Artist Details

Vince Clarke

Through his groundbreaking work with Depeche Mode, Yaz, and finally Erasure, the mercurial Vince Clarke was among the driving forces behind the rise and continued vitality of the synth pop movement, his work proving an enormous influence on the subsequent emergence of electronica. Born July 3, 1960, in South Woodford, England, Clarke was raised in nearby Basildon, initially studying the violin before moving on to piano. In 1976, he teamed with schoolmate Andrew Fletcher to form No Romance in China; the duo proved short-lived and by 1979, Clarke had formed French Look, another two-piece featuring guitarist/keyboardist Martin L. Gore. Fletcher soon signed on and the group rechristened itself Composition of Sound; although Clarke initially handled vocal chores, in 1980 singer David Gahan was brought in to complete the lineup and after one final name change to Depeche Mode, the quartet jettisoned all instruments, excluding their synthesizers, honing a slick, techno-based sound to showcase Clarke's catchy melodies. Although Depeche Mode's 1981 debut LP Speak and Spell became a major hit, buoyed by the single "Just Can't Get Enough," Clarke left the lineup soon after the record's release; in his absence, Gore assumed songwriting duties and the group slowly achieved international stardom in the years to follow.

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