Little 15

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Little 15
Depeche Mode
Produced by
Recorded at
Guillaume Tell (Paris)
Konk (London)
Puk Studios, Denmark
Length (mm:ss)
108 BPM
Time signature
D♭ Minor
February - July, 1987
Originally released
May 16, 1988
Played live
3 times *
Total live plays
3 times *

'Little 15' is a song from the 1987 album Music For The Masses by Depeche Mode. It was released as a single on May 16, 1988.


Dave Gahan told KROQ radio in 1987:

"'Little 15' is actually about a guy. It's about a boy. See, a lot of people have taken that song already in the wrong way, they think it's about a small girl, but it's not. It's actually about a boy, and his mother is talking to him. She's saying, "Look, you're gonna grow up and everything, and this is what it's gonna be like. It's not a bed of roses, and you're gonna be going out into the big, bad world soon". It's about a boy and his mother, his older mother. To be honest, when Martin wrote the song and he brought it to us and I read the lyrics and stuff - it's actually one of my favourite songs on the album - but when he brought it to me I thought immediately it was about a little girl, one of his, you know, things... But we won't talk about those!"

Q & A from Alan Wilder's Shunt archive:

Steph: You're smart to expose Paris [Alan's daughter -ed] to [Michael] Nyman - what is your favourite of his work? I am partial to 'The Piano' soundtrack. I can't listen to him without being transported somewhere else in the universe. Has he influenced you in any way? Do you see any similarities in your respective styles?

Alan: I didn't think 'The Piano' was very good. I hated the film too. I prefer 'A Zed And Two Noughts'. I suppose there is some influence - listen to 'Little 15'.

Alan Wilder (and Dave Gahan) elaborated on this in the 2006 Music For The Masses Remaster DVD documentary:

Alan Wilder: "I remember [that] 'Little 15' was being quite a difficult track. We had left it to the last [day] because we really didn't know how to go about it. We had this song, it seemed... it was just difficult to know what to do with it. And I can remember I had just been to see "A Zed & Two Noughts" by Peter Greenway, and all his music, that is [from] Michael Nyman. And so, somewhere amongst our discussions, we said: "Why don't we try and do it in this sort of Nyman and "A Zed & Two Noughts" kind of way?". But from there, it was just easy, it just flowed. It all started with this funny, little, hypnotic cycle sequence, and then - bang, bang, bang - all the parts came together."

Dave Gahan: "That was Alan's, like, schooling, his musicianship. He's a fantastic piano player. And I don't think we appreciated that at the time."

Dave Bascombe told Super Deluxe Edition in July 2019:

"[T]he orchestral stuff, like in 'Little 15', there's a lot of orchestral samples in there that we spent ages working on and that was definitely Alan, [he's] definitely the reason for that."

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

"'Little 15' was never intended as a single - in fact from the outset, it was touch and go as to whether the track would even be recorded at all. However, encouraged by Dan Miller, an experimental approach in the studio gave rise to a simple ballad based around a Nymanesque opening string arrangement. It was the French record company who later insisted the song was perfect for their market resulting in a release geared towards this territory only. There is some confusion over which other European countries eventually released the single. Certainly, it was never officially released in England and yet, remarkably still managed to chart on Import only - a perfect demonstration of the die hard following that DM now enjoyed. "

Martin Gore in Bong issue no. 37, 1998:

"This was the only ever single in France. We were convinced by our French record company that it was a great single for France and that it had all the right ingredients to be a massive hit in France. We just looked at them and said "You're mad, Little 15 is not a single", but as it was Mute France at that time and we knew the people very well, we basically gave in to them and let them have their way. And was it a massive hit? No! Was it a hit? No!"


Little 15

Little 15

You help her forget

The world outside

You're not part of it yet

And if you could drive

You could drive her away

To a happier place

To a happier day

That exists in your mind

And in your smile

She could escape there

Just for a while

Little 15

Little 15

Why take the smooth with the rough

When things run smooth

It's already more than enough

She knows your mind

Is not yet in league

With the rest of the world

And its little intrigues

Do you understand

Do you know what she means

As time goes by

And when you've seen what she's seen

You will

Little 15

Little 15

Why does she have to defend

Her feelings inside

Why pretend

She's not had a life

A life of near misses

Now all that she wants

Is 3 little wishes

She wants to see with your eyes

She wants to smile with your smile

She wants a nice surprise

Every once in a while

Little 15

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

Music video

Dates with available recordings of Little 15

There are currently 3 recordings of Little 15 available.

Dates where Little 15 was played

1987-1988 Music For The Masses Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

1990 World Violation Tour

Little 15 was played 3 times during this tour.

1993 Devotional Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

1994 Exotic Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

1997 Ultra Parties

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

1998 The Singles Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2001 Exciter Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2003 Paper Monsters Tour (Dave Gahan solo)

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2003 "A Night With Martin L. Gore" (Martin L. Gore solo)

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2005-2006 Touring The Angel

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2009-2010 Tour Of The Universe

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2013-2014 Delta Machine Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.

2017-2018 Global Spirit Tour

  • Little 15 was not played during this tour.
4. Sacred
5. Little 15
List of Music for the Masses songs
6. Behind The Wheel

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 SoulWhere'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