Behind The Wheel

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5. Little 15
6. Behind The Wheel
List of Music for the Masses songs
7. I Want You Now
Behind The Wheel
Song Behind The Wheel
By Depeche Mode
Songwriter Martin L. Gore
Produced by Depeche Mode
Dave Bascombe
Daniel Miller
Recorded at Guillaume Tell (Paris)
Konk (London)
Length (mm:ss) 5:19 (album version)
4:03 (7" single version)
5:56 (12" single version)
Tempo 125 BPM
Time signature 4
Key D Minor
Recorded February - July, 1987
Originally released 28 December 1987
Live performances as Depeche Mode 598 times *
Total live performances 598 times *

"Behind The Wheel" is a song from the 1987 album Music For The Masses by Depeche Mode. It was released as a single on 28 December 1987.


Martin Gore said in Bong issue no. 37, 1998:

"I still really like that track. I remember when we finished it we went to the Montreux Pop Festival in Switzerland [in May 1987] before it was released and we performed it there. I remember being really pleased with it and it was so different to anything else at the festival."

Alan Wilder wrote in his 86-98 editorial in 1998:

"The entire concept for the single release of 'Behind The Wheel' is centred around the theme of motor travel, from the opening sample of a spinning saucepan lid designed to sound like a hub-cap [...]"

Q&A from Alan Wilder's Shunt:

couturier: What is this strange bass mix we hear on the bassline of 'Behind The Wheel' - moog and Obx?

Alan: If I remember correctly, it was a combination of three different sounds: A hand striking the end of a hoover tube and then sampled (true), a guitar pluck - sampled and pitched down, and a minimoog for added bottom end.

Carsten Vogt: Have your abilities to play the "most important rock'n'roll instrument" - the flute, ever been used on a DM song? What about the intro of 'Behind The Wheel'?

Alan: Well, technically speaking, we're talking panpipe rather than flute on 'Behind The Wheel' but you could be forgiven for mistaking the peruvian nose-flute for our own western version. Apart from that, it is possible that a few flute samples are mixed into various DM tracks over the years.

When Depeche Mode was interviewed about the songs on the '101' CD for the April 1989 issue of French magazine 'Best', Alan Wilder said (translated from French):

"It was a good track to start the evening with, because it's a fast, new and well known song. On the night we played in Pasadena I was even more nervous than usual, partly because of the crowd of 70.000 people, but mostly because of it being filmed and recorded, and I was wondering if everything would turn out okay. On stage, I had a bad reception, I could not hear myself sing. And then it started to rain a bit. Fortunately, it did not last long and it did not compromise our gear."


Behind The Wheel

My little girl

Drive anywhere

Do what you want

I don't care


I'm in the hands of fate

I hand myself

Over on a plate


Oh little girl

There are times when I feel

I'd rather not be

The one behind the wheel


Pull my strings

Watch me move

I do anything


Sweet little girl

I prefer

You behind the wheel

And me the passenger


I'm yours to keep

Do what you want

I'm going cheap


You're behind the wheel tonight

Songwriter: Martin L. Gore
Publishing Information: ©1987 Grabbing Hands Music Ltd/EMI Music Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

Music video

Live performances

Main article: Available recordings of "Behind The Wheel"
Main article: List of dates where "Behind The Wheel" was played

1981-1985: Dreaming of MeNew LifeJust Can't Get EnoughSee YouThe Meaning Of LoveLeave in SilenceGet The Balance Right!Everything CountsLove In ItselfPeople Are PeopleMaster And ServantBlasphemous RumoursSomebodyShake The DiseaseIt's Called A Heart
1986-1989: StrippedBut Not TonightA Question Of LustA Question Of TimeStrangeloveNever Let Me Down AgainBehind The WheelLittle 15Route 66Personal Jesus
1990-1999: Enjoy The SilencePolicy of TruthWorld In My EyesI Feel YouWalking In My ShoesCondemnationIn Your RoomBarrel Of A GunIt's No GoodHomeUselessOnly When I Lose Myself
2000-2009: Dream OnI Feel LovedFreeloveGoodnight LoversPreciousA Pain That I'm Used ToSuffer WellJohn the RevelatorLilianMartyrWrongPeaceFragile TensionHole To Feed
2010-2017: HeavenSoothe My SoulShould Be HigherWhere's The RevolutionGoing BackwardsCover Me
1992-1998: Faith HealerDriftingStalkerMissing Piece
2000-2008: Strange HoursJezebelPreyAllelujah
2003-2008: Dirty Sticky FloorsI Need YouBottle LivingHold OnA Little PieceKingdomSaw SomethingDeeper And Deeper
2012-2015: Longest DayTake Me Back HomeAll Of This And NothingShine
1989-2003: CompulsionStardustLoverman
2012: SpockSingle BlipAftermaths