Puneet Varma (Editor)

Never Let Me Down Again

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Released  24 August 1987
Genre  Synthpop EBM
B-side  "Pleasure, Little Treasure"
Format  7" vinyl 12" vinyl CD (1992 box set)
Recorded  February–July 1987 Studio Guillaume Tell, Paris Konk, London Puk Studios, Denmark
Length  4:47 (album version) 4:20 (radio edit)

"Never Let Me Down Again" is Depeche Mode's nineteenth UK single, released on 24 August 1987, and the second single for the then upcoming album Music for the Masses. A relatively moderate hit in the UK at number 22, it was a smash in West Germany, where it hit number 2, and a Top 10 success in several other European countries (Sweden, Switzerland, etc.). The cover art features fragments of a Soviet map of Russia and Europe, with different fragments used for the different editions of the single.



Studio impresario Alan Wilder and the other members of the band considered the track an "obvious single" with much potential. They developed it throughout so that dramatic-type elements such as the Led Zeppelin-influenced drum patterns and Martin Gore's distinctive guitar riffs sound in the forefront. The lyrics of the song, starting with the strident vocals of "I'm taking a ride with my best friend", are generally regarded as reflecting drug use, with the track being labeled by NME music journalist Jane Solanas as a "masterpiece" that well conveys the feeling of "drug euphoria". The coda of "Never Let Me Down Again" references Soft Cell's song "Torch". The main remix version of the track, known as the "Split Mix", came about with direct involvement from the band. The 12" maxi release stretched to exactly nine and a half minutes long. Oddly enough, despite the pleasing results from the point of view of the band, that proved to be the last time in decades that a remix came out with their direct involvement.

Live performances

The song became a favourite among fans, especially live. Shows during Depeche Mode's 1988 tour were often concluded with this song. Notable in the 101 video is when Dave Gahan waves his arms in the air toward the end of the song, and the sold out crowd of 60,000 mimics Gahan's movements. It is now customary at Depeche Mode shows for fans to wave their arms in the air during the coda section of "Never Let Me Down Again".

During the 1990 World Violation Tour, the band played a different version of the song, known as the "Split Mix", including their massive live performances at the Giants and Dodger Stadiums, which were being broadcast live on MTV.

On 8 November 2001, shortly after their final Exciter Tour concert in Mannheim, Germany, the band played "Never Let Me Down Again" during the MTV Europe Music Awards in Frankfurt, which aired in the US on MTV2.


The main 12" remix of "Never Let Me Down Again" is known as the "Split Mix", as stated above, and the nine-and-a-half-minute track featured direct involvement from the band during its creation. In detail, the remix features the regular song, an added intro piece, and a techno-like musical arrangement appended at the end. The arrangement was expanded to the "Aggro Mix" on the 12" B-side, a piece additionally available as a bonus track on the CD and cassette tape versions of Music for the Masses.

The "Split Mix" appears on the album collection Remixes 81–04, a release that came out on October 2004. Another remix of the track, done by the German group Digitalism, came out in 2006 as one of the 'Digital Deluxe Bonus Tracks' found in The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1 (also being released as a limited double vinyl 12" piece). That remix appears on the band's remix compilation Remixes 2: 81–11 as well. Eric Prydz also remixed the song for this album.

Music videos

There are two music videos for "Never Let Me Down Again", directed by Anton Corbijn. The long version is featured on the Strange video, and uses the "Split Mix" (minus the intro and outro) and during the later EBM portion of the song, Gahan's shoes are shown walking without anyone wearing them, before someone puts them on and wears them to dance. There is also a short video with just the single version of the song, which ends before the animated shoes. The short version appears on The Videos 86>98, the DVD of The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1 and on Video Singles Collection.


There are two b-sides. "Pleasure, Little Treasure" is a short dance track. An extended version called the "Glitter Mix" ends with fragments of vocal recordings that have been reversed and treated with delay effects. Notably, some of these sounds can be heard in the track "Mothers Talk" from the 1985 Tears for Fears album Songs from the Big Chair, which was engineered by Dave Bascombe. The "Glitter Mix" showed up as a bonus track on the CD/Cassette versions of Music for the Masses and in remastered form on the 2006 CD/DVD release.

The rarer b-side is "To Have and To Hold (Spanish Taster)". Martin Gore's original plan for the song sounded a lot like upbeat electropop, but Alan Wilder turned it into the dark wave track it eventually became. While Alan's version was always set to be the final version, Martin wanted his version to be recorded as well. However, not all of the lyrics are sung in the song. It shows up as one of the bonus tracks on the CD/Cassette version of Music for the Masses and is on the CD versions of "Never Let Me Down Again". The regular version of "To Have and To Hold" is one of the main tracks on the Music for the Masses LP.

Track listings

All songs written by Martin Gore.

7": Mute / Bong14 (UK)

  1. "Never Let Me Down Again" – 4:20
  2. "Pleasure, Little Treasure" – 2:52

12": Mute / 12Bong14 (UK)

  1. "Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix)" – 9:34
  2. "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Glitter Mix)" – 5:34
  3. "Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)" – 4:53

12": Mute / L12Bong14 (UK)

  1. "Never Let Me Down Again (Tsangarides Mix)" – 4:22 (Remixed by Chris Tsangarides)
  2. "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Join Mix)" – 4:53 (Remixed by John Fryer & Paul Kendall)
  3. "To Have and to Hold (Spanish Taster)" – 2:33

Cassette: Mute / CBong14 (UK)

  1. "Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix)" – 9:34
  2. "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Glitter Mix)" – 5:34
  3. "Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)" – 4:53

CD: Mute / CDBong14 (UK)

  1. "Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix)" – 9:34
  2. "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Join Mix)" – 4:53
  3. "To Have and to Hold (Spanish Taster)" – 2:33
  4. "Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)" – 4:53
  • Originally released in Cardsleeve [1987]
  • Rereleased as 4track CD Single in Slim Jewel Case in 1991.
  • CD: Mute / CDBong14 (UK)

    1. "Never Let Me Down Again" – 4:20
    2. "Pleasure, Little Treasure" – 2:52
    3. "Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix)" – 9:34
    4. "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Glitter Mix)" – 5:34
    5. "Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)" – 4:53
    6. "Never Let Me Down Again (Tsangarides Mix)" – 4:22
    7. "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Join Mix)" – 4:53
    8. "To Have and To Hold (Spanish Taster)" – 2:33
  • The second CD is the 1992 re-release.
  • Notable covers

    The Smashing Pumpkins recorded a cover of the song and released it as a b-side on their 1994 CD single "Rocket". Frontman Billy Corgan was introduced to the band by bassist D'arcy Wretzky, who is a longtime fan of Depeche Mode and requested the band cover the song. During their 1998 concert in Los Angeles, Depeche Mode invited Corgan, their opening act, onstage to perform the song together. This version of the song is also featured on the soundtrack for Not Another Teen Movie (in the soundtrack of the movie, another cover of a Depeche Mode song appears: "But Not Tonight", this one covered by Stone Temple Pilots's Scott Weiland). When discussing the tribute album For the Masses, which the Smashing Pumpkins cover appears on, Martin Gore said he'd "always liked" the Pumpkins cover, while Dave Gahan said he "particularly liked it", and even thought it was "a lot better" than the Depeche Mode original.


    Never Let Me Down Again Wikipedia