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Martin Gore

Martin Gore in 2009
Background information
Born July 23, 1961 (1961-07-23) (age 48)
Origin Dagenham, Essex, England
Genres Synthpop, Alternative dance, New Wave, Alternative rock, Electronica
Instruments Guitar, Vocals, Keyboards, Bass
Years active 1979–present
Labels Mute
Associated acts Depeche Mode
Notable instruments
Gretsch Anniversary models
Gretsch White Falcon

Martin Lee Gore (born 23 July 1961) [1]) is an English songwriter, lyricist, singer, guitarist, keyboardist, remixer and DJ. He is a founding member of Depeche Mode and has written the vast majority of their songs. His work now spans over three decades, but he is probably best known as the composer of hits such as "People Are People", "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence". In 1999 Martin Gore received the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters for "International Achievement".[2] In addition to composing music and writing lyrics of the Depeche Mode songs, he has also sung some of them as the lead vocalist, and usually solo, (for example, "Somebody", "A Question of Lust", "One Caress", "The Things You Said", and "Sweetest Perfection"), as evidenced by most of the Depeche Mode concerts, and has been a backing vocalist on many of the others.



Martin Gore of Depeche Mode outside a hotel, just before leaving for a concert. (Los Angeles, July 1986)

Gore was born at Dagenham, Essex, England. He left Nicholas School, Basildon, in 1977 and took a job as a bank cashier. During evenings, weekends and any other spare time, he was involved with the local band Norman and the Worms.

In 1980, Gore met Andrew "Fletch" Fletcher at the Van Gogh club. Fletcher recruited Gore into his band with Vince Clarke, Composition of Sound. Soon the band drafted David Gahan to be the lead singer after hearing him sing "Heroes" by David Bowie. Gahan is credited with the name "Depeche Mode" after seeing the phrase as a title of a French fashion magazine, which later considered taking them to court, but thought it would be good publicity for the magazine to let the band have the name.

Clarke left Depeche Mode in late-1981 shortly after the release of the debut album Speak & Spell. Gore then became the band's main songwriter. Gore sings lead vocals on several of the band's songs, notably ballads, his tenor voice providing a contrast to David Gahan's dramatic baritone. Clarke wrote most of Depeche Mode's first album, Speak & Spell. Gore contributed two tracks, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the instrumental "Big Muff". "Any Second Now (voices)" features Gore's first lead vocals for the band. When Clarke announced his departure from Depeche Mode in 1981, citing the pressures of fame and creative differences, Gore took over songwriting. Gore had been writing material since the age of twelve.

Songs Gore wrote for Depeche Mode's second album, A Broken Frame (1982) differed musically and lyrically from Clarke's. Gore's writing became gradually darker and more political on subsequent Depeche Mode albums.

Gore sometimes uses guitar, typically his Gretsch White Falcon, on Depeche Mode songs. The first time guitar was used as the main instrument was on "Personal Jesus", although he used small guitar parts on previous songs, such as Behind the Wheel. Gore's guitar playing developed even more on Songs of Faith and Devotion. However in live performances, he switches his keyboards for his guitar on some older Depeche Mode songs, such as Never Let Me Down Again and A Question of Time.

In 1999 Martin was presented with an award for "International Achievement", by the British Academy of Composers & Songwriters, at the 44th Ivor Ivor Novello Awards, at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane. Martin was presented with his award by Daniel Miller, whose speech commended Martin's work as Depeche Mode's songwriter, and the fact that for nearly 20 years the band have managed to connect, through their music, with people all over the world. Other attendees at the music industry-only event included Rod Stewart and Robbie Williams.[3]

Gore remains the primary songwriter for Depeche Mode.

Personal life

Gore's biological father was an African-American GI stationed in Britain[4]. Gore was raised by his stepfather and biological mother and, as an adult, met his father in the American South. Gore responds to the source's information and is quoted in Miller's book saying, "It brings up family traumas" and "It's one of those things I'd rather not talk about."

Writer J.D. Constantine interviewed Andrew Fletcher for Revolver Magazine (May/June 2001 Issue). Constantine quotes Fletcher: "Actually, his (Gore's) dad is American, and he's black and lives in Virginia" says Fletcher. "Since then, Martin's met his dad... He looks the spitting image of Martin." (Revolver Magazine, May/June 2001, page 52.) Constantine's article briefly addresses Gore's lyrics from "Goodnight Lovers" from Exciter, positing a possible racial connotation with line "When you're born a lover, you're born to suffer / Like all soul sisters and soul brothers." Constantine also poses the question of whether or not Depeche Mode can be considered an "American band," based on where the members resided at time of writing in 2001 and also Gore's biological heritage.

Gore currently lives in Santa Barbara, California. He is now divorced from his wife of 12 years, lingerie designer and model Suzanne Boisvert-Gore. He has 3 children: two daughters Viva Lee Gore (born June 6, 1991) and Ava Lee Gore (born August 21, 1995) and a son Calo Leon Gore (born July 27, 2002).


