Black Celebration

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Black Celebration
Depeche Mode - Black Celebration.png
Studio album by Depeche Mode
Released17 March 1986 (1986-03-17)
RecordedNovember 1985 – January 1986
StudioWestside Studios, Genetic Studios (London); Hansa Mischraum (Berlin)
ProducerDepeche Mode, Gareth Jones, Daniel Miller
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, 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 the acclaimed and globally successful 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.

The album entered the UK charts the week after its release at no. 4, making it their most successful to date and their highest placed album of the decade in their native country. The band said in 1998 during an interview available on The Videos 86–98 DVD, Black Celebration has been cited as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s.[2] To promote the album, the band embarked on the Black Celebration Tour.

Three years after its release, Spin ranked it at number 15 in its list of "The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
The Austin Chronicle4.5/5 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[6]
Q3/5 stars[9]
Record Mirror4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[12]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[13]

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",[14] and Sounds published a similar scathing review.[15] 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".[16] 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".[10]

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".[11]


In 2007, Black Celebration was re-released with a bonus DVD. It was released 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 re-issues, 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 Martin 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.

It was released 20 March 2007 in the US, 26 March in the UK and 2 April in the rest of Europe.

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

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Martin Gore, except "Black Day" written by Gore, Alan Wilder and Daniel Miller, and "Christmas Island" written by Gore and Wilder.

Side one
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
Side two
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
Total length:41:01

2007 re-release bonus 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)
2."Black Celebration"4:55
3."Fly on the Windscreen – Final"5:18
4."A Question of Lust"4:20
6."It Doesn't Matter Two"2:50
7."A Question of Time"4:10
9."Here Is the House"4:15
10."World Full of Nothing"2:50
11."Dressed in Black"2:32
12."New Dress"3:42
Live in Birmingham, April 1986 (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo)
13."Black Celebration"6:11
14."A Question of Time"4:37
Additional tracks (PCM Stereo)
16."Shake the Disease"4:52
18."It's Called a Heart"3:51
19."Fly on the Windscreen"5:07
20."But Not Tonight"4:19
21."Breathing in Fumes"6:08
22."Black Day"2:39
23."Christmas Island"3:50


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Black Celebration.[17]



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[33] Gold 113,900[33]
Germany (BVMI)[34] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[36] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Where to start with '80s U.K. synth-pop". Annie Zaleski. Retrieved 18 December 2015. A late-night record alternating between brittle ballads and industrial-sounding synth-pop—a poignant tug of war between man and machine.
  2. ^ "Xfm launches '25' series for influential albums". 31 Jan 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  3. ^ Acclaimed Music - Black Celebration
  4. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Black Celebration – Depeche Mode". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  5. ^ Gray, Christopher (15 June 2007). "Reissues". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". NME. London: 50. 1 July 1995.
  8. ^ Keefe, Michael (9 May 2007). "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration / Construction Time Again". PopMatters. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". Q. London (106): 139. July 1995.
  10. ^ a b Page, Betty (15 March 1986). "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". Record Mirror. London.
  11. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (April 2007). "Into the Mode". Rolling Stone. New York: 66.
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Depeche Mode". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 229–30. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ Sutherland, Steve (15 March 1986). "Black In The Night". Melody Maker. London.
  15. ^ Murphy, Kevin (15 March 1986). "Comic Strip". Sounds. London.
  16. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (15 March 1986). "Nipple Erectors". NME. London.
  17. ^ Black Celebration (CD liner notes). Depeche Mode. Mute Records. 1986. STCD 46026.
  18. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ "Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  20. ^ "RPM100 Albums". RPM. 44 (11). 7 June 1986. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  22. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original (select "DEPECHE MODE" and click "OK") on 4 August 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Depeche Mode, Black Celebration" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  24. ^ a b "Gli album più venduti del 1986" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  25. ^ "Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  26. ^ "Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  27. ^ "Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  28. ^ "1986 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. 29 March 1986. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  29. ^ "Depeche Mode – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  30. ^ "Top 40 album-, DVD- és válogatáslemez-lista – 2013. 21. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  31. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  32. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1986". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Les Albums Or" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  34. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Depeche Mode; 'Black Celebration')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  35. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". British Phonographic Industry. 21 March 1986. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Black Celebration in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Recording Industry Association of America. 11 August 1989. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.