Shake the Disease

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"Shake the Disease"
Single by Depeche Mode
from the album The Singles 81→85
B-side "Flexible"
Released 29 April 1985
Format Vinyl record (7" and 12"), CD (1991 box set)
Recorded March 1985 Hansa Mischraum, Berlin
Genre Synthpop, dark wave
Length 4:48 (7"/single/album version)
3:59 (Fade)
8:45 (12" version)
Label Mute Records
Writer(s) Martin Gore
Producer(s) Depeche Mode, Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones
Depeche Mode singles chronology
"Blasphemous Rumours / Somebody"
"Shake the Disease"
"It's Called a Heart"

"Shake the Disease" is Depeche Mode's thirteenth UK single recorded at Hansa Mischraum in Berlin (released on 29 April 1985), and was one of two new songs released on the compilations The Singles 81→85 (UK) / Catching Up with Depeche Mode (US) the same year, along with subsequent single "It's Called a Heart".

Song information[edit]

Band member Alan Wilder felt this song captured the essence of the band, saying that "there's a certain edge to what we do that can make people think twice about things. If we've got a choice between calling a song 'Understand Me' or 'Shake the Disease', we'll call it 'Shake the Disease'. There's a lot of perversity and innuendo in our lyrics, but nothing direct."[1]

The lyric "I've got things to do, and I've said before that I know that you have too" is possibly a reference to the song "Stories of Old" on the 1984 Depeche Mode album Some Great Reward, which contains the lyric "I've got things to do/You have too/And I've got to be me, you've got to be you."

Music video[edit]

The music video is the first Depeche Mode video directed by Peter Care and features an innovative camera trick to make it appear as though the band members are falling. It was shot in the town of Hounslow in London.

Chart performance[edit]

The track reached the top 40 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in November 1985. It reached number 18 in the UK singles chart. The single reached the Top 10 in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland,[2] etc.; the song also entered the Irish top 10 and even reached the number 1 spot in Poland,[3] where the band was very popular at that time. In France, "Shake the Disease" peaked at number 13, remaining in the top 50 for six months.[4] Los Angeles modern rock radio station KROQ-FM named "Shake the Disease" as the number one song of 1985.

Formats and track listings[edit]

7": Mute / 7Bong8 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease" – 4:48
  2. "Flexible" – 3:11

7": Sire / 7-28835 (US)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease (Fade)" – 3:59
  2. "Flexible" – 3:11

12": Mute / 12Bong8 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease (Remixed Extended Version)" – 8:45 (engineered by Flood)
  2. "Flexible (Remixed Extended Version)" – 6:13 (engineered by Flood)

12": Mute / L12Bong8 (UK) / Vogue (France)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease (Edit the Shake)" – 7:10
  2. "Master and Servant (Live)" – 5:38
  3. "Flexible (Pre-Deportation Mix)" – 4:40 (remixed by Bert Bevans)
  4. "Something to Do (Metal Mix)" – 7:25 (remixed by Gareth Jones)

CD: Mute / CDBong8 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease" – 4:48
  2. "Flexible" – 3:11
  3. "Shake the Disease (Remixed Extended Version)" – 8:43
  4. "Flexible (Remixed Extended Version)" – 6:15
  5. "Shake the Disease (Edit the Shake)" – 7:11
  6. "Something to Do (Metal Mix)" – 7:26
  • The UK CD single was released in 1991 as part of the Singles box set compilations

CD: Intercord / INT 826.829 / CDL12Bong8 (Germany)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease (Edit the Shake)" – 7:10
  2. "Master and Servant (Live)" – 5:38
  3. "Flexible (Pre-Deportation Mix)" – 4:40 (remixed by Bert Bevans)
  4. "Something to Do (Metal Mix)" – 7:25 (remixed by Gareth Jones)

CD: Virgin / 30135 (France)[edit]

  1. "Shake the Disease (Edit the Shake)" – 7:10
  2. "Master and Servant (Live)" – 5:38
  3. "Flexible (Pre-Deportation Mix)" – 4:40 (remixed by Bert Bevans)
  4. "Something to Do (Metal Mix)" – 7:25 (remixed by Gareth Jones)
  5. "Shake the Disease" (7" mix) – 4:48
  • The German and French CD singles were released in 1985.

All songs written by Martin Gore.


  • The song was covered by the Belgian band Hooverphonic for the 1998 tribute album For the Masses.
  • The song was covered by the Swedish Soul artist Tingsek on his 2006 album "World of Its Own"
  • In 2010, the song was covered by DMK, a band featuring Colombian artist Dicken Schrader and his children Milah and Korben, playing toys and common utensils as musical instruments.[5]
  • The song was covered by the German alternative rock band Blackmail as b-side for their 2011 single "Bugs"


  1. ^ Doole, Kerry (July 1989), "The Class of 101", Music Express magazine, 13 (138): 40–44 
  2. ^ "Hit Parade: Depeche Mode "Shake the Disease"". Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  3. ^ ""Shake the Disease" (Polish)". Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  4. ^ "Depeche Mode - Shake the Disease (single) (French)". Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  5. ^ SkyNews

External links[edit]