Black Celebration

Black Celebration
Depeche Mode - Black Celebration.png
Studio album by
Released 17 March 1986 (1986-03-17)
Recorded November 1985 – January 1986
Length 41:01
Label Mute
Depeche Mode chronology
Some Great Reward
Black Celebration
Music for the Masses
Singles from Black Celebration
  1. "Stripped"
    Released: 10 February 1986
  2. "A Question of Lust"
    Released: 14 April 1986
  3. "A Question of Time"
    Released: 11 August 1986
  4. "But Not Tonight"
    Released: 22 October 1986

Black Celebration is the fifth studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode. It was released on 17 March 1986 by Mute Records. The album further cemented the darkening sound created by Alan Wilder, which the band later used for their subsequent albums Music for the Masses, Violator, and Songs of Faith and Devotion, a sound that was initially hinted towards on their albums Construction Time Again and Some Great Reward.

Black Celebration reached number four on the UK Albums Chart, and has been cited as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s.[3] To promote the album, the band embarked on the Black Celebration Tour. Three years after its release, Spin ranked it at number fifteen on its list of the "25 Greatest Albums of All Time".[4]

Critical reception

Contemporary reviews for Black Celebration in the British press were mixed. Melody Maker's Steve Sutherland lambasted the album and wrote that Depeche Mode came off as "pussycats desperate to appear perverted as an escape from the superficiality of teen stardom",[15] and Sounds published a similar scathing review.[16] While criticizing chief songwriter Martin Gore's "adolescent fragments of despair", Sean O'Hagan of NME nonetheless praised Black Celebration's "perfectly constructed jigsaw melodies" and concluded, "When the songs address topics other than the composer's state of mind – as on the evocative exploration of loneliness that is 'World Full of Nothing' – Depeche Mode sound like a lot more than just a high tech, low-life melodrama".[17] Betty Page of Record Mirror felt that the band should be admired for their "refusal to follow anything but their own fashion" and "unswerving ability to come up with great, fresh melodies".[11]

Black Celebration has since been reappraised in retrospective reviews. In 2007, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone referred to the album as an "instant classic for the band's fans" that at the time of its release had seemingly been "utterly ignored by everybody else".[12]

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails cited Black Celebration, and its subsequent tour, as an influence and said it helped inspire him to write Pretty Hate Machine.[18]


In 2007, Black Celebration was re-released with a bonus DVD. It was released on 20 March 2007 in the United States, on 26 March in the United Kingdom and on 2 April in the rest of Europe, as a part of the third wave of re-issues (along with Construction Time Again). The first CD was remastered and (except in the US) released on a CD/SACD hybrid. The bonus DVD includes the B-sides in addition to the singles and B-sides for "Shake the Disease" and "It's Called a Heart", two songs that were recorded shortly before the album and were released too early to be put on the album. There are also several live versions of some of the songs from Black Celebration. The album is released the way it was originally intended and ends with "New Dress" (not "Black Day" or "But Not Tonight").

Like the other reissues, the DVD includes a documentary on the album. The title—The Songs Aren't Good Enough, There Aren't Any Singles and It'll Never Get Played on the Radio—is Gore paraphrasing Daniel Miller about his demos for Black Celebration in the film. The double-documentary discusses both The Singles 81→85 and Black Celebration, its more challenging commercial success (especially the song "Stripped") and all five related singles. It also includes a plethora of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Black Celebration and the ensuing tour. Highlights include the band meeting The Cure, and behind the scenes footage of several of the music videos. The documentary is nearly an hour long.

The remastered album was released on vinyl on 2 April 2007 in Europe and on 11 September 2007 in the United States.

Track listing

All lead vocals by Dave Gahan, except where noted.

All tracks are written by Martin L. Gore, except where noted.

2007 Collectors Edition CD + DVD


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Black Celebration.[19]

Depeche Mode


  • Depeche Mode – production
  • Gareth Jones – production
  • Daniel Miller – production
  • Richard Sullivan – engineering assistance
  • Peter Schmidt – engineering assistance
  • Tim Young – mastering
  • Dave Allen – recording on "Fly on the Windscreen – Final"
  • Phil Tennant – recording assistance on "Fly on the Windscreen – Final"


  • Martyn Atkins – design
  • David A. Jones – design
  • Mark Higenbottam – design
  • Brian Griffin – photography
  • Stuart Graham – photography assistance



Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[38] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[39] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[41] Gold 500,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Zaleski, Annie (26 February 2015). "Where to start with '80s U.K. synth-pop". The A.V. Club. A late-night record alternating between brittle ballads and industrial-sounding synth-pop—a poignant tug of war between man and machine.
  2. ^ Cinquemani, Sal. "Review: Depeche Mode, Violator". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Xfm launches '25' series for influential albums". 31 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Acclaimed Music - Black Celebration". Archived from the original on 17 March 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  5. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Black Celebration – Depeche Mode". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. ^ Gray, Christopher (15 June 2007). "Reissues". The Austin Chronicle.
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  8. ^ "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". NME. London. 1 July 1995. p. 50. ISSN 0028-6362.
  9. ^ Keefe, Michael (9 May 2007). "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration / Construction Time Again". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". Q. No. 106. London. July 1995. p. 139. ISSN 0955-4955.
  11. ^ a b Page, Betty (15 March 1986). "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". Record Mirror. London. ISSN 0144-5804.
  12. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (April 2007). "Into the Mode". Rolling Stone. New York. p. 66. ISSN 0035-791X.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Depeche Mode". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 229–30. ISBN 0-743-20169-8.
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  15. ^ Sutherland, Steve (15 March 1986). "Black in the Night". Melody Maker. London. ISSN 0025-9012.
  16. ^ Murphy, Kevin (15 March 1986). "Comic Strip". Sounds. London.
  17. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (15 March 1986). "Nipple Erectors". NME. London. ISSN 0028-6362.
  18. ^ "Trent Reznor, Tony Hawk Talk Depeche Mode Fandom". Rolling Stone. 11 May 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  19. ^ Black Celebration (liner notes). Depeche Mode. Mute Records. 1986. STCD 46026.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 88. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
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  23. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
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  25. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
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  27. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  28. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  29. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  30. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
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  32. ^ "Depeche Mode Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  33. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2013. 21. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
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  37. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1986". Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  38. ^ "French album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 16 November 2021. Select DEPECHE MODE and click OK. 
  39. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Depeche Mode; 'Black Celebration')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  40. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". British Phonographic Industry. 21 March 1986.
  41. ^ "American album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Recording Industry Association of America. 11 August 1989.

External links