Black Celebration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Black Celebration
Depeche Mode - Black Celebration.png
Studio album by
Released17 March 1986 (1986-03-17)
RecordedNovember 1985 – January 1986
Depeche Mode chronology
Catching Up with Depeche Mode
Black Celebration
Greatest Hits
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, 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.

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 15 on its "25 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Austin Chronicle[6]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[7]
Record Mirror[11]
Rolling Stone[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[13]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[14]

Contemporaneous 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 similarly 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 the album Pretty Hate Machine (1989).[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 reissues (along with Construction Time Again). The first CD was remastered and (except in the United States) released as a CD/SACD hybrid. The bonus DVD includes the album's B-sides in addition to the singles and B-sides for "Shake the Disease" and "It's Called a Heart", two singles released in the interim between Some Great Reward and Black Celebration. The reissue also includes several live versions of some of the songs from Black Celebration. The album is released as originally intended and ends with "New Dress" (not "Black Day" or "But Not Tonight").

As with the other reissues, the accompanying DVD includes a documentary film. The film's title, The Songs Aren't Good Enough, There Aren't Any Singles and It'll Never Get Played on the Radio, is a quote from the film in which Martin Gore paraphrases Daniel Miller's reaction to the album's early demos. The documentary includes much detail about the making of the album, its singles and the ensuing tour. Other highlights include the band meeting the Cure and behind-the-scenes footage of several of the music videos.

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

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Martin L. Gore, except where noted. All lead vocals by Dave Gahan, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Black Celebration" 4:55
2."Fly on the Windscreen – Final" 5:18
3."A Question of Lust"Gore4:20
5."It Doesn't Matter Two"Gore2:50
Side two
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
6."A Question of Time" 4:10
7."Stripped" 4:16
8."Here Is the House"Gahan and Gore4:15
9."World Full of Nothing"Gore2:50
10."Dressed in Black"Gahan and Gore2:32
11."New Dress" 3:42
Total length:41:01
CD bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
12."Breathing in Fumes"  6:07
13."But Not Tonight" (extended remix)  5:13
14."Black Day"Gore2:36
Total length:54:57
US LP, CD and cassette bonus track
12."But Not Tonight"4:15
Total length:45:16

2007 Collectors Edition (CD + DVD)[edit]

A short film
1."Depeche Mode: 1985–86: (The Songs Aren't Good Enough, There Aren't Any Singles and It'll Never Get Played on the Radio)" (written and produced by Roland Brown; directed by Ross Hallard and Phil Michael Lane)57:40
Black Celebration (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo)
1."Black Celebration"4:55
2."Fly on the Windscreen – Final"5:18
3."A Question of Lust"4:20
5."It Doesn't Matter Two"2:50
6."A Question of Time"4:10
8."Here Is the House"4:15
9."World Full of Nothing"2:50
10."Dressed in Black"2:32
11."New Dress"3:42
Live in Birmingham, April 1986 (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo)
12."Black Celebration"6:11
13."A Question of Time"4:37
Additional tracks (PCM Stereo)
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
15."Shake the Disease" Gahan and Gore4:52
16."Flexible"  3:14
17."It's Called a Heart"  3:51
18."Fly on the Windscreen"  5:07
19."But Not Tonight"  4:19
20."Breathing in Fumes"  6:08
21."Black Day"
  • Gore
  • Wilder
  • Miller
22."Christmas Island"
  • Gore
  • Wilder


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

Depeche Mode[edit]


  • 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



Certifications for Black Celebration
Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[40] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[41] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[42] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[43] 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. Retrieved 24 January 2019. 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 (29 September 2003). "Review: Depeche Mode, Violator". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  3. ^ "Xfm launches '25' series for influential albums". 31 January 2011. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Black Celebration". Acclaimed Music. 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. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  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. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  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.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 229–30. ISBN 0-743-20169-8.
  14. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. New York: 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. ^ Legaspi, Althea (11 May 2017). "Trent Reznor, Tony Hawk Talk Depeche Mode Fandom". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  19. ^ Black Celebration (liner notes). Depeche Mode. Mute Records. 1986. STCD 46026.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  20. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 88. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0681". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  23. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  24. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3, no. 17. 3 May 1986. p. 17. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  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.
  26. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste". InfoDisc (in French). Retrieved 24 January 2019. Select "DEPECHE MODE" from the drop-down menu and click "OK".
  27. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Classifiche". Musica e dischi (in Italian). Retrieved 1 June 2022. Select "Album" in the "Tipo" field, type "Black Celebration" in the "Titolo" field and press "cerca".
  29. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  30. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  31. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  32. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  33. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). "Depeche Mode". Indie Hits 1980–1989: The Complete U.K. Independent Charts (Singles & Albums). Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-95172-069-4. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  34. ^ "Depeche Mode Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2013. 21. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  37. ^ "European Hot 100 Albums – Hot 100 of the Year 1986" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3, no. 51/52. 27 December 1986. p. 35. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1986" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  39. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1986". (in German). Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  40. ^ "French album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 16 November 2021. Select DEPECHE MODE and click OK. 
  41. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Depeche Mode; 'Black Celebration')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  42. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". British Phonographic Industry. 21 March 1986. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  43. ^ "American album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Recording Industry Association of America. 11 August 1989.

External links[edit]