Blasphemous Rumours

From DM Live - the Depeche Mode live encyclopedia for the masses
Jump to navigationJump to search
8. If You Want
9. Blasphemous Rumours
List of Some Great Reward songs


Blasphemous Rumours
Song Blasphemous Rumours
By Depeche Mode
Songwriter Martin L. Gore
Produced by Depeche Mode
Daniel Miller
Gareth Jones
Recorded at Music Works (Highbury, London)
Hansa Mischraum (Berlin)
Length (mm:ss) 5:06 (single version)
6:20 (12"/album version)
Tempo 125 BPM
Time signature 4
Key B Major
Engineering assistance Ben Ward
Stefi Marcus
Colin McMahon
Design Martyn Atkins
David A. Jones
Photography Brian Griffin
Photography assistance Stuart Graham
Recorded June 1984
Originally released 29 October 1984
Live performances as Depeche Mode 257 times *
Total live performances 257 times *

"Blasphemous Rumours" is a song from the 1984 album Some Great Reward by Depeche Mode. It was released as a double A-side single alongside "Somebody" on 29 October 1984.


Martin Gore tells WLIR in 1986:

['Blasphemous Rumours'] was mainly inspired from the early days of the band or even before the band got started, when Andy and Vince were regular churchgoers, and I just used to go along because they were my friends. I just thought it was quite interesting. I was never a practicing Christian, although they were. And when you're not involved in it, I think you really notice the hypocrisy and just the funny side to things. One thing I often quoted is this thing called the "prayer list": every week they would sit and pray for people who were seriously ill, and you could guarantee that most of them, the majority of the people who they prayed for, would die. But they took that as, like, being very, very positive, that was "God's will" and "They've gone to somewhere better". And it's just, when you're not part of it, it just seems very ridiculous, very funny. I know a lot of people out there are not gonna agree with me.

Andy Fletcher told the 18th May 1985 issue of No.1 Magazine:

The song 'Blasphemous Rumours' stems from our experiences then. There was a prayer list of people who were sick in some way and you'd pray for the person on top of that list until they died. When Martin first played me 'Blasphemous Rumours' I was quite offended. I can see why people would dislike it. It certainly verges on the offensive.

Alan says in the November 1984 issue of International Musician And Recording World:

We sampled some concrete being hit for what turned out to be the snare sound. All that entailed was us hitting a big lump of concrete with a sampling hammer. The engineer / producer we use, Gareth Jones, has got this brilliant little recorder called a Stellavox which we use with two stereo mikes and it's as good as any standard 30ips reel-to-reel but this is very small and therefore very portable. So we just took the Stellavox out into the middle of this big, ambient space and miked up the ground and hit it with a big metal hammer. The sound was… like concrete being hit. I can't really put it any other way.

Throughout this track, an "arr, arr" sound can be heard that can be heard at the beginning of 'Something To Do' as well. When Alan Wilder was asked about this on Shunt, he replied: "I can't really remember exactly - you are asking me about a sound made about 14 years ago! It sounds like it was a piece of speech put through a modular synth (possibly some other effects) and distorted. I would think it was then sampled and reproduced from either the Emulator or Synclavier."

The melody that can be heard in the middle of the song is of the Christian children's song "Jesus Love Is Very Wonderful".

Quotes from the documentary on the DVD of the Some Great Reward remaster from 2006:

Neil Ferris: "The problem came with Blasphemous Rumours: that was a very, very difficult record, and there were a lot of people who felt that that song, lyrically, and just the title of it, that the record shouldn't be on the radio. And we did struggle with radio play, and there were certain people who objected to playing it, and they made their feelings very strongly known."

Dave Gahan: "Alternatively, over in the States, it got played. You know, stations out here in Long Island, WDRE, played us, started to play it, on the sort of underground, alternative stations."

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

Of all of our songs, this is one that gets the most response. I'm not just talking about live on stage. Although it's a track that is starting to age, I continue to receive letters from fans who tell me about it. Nowadays, they tell me they like it. But when it was released, I received a lot of letters from people who were shocked by the lyrics. They wanted to have "Blasphemous Rumours" banned on the radio.

They said in the 1985-10-26 issue of Melody Maker:

Dave: "This was another split decision. In the end we put it out as a double A side with 'Somebody', but some of the radio stations didn't know which side to play. I'm pleased with the vocal on it, but it didn't do so well."

