Speak & Spell
Speak & Spell
Release date discrepancy
Speak & Spell's release date is commonly misreported as October 5, 1981 by numerous fan sites, forums, and social media channels, as well as the official Depeche Mode. This long-standing discrepancy began as the result of a delay from the album's slated release date of October 5th to November 6th, 1981.
The album's release date was first thrown in question when Deb Danahay Mann, Vince Clarke's girlfriend at the time of the album's release, revealed a personal diary entry from October 28th, 1981 in which she wrote that Clarke had given her a copy of the album as a gift on that day. Notably, this was mere days prior to when Clarke was slated to embark on the UK dates with Depeche Mode to promote their inaugural album. Based on the date of her diary entry, it is logical to assume that Clarke would have provided Danahay Mann the gift in advance of the album's street release date.
Press reports from a variety of industry magazine issues cast further doubt on October 5th, with several suggesting a November release:
Sounds magazine reported on October 3, 1981:
"The band should also be releasing an album, as yet untitled, on Mute Records in November. The LP is already completed, but has been delayed by the shortage of pressing plants in the UK and the major record companies monopoly of them."
NME reported on October 17, 1981:
"Depeche Mode will have their album ‘Speak And Spell’ issued by Mute Records some time next month."
Record Mirror, October 24th, 1981:
"Next month sees the release of Depeche’s debut LP, duly coinciding with a tour."
Sounds reported on Halloween, 1981 (notably, the November 7, 1981 date mentioned in this quote was a Saturday):
"Depeche Mode, who release their first album called “Speak And Spell” on November 7, has lined up a tour to go with it."
"Depeche Mode were wary about breaking ground with the northern attenders, especially as the album hadn’t yet appeared in the local shops."
Cash Box magazine reported on February 27th, 1982:
"[Depeche Mode's] first LP, "Speak & Spell," shipped last November, [...]"
This delay is further evidenced by the chronology of the album's press reviews, which did not begin circulating in print until late October, early November 1981. In order, Melody Maker's review was featured in their October 31st issue; NME's review was featured in their November 7th issue; Record Mirror reviewed the album in their November 7th edition; and Smash Hits reviewed the album in their November 12-25th issue. Relatedly, a full page advertisement promoting the then upcoming album and supporting UK tour was featured in the October 29 - November 11 issue of Smash Hits one issue prior to the November 12-25 issue's album review, further supporting the likelihood of an early November release date.
Though Online record store recordstore.co.uk (formerly Mute Bank, the official Mute Records store) lists November 6th, 1981 as the album's release date. Based on this listing and the journalistic evidence supporting an early November 1981 release, it is Depeche Mode Live Wiki's opinion that this is the accurate release date.
- New Life
- I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
- Boys Say Go!
- What's Your Name?
- Tora! Tora! Tora!
- Big Muff
- Any Second Now
- Just Can't Get Enough
For a full list of songs and singles produced for this album, see the list of Speak & Spell songs
- Research and text courtesy of Michael Rose, retrieved via