Monday, February 08, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 2/8/16 - Depeche Mode's "Behind The Wheel/Route 66"...


"Route 66/Behind The Wheel" - Depeche Mode
from the album Music For The Masses (1987)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #61

This week's "robbed hit" comes from British new wave band Depeche Mode, who had broke through in America in 1984 with their tolerance anthem "People Are People" from their Some Great Reward album. However, even though they were cultivating a rapidly growing fanbase in the States, their retrospective Catching Up With Depeche Mode and studio album Black Celebration (my personal favorite album of his) didn't grab mainstream radio the same. In 1987 the band put out their sixth album Music For The Masses, a "big-sounding" record that was possibly meant to be their Joshua Tree-like success in America. But even though the response was relatively more moderate, their fans were concentrated and rabid enough to fill stadiums in America to this point. The first single, "Strangelove", stopped at #76 (it would return to the chart later at #50), while the follow-up, the road-trip classic "Never Let Me Down Again", made it to #63. The third single from the set was "Behind The Wheel", another track about automotive control written by Martin Gore...


To garner interest in the single, the band released as the "B-Side" a non-album cover of the swing tune "Route 66", named for the famed American road. It originally was recorded by Nat King Cole, who took the song to #11 on the pop chart in 1946...


 For their own version, Depeche Mode threw a dance beat and included an interpolated section of "Behind The Wheel"...


On the American single, the two were "mashed up" in a remix from Ivan Ivan that got the biggest radio play on Stateside stations...


The "Route 66/Behind The Wheel" single climbed to #61 in May of 1988, while going all the way to #3 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart. Internationally, the single stopped at #21 in their native Britain, #6 in Germany and Switzerland, #10 in Sweden, and #21 in France.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's the "Beatmasters" mix that reached the #3 spot on the dance chart in 1988...


Here's the band opening their legendary Rose Bowl show with "Behind the Wheel" in 1988...


...and again from their Devotional tour in 1993...


In 2011, new remixes of "Behind The Wheel" were released, including one from former member and now Erasure partner Vince Clarke, which re-entered the dance chart, where it ascended yet again to the #3 position...



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