Today we celebrate Epiphany, also known as Theophany in the east, a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God’s incarnation as Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus Christ’s physical manifestation to the Gentiles. And there’s no other king more suitable in synthpop land than Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan in the iconic 1990 video by Anton Corbijn of “Enjoy The Silence” taken from the cult album “Violator”.
Although instead of a king Anton Corbijn actually wanted to reference the themes and storyline of the philosophical children’s book “The Little Prince” from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Recorded in 1989, “Enjoy The Silence” was released as the second single from what was their seventh studio album on 16 January 1990.
It was Dutch director Anton Corbijn who shot the video for the band with Dave Gahan dressed as a king, crown and cloak included as he walks through various landscapes in Scotland, Portugal and the Swiss Alps, with a deckchair. It wasn’t the only video shot for the song, you might remember that a second video was made for a TV promo. It was shot by the French TV (for the TV Show “Champs-Élysées” with Michel Drucker) featuring Depeche Mode lip-synching the song while standing on the observation deck atop the South Tower of the original World Trade Center.
Dave Gahan: “I felt like an idiot!”
The latter video was dismissed as ‘official’ video although Dave Gahan hated making the first video as he was forced to drag a cape in snow and later said “I felt like an idiot!” As a result he also refused to do some scenes.
Note that it was Alan Wilder’s production which turned the song into a hit because the original was a slow and dull track. Songwriter Martin Gore created a ballad-like first version of the song, which the band took into the studio in 1989. At band member Alan Wilder’s insistence, the song was re-worked into the up-tempo version released on the album. It shows that Wilder was a real genius asset in the band during all these years. But that’s for another article.
The different Depeche Mode videos for ‘Enjoy The Silence’
The World Trade Center version with a similar intro as the Anton Corbijn one.
The Anton Corbijn version.
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