Speak & Spell

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For information on this album's singles, see the Singles section.
#2: A Broken Frame Album-ABF.jpg
This article is about the album. To view a list of its songs and B-sides, see Speak & Spell songs.
Speak & Spell
Album Speak & Spell
By Depeche Mode
Catalogue number Stumm5
Release date 6 November 1981
Recorded at Blackwing Studios, London
Produced by Depeche Mode
Daniel Miller
Engineered by Eric Radcliffe
John Fryer
Number of tracks 11

Speak & Spell is the debut studio album by Depeche Mode, released on 6 November 1981 by Mute Records. The album was supported by the 1980 and 1981 tours.

Track list

  1. New Life
  2. I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
  3. Puppets
  4. Boys Say Go!
  5. Nodisco
  6. What's Your Name?
  7. Photographic
  8. Tora! Tora! Tora!
  9. Big Muff
  10. Any Second Now
  11. Just Can't Get Enough

For a full list of songs, singles, and B-sides produced for this album, see the list of Speak & Spell songs


  1. Dreaming Of Me - February 20, 1981
  2. New Life - June 13, 1981
  3. Just Can't Get Enough - September 18, 1981


Release date discrepancy

Speak & Spell's release date is commonly misreported as October 5 or 6th, 1981 by numerous fan sites, forums, and social media channels, as well as the official Depeche Mode website. 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 the October 5-6th release date. Several articles suggest 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."[1]

A photo from a 2015 eBay auction for a US test pressing of Speak & Spell dated October 9, 1981. Speak & Spell would not be released in the United States until November 11th, 1981. Photo retrieved via Facebook group “Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos”.

NME reported on October 17, 1981:

"Depeche Mode will have their album ‘Speak And Spell’ issued by Mute Records some time next month."[1]

Record Mirror, October 24th, 1981:

"Next month sees the release of Depeche’s debut LP, duly coinciding with a tour."[1]

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."[1]

Melody Maker reported in a November 14, 1981 article covering the group's live dates in Manchester on November 3 and Birmingham on November 4:

"Depeche Mode were wary about breaking ground with the northern attenders, especially as the album hadn’t yet appeared in the local shops."[1]

Cash Box magazine reported on February 27th, 1982:

"[Depeche Mode's] first LP, "Speak & Spell," shipped last November, [...]"[1]

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.

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, this is likely the most accurate date.


Album BPM range by song

  • BPM values are plotted from 1 to 184 BPM.
  • In cases where a song features a change in tempo, the tempo at which the majority of the song
    plays takes precedence.
  • Unless noted otherwise, BPMs are estimated values determined by Spotify's Audio Analysis
    algorithm and as such are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
Album live plays by song

  • Song live play values are plotted from zero to 1,100.
  • All values are determined by summing the number of times each song has been performed
    live by Depeche Mode per tour.
  • These totals do not reflect live plays performed by individual members of Depeche Mode
    as part of solo projects, solo tours, or known one-off performances.


  • The total number of live song plays from Speak & Spell is 1947. This figure is found by summing the number of individual performances for each album track.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Research and text courtesy of Michael Rose, retrieved via Facebook group “Depeche Mode Classic Photos And Videos”.