Martin Gore

Martin Gore
Martin Gore

Martin Gore in 2009
Background information
Birth name Martin Lee Gore
Born July 23, 1961 (1961-07-23) (age 50)
Origin Dagenham, Essex, England
Genres Alternative dance, synthpop, new wave
Instruments Guitar, vocals, synthesizer, bass guitar, piano, organ, harmonium, accordion, melodica, recorder
Years active 1979–present
Labels Mute
Associated acts Depeche Mode, Basic
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 "Personal Jesus", "Enjoy the Silence" and "I Feel You".

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", "Home", "The Things You Said", "Jezebel" and "Sweetest Perfection"), as evidenced by most of the Depeche Mode concerts, and has been a backing vocalist on many of the others.

In 1999 Gore received the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for "International Achievement".



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 with school friend Phil Burdett who later went on to become a singer/songwriter himself.

In 1980, Gore met Andy "Fletch" Fletcher at the Van Gogh club. Fletcher recruited Gore into his band Composition of Sound along with Vince Clarke. Soon the band drafted Dave 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 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 or Gretsch Double Anniversary 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 mid 1990 Gore stated -

I think in a way we've been at the forefront of new music; sort of chipping away at the standard rock format stations.

NME - July 1990[2]

On May 27, 1999 Gore was presented with an award for "International Achievement", by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, at the 44th Ivor Novello Awards, at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane. Gore was presented with his award by Daniel Miller, whose speech commended Gore's work as Depeche Mode's songwriter, and the fact that for nearly twenty 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][4]

Gore remains the primary songwriter for Depeche Mode.

Personal life

Gore's biological father was a black GI stationed in Britain.[5] 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."

In an interview for Revolver Magazine from 2001, writer J.D. Considine quotes Andrew 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." The 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." Considine also poses the question of whether 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.[6]

Gore currently lives in Santa Barbara, California. He is now divorced from his wife of twelve years, lingerie designer and model Suzanne Boisvert-Gore. He has three 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).

Martin is the uncle from Dean Micheal Oldfield & Louis Hyde, from the band Basic, also from Basildon and also playing synthpop influenced by Depeche Mode.

Solo discography

Studio albums

Title Details Peak chart positions
US Dan
Counterfeit² 102 32 52 12 23 79 3

Extended plays

Title Details Peak positions
Counterfeit e.p.
  • Release date: June 12, 1989
  • Label: Mute Records
  • Formats: CD, cassette


Year Single Peak chart positions Album

1989 "Compulsion" 18 Counterfeit e.p.
2003 "Stardust" 44 16 92 29 Counterfeit²
"Loverman" 53
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Covers and collaborations

  • Martin Gore played keyboard on two tracks from Annette & Inga Humpe, called "Happiness Is Hard To Take" & "Don't Know Where I Belong" from their 1985 album Humpe Humpe
  • 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 Gore sang backing vocals on the Client song "Overdrive" from their 2004 album City.
  • He played guitar on the Gwen Stefani song "Wonderful Life" on her 2006 album The Sweet Escape.
  • Gore collaborated on the band Onetwo's track "Cloud Nine" by playing the guitar and as songwriter of the song, which can be found on their 2007 album called Instead.
  • 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.[20]
  • Martin Gore sang backing vocals on the 2010 Nitzer Ebb track "Once You Say", included on their Industrial Complex album.
  • Also in 2010, Tim Simenon's Bomb the Bass album Back to Light was published, which is containing the instrumental "Milakia", co-written by Martin Gore during the Ultra sessions. Besides this Martin also played synthesizer on the track.[21]
  • The album Nameless from Compact Space, the band from Depeche Mode collaborators Christian Eigner, Daryl Bamonte & singer Florian Kraemmer includes a track "The Unstoppable Collision" with Martin Gore on guitar, which was released on 24 June 2011.
  • Martin sings lead vocals on the 2011 Motor single "Man Made Machine" from their forthcoming album, which 1rst premiered on radio channel BBC 6 on 8 May 2011.
Martin Gore / Vince Clarke collaboration

Former Depeche Mode colleague Vince Clarke collaborated with Martin on an instrumental minimalist electronic dance album, set to be released in early 2012


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 sang the verses while Gore sang the chorus (ex: "Everything Counts").

  • Black Celebration
    • "Here Is the House"
    • "Dressed in Black"
    • "Breathing in Fumes" [B-side to "Stripped"] (the transformed voice throughout the song is the one of Martin Gore)
  • Sounds of the Universe
    • "Little Soul"
    • "Peace"
    • "Hole to Feed"
    • "Corrupt"
    • "Oh Well" [bonus track]


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. It 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 (The World Violation Tour)
  • Here is the House (The World Violation Tour)
  • Condemnation (The Exotic Tour, Summer Tour '94, The Exciter Tour, Solo)
  • Waiting for the Night (The Exotic Tour)
  • Sister of Night (The Singles Tour, The Exciter Tour, Tour Of The Universe)
  • Dressed in Black (The Exciter Tour, Tour Of The Universe)
  • Surrender (The 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)


  • Malins, Steve. Depeche Mode : Black Celebration : The Biography. Andre Deutsch, 2007. ISBN 978-0-23300-1-784
  • Miller, Jonathan. Stripped: Depeche Mode 2003, 2004, Omnibus Press ISBN 1-84449-415-2
  • Tobler, John. NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd, 1992. CN 5585. ISBN 0-600-57602-7


  1. ^ Malins, p. 1
  2. ^ Tobler, p. 472
  3. ^ Pride, Dominic: "Cher, Hynde among Ivors' U.S winners Billboard Magazine, June 12, 1999. (p. 40). Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  4. ^ Video of Martin Gore receiving the Ivor Novello award Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Miller, pp. 318–319
  6. ^ Considine, J.D.: "Blank Celebration" Revolver May/June 2001. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  7. ^ "Chart Log UK: Gina G - GZA". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  8. ^ " - Danish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  9. ^ " - French charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts - German Albums". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  11. ^ " - Swedish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Official Swiss and Music Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Martin L. Gore Album & Song Chart History - Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Martin L. Gore Album & Song Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  15. ^ "Chart Stats - Martin L. Gore". Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  16. ^ " - Danish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  17. ^ " - French charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  18. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts - German Singles". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Martin L. Gore Album & Song Chart History - Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  20. ^ Official homepage of Nouvelle Vague
  21. ^ Bomb The Bass: "Back to Light" at Discogs Retrieved October 21, 2010.

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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