Master and Servant

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This article is about a song by Depeche Mode. For other uses, see Master and servant.
"Master and Servant"
Single by Depeche Mode
from the album Some Great Reward
B-side "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me"
Released 20 August 1984
Format Vinyl record (7" and 12")
CD (1991 box set)
Recorded May 1984
Music Works in Highbury,
Hansa Mischraum in Berlin
Length 3:46 (7"/single version)
3:27 (edit)
9:38 (12" version)
4:12 (album version)
Label Mute Records
Writer(s) Martin Gore
Depeche Mode singles chronology
"People Are People"
"Master and Servant"
"Blasphemous Rumours / Somebody"

"Master and Servant" is Depeche Mode's eleventh UK single (released on 20 August 1984) and the second single from the Some Great Reward album. Despite controversy surrounding the song, it still managed to reach number 9 in the UK Singles Chart.[3] It also peaked at number 49 in the American dance chart[4] and at number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100[4]

Conception and composition[edit]

The overtly sexual, BDSM-themed lyrics of "Master and Servant" — complete with synthesized whip-and-chain sound effects — reportedly meant that the song was banned by many radio stations in the United States (although the song reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart anyway, albeit only at number 87[4] and for only a three-week chart stay).

Reportedly, the song narrowly avoided a radio ban by the BBC as well. "Master and Servant" might have been banned if the one BBC staffer who wanted to ban the record had not been away on holiday at the time the other staffers voted on whether to add "Master and Servant" to their playlist.[5]

Recording and production[edit]

The production and mixing process of "Master and Servant" are remembered by Alan Wilder, Daniel Miller, and Gareth Jones, as among the longest that Depeche Mode ever endured. One famous story about the song includes a mixing duration of seven days, and after all the reworking and final mastering of the mix, they realized they left the channel with the snare drum muted during the last chorus.

Some of the sounds on "Master and Servant", such as the whip effect, are based on Daniel Miller standing in the studio hissing and spitting. According to the band, they tried to sample a real whip but "it was hopeless".[5]

Music video[edit]

The "Master and Servant" music video was directed by Clive Richardson.

Release history[edit]

The "Slavery Whip Mix" was the longest 12" Depeche Mode song at the time, with the outro being turned into a swing version of the refrain. The "Voxless" version is an instrumental mix of the song. The B-side is "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me", featuring a 12-inch "Release Mix". The 7" version edits out much of the beginning.

Some versions include a song called "Are People People?" which uses samples from "People Are People" along with chanting. Both "Are People People?" and "Master and Servant (An ON-USound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic)" appear on Remixes 81–04 in 2004. They are remixed by Adrian Sherwood.

Track listings[edit]

7": Mute / 7Bong6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Master and Servant" – 3:46
  2. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me" – 4:12

7": Sire / 7-28918 (US)[edit]

  1. "Master and Servant" [edit] – 3:27
  2. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me" – 4:12

12": Mute / 12Bong6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Master and Servant (Slavery Whip Mix)" – 9:38
  2. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me (Release Mix)" – 8:49
  3. "Master and Servant (Voxless)" – 4:00

L12": Mute / L12Bong6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Master and Servant (An ON-USound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic)" – 4:34
  2. "Are People People?" – 4:29
  3. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me" – 4:12

Track 1 was re-released on the 2- and 3-disc CD versions of Remixes 81–04, while track 2 only appears on the 3-disc version.

=12": Sire / 0-20283 (US)[edit]

  1. "Master and Servant (US Black and Blue Mix)" – 8:02 (edited by Joseph Watt)
  2. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me" (US 12" Mix) – 7:59 (edited by Joseph Watt)
  3. "Are People People?" – 4:29

CD: Mute / CDBong6 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Master and Servant" – 3:46
  2. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me" – 4:12
  3. "Master and Servant (Slavery Whip Mix)" – 9:38
  4. "(Set Me Free) Remotivate Me (Release Mix)" – 8:49
  5. "Master and Servant (Voxless)" – 4:00

The CD single was released in 1991 as part of the singles box set compilations

All songs written by Martin Gore.

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Depeche Mode – Master and Servant". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 23 June 2013. Even more of an industrial anthem than its predecessors, "Master and Servant" doesn't merely codify the implicit bondage/domination doings of said perceived scene in its lyrics 
  3. ^ a b "Archive Chart: 1984-09-22" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Depeche Mode – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. 
  5. ^ a b Jenkins, Mark (22 September 1984). September 1984/ Blasphemy Rewarded at the Wayback Machine (archived 22 September 1984). Melody Maker. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  7. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Master And Servant" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  8. ^ "Master And Servant – DEPECHE MODE" (in Dutch). Top 30. Retrieved 26 July 2013. Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 6 
  9. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Master And Servant" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  10. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Master And Servant". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – All there is to know". When searching "Master & servant". Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  12. ^ "Indice per Interprete: D" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  13. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Master And Servant" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  14. ^ "MASTER AND SERVANT – Depeche Mode" (in Polish). LP3. Retrieved 23 July 2013. 
  15. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Master And Servant". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  16. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Master And Servant". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 

External links[edit]