As outlined in A Love Deluxe, the past year or so has seen me become just a little bit addicted to creating “fantasy” deluxe editions. You take an album, and use whatever extra material is available (B-sides, Single Edits, 12″ Remixes, Demos, Out-takes, non-album 45s) to piece together a multi-disc celebration of it.
Depeche Mode’s opus was released on 17th March 1986. Over the years I have owned/collected the vinyl LP, cassette, original 14-track CD and multiple copies of the CD/DVD Deluxe in a fancy slipcase. It made the Top 40 of my All-Time favourite albums when I last updated it in 2016, and all three of its UK singles – Stripped, A Question Of Lust and A Question Of Time made #1 on my personal charts of the time.
Anyone familiar with this blog will know that I’ve rambled on quite enough already about ‘Ver Mode and this particular phase of their career. The beginnings of the Black Celebration era can be traced back to 1985, when their label Mute needed a new track to promote the Singles 81>85 compilation. Neither It’s Called A Heart, nor the earlier orphan single Shake The Disease which also graced Singles 81>85, appeared on an album proper. The former’s flipside, however, Fly On The Windscreen, became a key part of Black Celebration in yet another remixed version.
Already, then, we have the stirrings of a homemade version with these non-album 45s and their B-sides, as well as all the mixes thereof (Depeche Mode habitually created proper 12″ versions of everything on the singles). Factor in the need to have its three actual singles included in 7″ form (Stripped segues into a track on the album, A Question Of Lust segues out of a song, A Question Of Time was remixed for the radio), and the fantasy deluxe is taking shape.
Turn off the jukebox, and do yourselves a favour…
We shall come to all the supplementary material in due course, but let’s get Disc 1 out of the way. I used the original CD mastering but removed the trio of bonus tracks that were tacked on at the end.
Disc 2 collects all the singles (As and Bs), and a few alternate mixes.
- SHAKE THE DISEASE non-album single, April 1985
- IT’S CALLED A HEART non-album single, September 1985
- STRIPPED 7″ mix, February 1986
- A QUESTION OF LUST 7″ mix, April 1986
- A QUESTION OF TIME 7″ remix, August 1986
- FLEXIBLE B-side, April 1985
- FLY ON THE WINDSCREEN B-side, September 1985
- BUT NOT TONIGHT B-side, February 1986
- CHRISTMAS ISLAND B-side, April 1986
- BLACK CELEBRATION Black Tulip Mix 12″ B-side, August 1986
- DRESSED IN BLACK Record Mirror EP version, February 1986
- BLACK DAY 12″ B-side, February 1986
Only a handful of these (the main B-sides) were thought to be worthy of inclusion on the CD/DVD Special Edition in 2009. And only on the DVD section too, so they were out of bounds to any fans who mainly listened via compact disc players and useless in terms of adding to iTunes playlists (or similar). The sound quality left a lot to be desired as well.
The 2009 CD/DVD (with outer slipcase removed). Nice design, shame about the content.
For the third disc in my fantasy set, it’s back to the main 11-track album, in its remastered 2009 form (as far as I could determine, all the later reissues come from the same source, even the one from the MODE boxset in 2018).
Now to figure out what to do with all the mixes and remaining tracks from the singles and EPs….
CD4- REMIXES #1
- SHAKE THE DISEASE extended mix, 12″ A-side, April 1985
- IT’S CALLED A HEART extended mix, 12″ A-side, September 1985
- STRIPPED highland mix, 12″ A-side, February 1986
- A QUESTION OF LUST extended flood remix, April 1986
- A QUESTION OF TIME extended remix, 12″ A-side, August 1986
- FLEXIBLE extended mix, 12″ B-side, April 1985
- FLY ON THE WINDSCREEN extended mix, 12″ B-side, September 1985
- BUT NOT TONIGHT extended mix, 12″ B-side, February 1986
- CHRISTMAS ISLAND extended mix, 12″ B-side, April 1986
- FLY ON THE WINDSCREEN quiet mix, 12″ B-side, April 1986
If, like me, you bought Depeche Mode singles on the 12″ format, these were the mixes you’d be most familiar with. Generally I’d prefer the longer mixes, which could run to 8 or 9 minutes. The Highland mix of Stripped and the extended Fly On The Windscreen are possibly my all-time DM top 2 moments.
CD5: REMIXES #2
- SHAKE THE DISEASE edit the shake mix, CD single lead track, 1988
- FLY ON THE WINDSCREEN death mix, 12″ doublepack B-side, September 1985
- BREATHING IN FUMES 12″ B-side, February 1986
- A QUESTION OF LUST minimal mix, 12″ B-side, April 1986
- IT DOESN’T MATTER TWO instrumental, 12″ B-side April 1986
- PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE live, 12″ B-side, April 1986
- BLACK CELEBRATION live, 12″ B-side, August 1986
- SOMETHING TO DO live, 12″ B-side, August 1986
- STRIPPED live, 12″ B-side, August 1986
- MORE THAN A PARTY live, 12″ B-side, August 1986
- A QUESTION OF TIME new town mix / live mix, 12″ B-side, August 1986
Track 6 is taken from a different concert recording to tracks 7-11 which formed the generous B-side to A Question Of Time‘s 12″ format in the UK.
Having settled on a five-disc edition (a rare deviation from the usual 4 or 6 for my more thorough attempts), it was time to create some artwork. An embarrassment of riches from the Black Celebration era – logos, icons, several takes on the original album sleeve, promo shots from the period – left me with almost too many choices as to which way I should go with the design.
Ultimately, anything that featured the band themselves just didn’t have the right vibe for what I was trying to put together. The cassette edition had a style which worked as a better start point, with the strong but simple graphics and the black/yellow/red bold text.
It also inspired the use of “Life in the so-called space age” on the front of my fantasy set. The full range of icons, from the vinyl LP and CD/DVD reissue, were also isolated and arranged in a way that suited the DVD-shape sleeve template. There was even room to squeeze in the tulip/skyscraper image from the original sleeve onto the rear, and again on the spine.
Perhaps because it shares so many design motifs with the official versions, and yet is something unique that I assembled myself, this is one of my favourite fantasy deluxes from a visual perspective.