Martin Gore

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Martin Gore
Gore in 2009
Gore in 2009
Background information
Birth nameMartin Lee Gore
Born (1961-07-23) 23 July 1961 (age 60)
OriginLondon, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • DJ
Associated acts

Martin Lee Gore (born 23 July 1961)[1] is an English songwriter, musician, singer, record producer, and DJ. He is one of the founding members of the electronic rock band Depeche Mode[2] and is its primary songwriter.[3] Gore is the band's guitarist and keyboardist, contributes backing vocals,[4] and occasionally provides lead vocals.[5][6] Gore possesses a tenor singing voice which contrasts with Dave Gahan's dramatic baritone and is also known for his flamboyant and (sometimes) androgynous stage persona. Gore has also released several solo albums and collaborated with former Depeche Mode member Vince Clarke as part of VCMG.[7]

Gore's lyrics included themes such as sex, religion, and politics.[8] Gore has said he feels lyrical themes which tackle issues related to solitude and loneliness are a better representation of reality, whereas he finds "happy songs" fake and unrealistic.[9] At the same time, he asserts that the band's music contains "an element of hope."[10]

In 1999, he received the Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors for "International Achievement", the Moog Innovation Award "for his many contributions to the exploration of sound in popular music" in 2019, and became a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member in late 2020 with fellow Depeche Mode members, Andrew Fletcher and Dave Gahan.[11]

Early life[edit]

Martin Lee Gore was born in London, England. Gore's biological father was an African-American G.I. stationed in Britain.[12] Gore was raised by his stepfather David Gore and biological mother Pamela who both worked at the Ford of Britain motor plant in Dagenham.[13] He believed his stepfather was his biological father until age 13, when he learned of his biological father. As an adult, Gore met his biological father in the American South.[12] Gore has described his upbringing as "normal" and "stable" but said he was also an introvert and preferred to spend time reading alone rather than with school peers. However, he also stated that he enjoyed his time at school and took part in foreign exchange trips.[13]

Gore taught himself to play keyboard from the 1970s, never receiving formal tuition. He learned to perform chart hits, figuring out their structures via the magazine Disco 45.[14] Gore left Nicholas Comprehensive, Basildon after completing his A-levels in 1979 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.[15][16] Gore became interested in electronic music upon hearing acts such as Kraftwerk, the Human League and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD).[14] He borrowed a Korg 700S from a friend, before purchasing a Yamaha CS5, his first synthesizer.[14]

Gore has two younger half-sisters, Karen, born in 1967, and Jacqueline, born in 1968.[17]

Depeche Mode[edit]

Gore in 1986

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 band's lead singer after hearing him sing "Heroes" by David Bowie.[18] Gore is the band's keyboardist, contributes backing vocals,[4] and occasionally provides lead vocals.[5][6]

When explaining the choice for the band name Depeche Mode (which was taken from French fashion magazine Dépêche mode),[19] Gore said, "It means hurried fashion or fashion dispatch. I like the sound of that."[20] However, the magazine's name (and hence the band's) is "Fashion News" or "Fashion Update".[21]

Gore wrote two tracks on Depeche Mode's debut album, Speak & Spell: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and the instrumental "Big Muff".[22] "Any Second Now (voices)" features Gore's first lead vocals for the band.[18] When Clarke announced his departure from Depeche Mode in 1981, Gore became the principal songwriter for the band.[3] 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.[18] He sings lead vocals on several of the band's songs, notably ballads – his tenor voice provides a contrast to Gahan's dramatic baritone.[23][24][25]

Gore sometimes plays guitar (typically his Gretsch White Falcon or Gretsch Double Anniversary) on Depeche Mode songs.[26][27][28] 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" and "Love, in Itself". Gore's guitar playing developed even more on Songs of Faith and Devotion.[29] 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".[30][31] In mid-1990, Gore said, "I think in a way we've been at the forefront of new music; sort of chipping away at the standard rock format stations."[32]

Other work[edit]

Gore has released the following solo albums: Counterfeit (1989), Counterfeit2 (2003), MG (2015) and The Third Chimpanzee (2021).