Fletch: "A lot of this is just Radio 1 paranoia - they really aren't everything, you know. We did get quite a lot of flak about this one, although a lot of the people who wrote to us weren't objecting, they saw that it was more asking question than making a statement."

All four members of Depeche Mode discussed the reception to Blasphemous Rumours in an October 1985 interview with English magazine No. 1:

Andrew Fletcher: "When we went to America we thought we’d get a lot of the same stick[sic] for this record that we’d get over in Europe but we didn't. We got a lot of letters slagging it."
Alan Wilder: "In Europe, the problem was they couldn't say it."
Martin Gore: "Neither this nor 'Master And Servant' had any shock value, they weren't intended to shock people. They both had a good meaning."
Dave Gahan: "I think the problem arose because it had the word 'Blasphemous' in the title, so the record itself must be, whereas it’s just the thoughts of one man looking for some kind of a reason in the goings on in the world. We did get response from Christian associations saying that they understood what we were trying to say."
Andrew Fletcher: "There was also a feature in a Christian magazine, which I used to read, putting across our side."[1]


Blasphemous Rumours

Girl of sixteen

Whole life ahead of her

Slashed her wrists

Bored with life

Didn't succeed

Thank the lord

For small mercies

Fighting back the tears

Mother reads the note again

Sixteen candles burn in her mind

She takes the blame

It's always the same

She goes down on her knees and prays

I don't want to start

Any blasphemous rumours

But I think that God's

Got a sick sense of humour

And when I die

I expect to find Him laughing

Girl of eighteen

Fell in love with everything

Found new life

In Jesus Christ

Hit by a car

Ended up

On a life support machine

Summer's day

As she passed away

Birds were singing

In the summer sky

Then came the rain

And once again

A tear fell from her mother's eye

I don't want to start

Any blasphemous rumours

But I think that God's

Got a sick sense of humour

And when I die

I expect to find Him laughing

Songwriter: Martin L. Gore
Publishing Information: ©1984 Grabbing Hands Music Ltd/EMI Music Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

Music video

Live performances

Main article: Available recordings of "Blasphemous Rumours"
Main article: List of dates where "Blasphemous Rumours" was played

Live versions

This section provides examples of live versions of Blasphemous Rumours from each tour that it was played. The recordings from 1984-12-09 Hamburg and 1986-04-10 Birmingham are generally regarded as the best sounding versions out of these examples.

1984-1985 Some Great Reward Tour

1986 Black Celebration Tour

1987-1988 Music For The Masses Tour



1981-1985: Dreaming Of MeNew LifeJust Can't Get EnoughSee YouThe Meaning Of Love
Leave In SilenceGet The Balance RightEverything CountsLove In ItselfPeople Are PeopleMaster And ServantBlasphemous Rumours / SomebodyShake The DiseaseIt's Called A Heart
1986-1989: StrippedBut Not TonightA Question Of LustA Question Of TimeStrangelove
Never Let Me Down AgainBehind The WheelLittle 15Personal Jesus
1990-1998: Enjoy The SilencePolicy Of TruthWorld In My EyesI Feel YouWalking In My ShoesCondemnationIn Your RoomBarrel Of A GunIt's No GoodHomeUseless
Only When I Lose Myself
2001-2009: Dream OnI Feel LovedFreeloveGoodnight LoversPreciousA Pain That I'm Used To
Suffer WellJohn The Revelator / LilianMartyrWrongPeaceFragile Tension / Hole To Feed
2013-2017: HeavenSoothe My SoulShould Be HigherWhere's The RevolutionGoing Backwards
Cover Me
2023: Ghosts Again
1992-1998: Faith HealerDriftingStalker / Missing Piece
2000-2008: Strange HoursJezebelPreyAllelujah
2003-2008: Dirty Sticky FloorsI Need YouBottle Living / Hold OnA Little PieceKingdomSaw Something / Deeper And Deeper
2012-2015: Longest DayTake Me Back HomeAll Of This And NothingShine
1989-2003: CompulsionStardustLoverman
2012-2015: SpockSingle BlipAftermathsEuropa Hymn • "Pinking" (Christoffer Berg Remix)
Official releases