One Hundred Fifty-Eight.
I have lots of updates to post. Things are going pretty well, I suppose. I have a big DJ performance coming up on October 19th in Tulsa. The details will be revealed soon; you might want to "like" the DJ Badger Facebook page if you want to the forthcoming info ASAP.
It's a big anniversary today. Twenty-five years ago today, Depeche Mode released their landmark single, "Never Let Me Down Again."
The song was exceptionally dark and heavy - arguably more so than any of their prior singles. Although it wouldn't prove to be their most commercially successful effort, it quickly became a significant fan favourite.
More importantly... this is THE song that really "got me into" Depeche Mode's music. That, in turn, got me more into the synthpop music of the day... and thus, this song changed my life.
I didn't hear the track upon its release. In fact, in August of 1987, I hadn't heard anything by Depeche Mode since their 1984 single, "People Are People."
A bit later in the fall of 1987, I started watching the syndicated television show, "New Grooves with Meg Griffin." Meg was a radio DJ who presented a show every week with the latest "alternative" or "progressive" tracks. (This was back when "alternative" actually meant something.)
While watching "New Grooves," I was geeked because I was seeing and hearing artists I'd never I had never heard before on Tulsa's pop radio. I heard tracks by artists like the Smiths, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Mission [UK]. I liked what I heard, but I was not familiar with many of the artists.
Then.... in the second episode of "New Grooves" that I was lucky enough to catch, Meg introduced "Never Let Me Down Again" as a new Depeche Mode track. I was blown away. I had liked "People Are People" quite a bit, but I was NUTS about "Never Let Me Down Again." I had recorded the episode on VHS tape, and I watched that video - which I didn't even realize was an abbreviated version starting with the second verse! - DOZENS of times.
I campaigned hard for a copy of Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses on cassette (yes, cassette!) for Christmas. I was thrilled to find that it was one of my stocking stuffers.
I started playing the album on my boom box repeatedly, often while playing "Kid Niki: Radical Ninja" on the NES - one of my other 1987 Christmas gifts. While sitting there in my parents' bedroom, running around eliminating bad ninjas, I slowly but surely memorized Music for the Masses. Obviously, the album introduced me to lots of their other songs, including the exceptional singles "Strangelove," "Behind the Wheel," and "Little 15."
Nothing on there quite compared to "Never Let Me Down Again," though. A couple of months later in February 1988, I was introduced to the DJ industry by my friend Dave, and after learning what a "twelve-inch single" was, I set out to find remixes of "Never Let Me Down Again." Soon after, I acquired the official remixes on vinyl... and then later in 1988 I discovered the magic of "import" singles... and that just fueled my Depeche Mode obsession further (much to the detriment of my finances). I eventually became one of the biggest authorities on the subject of Depeche Mode in my part of the country.
It's a little tough to accept that this great song is now a quarter of a century old. To this day, "Never Let Me Down Again" has continued to be one of my absolute favourite Depeche Mode songs, which also include "Ice Machine," "Black Celebration," "Stripped," and "Walking in My Shoes." The band seem to like it as well; it has been a mainstay of their live performances since its release, and it's always a special thrill to hear them perform it in concert.
"Never Let Me Down Again" is a testament to how influential a song can be. In this particular case, this one single song changed the course of my life.