Former Depeche Mode colleague Vince Clarke collaborated with Gore for the first time since 1981 as techno duo VCMG on an instrumental minimalist electronic dance album called Ssss, released on 12 March 2012. The first single, Spock was first released worldwide exclusively on Beatport on 30 November 2011.[33][34] The second, Single Blip was once again first released exclusively on Beatport on 20 February 2012, and the third one, Aftermaths was released on 20 August 2012.[35]


In late February 2015, several teaser images were displayed on Gore's official Facebook page,[36] citing a hashtag "MGxMG" which was later revealed to be a promotional tool for his new solo studio album, titled MG (named after his previous collaborative album, VCMG, with Vince Clarke from 2012). In a news post on his official website and various social media on 2 March, this confirmation of his new studio album announced its release would be on 27 or 28 April and previewed a track, Europa Hymn, from the new album.[37][38]

Electric Ladyboy studio[edit]

Gore has a personal studio in Santa Monica with a sizeable collection of Euroracks, Moog and Erica synthesizers (among others), where he recorded his solo work and wrote music for Depeche Mode.[39][40][41][42][43][44][45]


On 27 May 1999, Gore was presented with an award by Daniel Miller for "International Achievement" by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors at the 44th Ivor Novello Awards.[46][47]

Martin received the Moog Innovation Award "for his many contributions to the exploration of sound in popular music" in 2019.[48]

Musical pioneer Martin Gore's masterful electronic meditations on the human condition have illuminated the connection between transformative sound and pure emotion for decades. A founding member of the band Depeche Mode, Gore's sensual electronic compositions and introspective lyrics have resonated with faithful audiences around the world and impacted the direction of countless visionary artists from Trent Reznor to Johnny Cash. Gore's enduring ability to connect the rawest aspects of the human experience to the dance floor defined an era and perpetually reminds us what it means to be human through the emotional power of electronic sound.

— Moog[48]

Personal life[edit]

Gore lives in Santa Barbara, California.[49] He started dating lingerie designer and model Suzanne Boisvert after meeting in Paris in 1989. They married in August 1994, had three children and divorced in 2006.[50][51][52][18] He remarried with Kerrilee Kaski in June 2014 and had two daughters.[53][50][54]

He suffered from stress-induced seizures during the band's 1993 Devotional Tour[55] and publicly acknowledged his past alcoholism.[56] He also became a vegetarian for health and moral reasons (along with Alan Wilder) in 1983.[57][58]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
US Dan
Counterfeit² 102 32 52 12 25 23 79 3
  • Release date: 27 April 2015
  • Label: Mute Records
  • Formats: LP, CD, music download
50 90 7 28 1

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions
Counterfeit e.p.
  • Release date: 12 June 1989
  • Label: Mute Records
  • Formats: CD, LP album, cassette
51 41 156
MG Remix EP
  • Release date: 9 October 2015
  • Label: Mute Records
  • Formats: 12" vinyl, digital bundle
The Third Chimpanzee
  • Release date: 29 January 2021
  • Label: Mute Records
  • Formats: 12” vinyl, digital bundle, CD, streaming

with VCMG[edit]


Year Single Peak chart positions Album

1989 "Compulsion" 18 Counterfeit e.p.
"In a Manner of Speaking" In a Manner of Speaking
2003 "Stardust" 44 16 92 29 28 Counterfeit²
"Loverman" 53
2015 "Europa Hymn" MG
"Pinking" (Christoffer Berg Remix) MG
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart.

Other appearances[edit]

Year Song Album Notes
1995 "Coming Back To You" Tower of Song: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen Gore sings lead vocals on a cover version of the Leonard Cohen song.
2004 "Overdrive" City Recorded with female duo Client. Gore sings backing vocals on this track.
2009 "Master and Servant (feat. Martin Gore)" 3 Cover of the 1984 Depeche Mode hit, recorded with French band Nouvelle Vague. Lead vocal by Melanie Pain, with Gore on backing vocals.[73]
2010 "Once You Say" Industrial Complex Recorded with Nitzer Ebb. Gore sings backing vocals on this track.
2011–12 "Man Made Machine" Man Made Machine Recorded with Motor. Gore sings lead vocals on both EP version (2011), and on the album of the same name (2012).
2012 All tracks Ssss All songs co-written and performed with Vince Clarke as the duo VCMG (see below).
2016 "Only You & You Alone" Another Fall from Grace Backing vocals on the album from the English band The Mission.[74]



  • Malins, Steve. Depeche Mode : Black Celebration : The Biography. Andre Deutsch, 2007. ISBN 978-0-233-00178-4
  • 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


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External links[edit]