In November 2009, Martin Gore was subpoenaed by a gamer in a lawsuit involving World of Warcraft. The gamer, Erik Estavillo, said that he subpoenaed Gore in his US$1 million suit "to be a witness on 'alienation' and the ties it has to World of Warcraft, since he [Gore] himself has been known to be sad, lonely and alienated, as can be seen in the songs he writes."[5]

Solo discography


  1. Counterfeit e.p. (Mute STUMM 67, 1989)
  2. Counterfeit² (Mute STUMM 214, 2003)

In 2003, Mute released Gore's Counterfeit², a follow up solo cover album to the 1989 Counterfeit EP. Both feature only versions of material by other songwriters.


Year Title Chart positions Album
US Hot 100 US Modern Rock US Mainstream Rock UK
1989 "Compulsion" #18 Counterfeit
2003 "Stardust" #44 Counterfeit²
"Loverman EP²"

Covers and collaborations

  • Martin contributes a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Coming Back To You" on the 1995 tribute album Tower of Song: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen
  • Martin sang backing vocals on the Client song "Overdrive".
  • He also played guitar on the Gwen Stefani song "Wonderful Life" on her 2006 album The Sweet Escape.
  • He collaborated on the band Onetwo's track "Cloud Nine" by playing the guitar and as songwriter of the song.
  • On 16 June 2009, a French band called Nouvelle Vague released a cover of Depeche Mode song "Master and Servant" on their album 3, with leading vocal of Melanie Pain. The album credits added the label "feat. Martin Gore" to that song, since Gore sings the backing vocals.[6]
  • In 2010, on the Nitzer Ebb track "Once You Say", Gore sang backing vocals, included on their Industrial Complex album.


  • 1994 Spirit Feel – "Rejoice" (Mystic Span Mix)
  • 1995 Garbage – "Queer" (The Most Beautiful Woman in Town Mix)
  • 1999 ON – "Soluble Words" (Sublingual Remix)
  • 2003 Señor Coconut And His Orchestra – "Smooth Operator" (In-Disguise Remix)

Depeche Mode songs with Gore on lead vocals

Depeche Mode's lead vocals are generally handled by David Gahan, but on occasion Gore will sing lead vocals. These are all the songs he sings in chronological order:


These are songs where Gahan and Gore have around equal singing time, in chronological order. In some instances, both sing at the same time (ex: "Behind the Wheel"), and in others, Gahan sings the verses while Gore sings the chorus (ex: "Everything Counts").

  • Shouldn't Have Done That [A Broken Frame]
  • Everything Counts (with grabbing hands, all for themselves) [Construction Time Again]
  • Something to Do [Some Great Reward] (the 2004 Black Strobe remix completely loses Gahan's voice)
  • People Are People (i can't understand what makes a man hate another man help me understand) [Some Great Reward]
  • Shake the Disease (understand me) [Catching Up with Depeche Mode]
  • Here is the House [Black Celebration]
  • Never Let Me Down Again [Music for the Masses], in some live versions Gore even sings Gahan verses.
  • Behind the Wheel [Music for the Masses]
  • Pleasure, Little Treasure [B-side to "Never Let Me Down Again"]
  • Waiting for the Night [Violator]
  • Insight [Ultra]
  • Surrender [B-side to "Only When I Lose Myself"], albeit only towards the end of the track
  • Dream On [Exciter]
  • The Sinner In Me [Playing the Angel]
  • Nothing's Impossible [Playing the Angel]
  • Newborn [B-side to "A Pain That I'm Used To"]
  • Little Soul [Sounds of the Universe]
  • Peace [Sounds of the Universe]
  • Hole to Feed [Sounds of the Universe]
  • Corrupt [Sounds of the Universe]


These are songs that Gore has sung lead live, although the studio versions are sung by Gahan, in chronological order of the song's first live performance by Gore. Includes his solo concerts in 2003. To date, the only Gore-lead song that was sung by Gahan live was "Route 66" which was the closer during the World Violation Tour.

  • Little 15 (World Violation Tour)
  • Here is the House (World Violation Tour)
  • Condemnation (Exotic Tour, Exciter Tour, Solo)
  • Waiting for the Night (Exotic Tour)
  • Sister of Night (The Singles Tour, Exciter Tour, Tour Of The Universe)
  • Dressed in Black (Exciter Tour, Tour Of The Universe)
  • Surrender (Exciter Tour, Solo)
  • Only When I Lose Myself (Solo only)
  • In Your Room (Solo only)
  • Walking in My Shoes (Solo only)
  • The Love Thieves (Solo only)
  • Enjoy the Silence (Solo only)
  • Shake the Disease (Solo, Touring the Angel, Tour Of The Universe)
  • Leave in Silence (Touring The Angel)
  • Little Soul (Tour Of The Universe)
  • Freelove (Tour Of The Universe)
  • Clean (Tour Of The Universe)
  • Insight (Tour Of The Universe)


Miller, Jonathan "Stripped: Depeche Mode" 2003, 2004, Omnibus Press ISBN 1-84449-415-2


  1. ^ Malins, Steve. "Depeche Mode - Black Celebration"
  2. ^ Video of receiving the Ivor Novello Award
  3. ^
  4. ^ Miller, Jonathan (2003). Stripped: Depeche Mode. Omnibus Press. pp. 318–319. ISBN 1-84449-415-2. 
  5. ^ Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore subpoenaed by crazy gamer in 'World of Warcraft' lawsuit
  6. ^ Homepage of Nouvelle Vagues

External links

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