't put it down....Pleasure!!! I would highly recommend it !!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Hill

    The edition I have just read seemed to be entitled The Biography rather than A Biography but although this may seem presemptuous this is so well done that it is thoroughly deserving of a definite article. It was particularly strong on describing the different personalities within the band and the group dynamics which have affected their relationships with each other. Taking the reader from the band members' childhoods right up to 2013 the full career of the band is comprehensively covered. It mak The edition I have just read seemed to be entitled The Biography rather than A Biography but although this may seem presemptuous this is so well done that it is thoroughly deserving of a definite article. It was particularly strong on describing the different personalities within the band and the group dynamics which have affected their relationships with each other. Taking the reader from the band members' childhoods right up to 2013 the full career of the band is comprehensively covered. It makes for a compelling read as it contains many great anecdotes, ranging from the shocking to the hilarious. Although this was written with the cooperation of the band it thankfully doesn't come across as being in any way sanitised. The text is accompanied by two sections of well chosen black and white and colour photographs. Definitely highly recommended for fans of the band.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    I want to give this 5 stars because it was a really well researched and written biography of my favourite 'band'. There are great insights from all 3 current members, as well as those who have left (Alan Wilder and Vince Clarke). The problem was the last part of the book - from 2001 onwards, felt extremely rushed. the info on Dave Gahan's fall and drug problems was really well done and interesting, but the details of the recovery were pretty vague and it is the ability of him to have refound him I want to give this 5 stars because it was a really well researched and written biography of my favourite 'band'. There are great insights from all 3 current members, as well as those who have left (Alan Wilder and Vince Clarke). The problem was the last part of the book - from 2001 onwards, felt extremely rushed. the info on Dave Gahan's fall and drug problems was really well done and interesting, but the details of the recovery were pretty vague and it is the ability of him to have refound himself despite of everything he has been through that has made me want to know more and how he did it. Otherwise a brilliant book, with lots of information about the early days as well as looking at the repeated possible collapse of the band between "violator" and "exciter".

  15. 4 out of 5

    Danne

    This should have been called "Why Fletch is a necessity for DM", because thats what this is ALL about, page up and down about why he is uberneeded (apparently) for DM, not to hard to guess mr Fletch paid Malins to write a book defending his right to be in DM, since he writes NO songs, sings NO songs, contributes NOTHING in melody or songmaking and whos duty is, as he stated himself several times, "making coffee and reading a newspaper" (!), and since he feels hes a third wheel (literally)he had This should have been called "Why Fletch is a necessity for DM", because thats what this is ALL about, page up and down about why he is uberneeded (apparently) for DM, not to hard to guess mr Fletch paid Malins to write a book defending his right to be in DM, since he writes NO songs, sings NO songs, contributes NOTHING in melody or songmaking and whos duty is, as he stated himself several times, "making coffee and reading a newspaper" (!), and since he feels hes a third wheel (literally)he had Malins write this book. AVOID if youre a TRUE DM fan.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Why

    I have listened to Depeche Mode like forever & remains a fan today. To read of their musical escapades, personal turmoils & drug excesses is an eye opener. Of course we knew Dave Gahan the lead singer almost died but his comeback is a great story in redemption. Martin Gore chief songwriter is the quiet but vital force behind DM. Alan Wilder was always the most musically adept & it shows in his contributions. If u knew DM, this will shine more light. If u wanna look into rock & roll excess, there I have listened to Depeche Mode like forever & remains a fan today. To read of their musical escapades, personal turmoils & drug excesses is an eye opener. Of course we knew Dave Gahan the lead singer almost died but his comeback is a great story in redemption. Martin Gore chief songwriter is the quiet but vital force behind DM. Alan Wilder was always the most musically adept & it shows in his contributions. If u knew DM, this will shine more light. If u wanna look into rock & roll excess, there's no finer place to start than with this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Snowhitememoir

    Per chi come me ama i DM è sicuramente un libro da non perdere. Dalle origini, anzi prima, da quando i quattro di Basildon erano solo dei giovani con molti sogni fino al touring the Angel: vita (sopra le righe), morte (quasi) e miracoli (tanti) di una band che da quasi 30 anni riempie sempre stadi e arene di tutto il mondo. Mi ha persino commossa..e non credo vi sia difficile capire in quale punto esattamente!

  18. 4 out of 5

    JBP

    I already was pretty familiar with most of this history of the synth-pop Depeche Mode but decided to read it anyway to read more about their early days. Pretty rewarding as a history of the group and of the era in synthesizer music, the formation of Mute Records and other related topics. The book ends in 1999 so I'd like to see another chapter added in a more recent edition. I already was pretty familiar with most of this history of the synth-pop Depeche Mode but decided to read it anyway to read more about their early days. Pretty rewarding as a history of the group and of the era in synthesizer music, the formation of Mute Records and other related topics. The book ends in 1999 so I'd like to see another chapter added in a more recent edition.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Edwina

    What should I say: Just brilliant. I love Depeche Mode and call myself a DM maniac since 2001 but after reading this biography I am completely crazy and "just can't get enough" even if this is the only song I don't like. ;) Can't wait to read another biography and get to the Gahan and Gore biographies. The only thing that annoyed me a bit was the continuous list of magazine review quotes. What should I say: Just brilliant. I love Depeche Mode and call myself a DM maniac since 2001 but after reading this biography I am completely crazy and "just can't get enough" even if this is the only song I don't like. ;) Can't wait to read another biography and get to the Gahan and Gore biographies. The only thing that annoyed me a bit was the continuous list of magazine review quotes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Pretty poor biography, as music bios go. Written in broad sweeping strokes. I wonder if he spoke with the band much--he never really gives their perspective. It does make you wonder why he bothered writing it at all...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Petra Schuller

    dont like the band really... but my best friend is obsessed with them ( well she also is with the doors) so i thought i need to find out what this is all about. well, was better than i thought :) tragic but funny bits in it

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pauline MacLeod

    I really liked this book. It really went into detail about Dave Gahan's drug use, didn't realize it was as bad as it was. I do wish it had gone into more detail about his recovery. It was interesting to find out what each person is really like. I really liked this book. It really went into detail about Dave Gahan's drug use, didn't realize it was as bad as it was. I do wish it had gone into more detail about his recovery. It was interesting to find out what each person is really like.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Ellis

    Good read for fans (which I am) bit disappointing there were no photos.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anu Liikanen

    Very well written.

  25. 4 out of 5

    xshayarsha ♡

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sven De Dobbelaer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  28. 4 out of 5

    Poirot77

  29. 4 out of 5

    Silca

  30. 4 out of 5

    Milica Joksimović

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