Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus

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Due to its release six months before Violator appeared, not to mention the fact that Depeche's American fan base was reaching critical mass, the EP release of "Personal Jesus" became the biggest selling 12" single in Warner Bros.' history up to that point. It's not too hard to see why -- outrageously but perfectly fusing the aesthetics of clinical synth sheen, funky breakbeats courtesy of stomping on travel cases and looping the results, and bluesy, twangy guitar, it's an instant classic from the band. Gore's lyric was one of his simplest ever -- apparently inspired by Priscilla Presley's depiction of her life with Elvis -- but was delivered by Gahan with strutting, sly panache and power. Besides the killer single mix that also surfaced on the near-unavoidable video, four others ended up on the full-CD version of the EP. Legendary disco figure Francois Kevorkian handled three of these total -- the single mix, the "Holier Than Thou Approach," and the preacher-sampling, often quite dramatic "Pump" mix. Said "Holier Than Thou Approach" extended the overall feeling of the song but had a lot of extra fun with the massive, stomping drums; most of it later surfaced as the final Violator album take. Flood's "Telephone Stomp" mix goes right ahead and includes a phone while a surprising, fun bonus was the original acoustic demo of the song, as performed by Gore on his own -- low key, bluesy, and quite successful. One other song turned up, "Dangerous," appearing in three separate versions and featuring a great Gahan vocal. The original take is a nicely threatening, snaky number, Daniel Miller's "Hazchemix" cranks up the straight-ahead techno approach well, while Flood's "Sensual" mix lives up to its name with its tense, extended groove.