The driving creative force behind the groundbreaking synth pop group Depeche Mode, composer and keyboardist Martin Gore was born in Basildon, England, on July 23, 1961. As a teen he joined French Look, a duo featuring schoolmate Vince Clarke; with the subsequent additions of keyboardist Andrew Fletcher and singer David Gahan, the group re-christened itself Depeche Mode, soon jettisoning all instruments excluding their synthesizers and honing a slick, techno-based sound to showcase Clarke's catchy melodies. Depeche Mode's 1981 debut LP Speak and Spell was a major British hit, its success spurred by the smash single "Just Can't Get Enough," but following the album's release principal songwriter Clarke abruptly exited to form Yazoo with singer Alison Moyet, leaving the group's future in grave doubt. In Clarke's absence, Gore grabbed the songwriting reins, and while 1982's A Broken Frame deviated only slightly from Depeche Mode's earlier work, his ominous songs grew more assured and sophisticated by the time of 1983's Construction Time Again. Some Great Reward, issued the following year, was Depeche Mode's artistic and commercial breakthrough, as Gore's dark, kinky preoccupations with spiritual doubt ("Blasphemous Rumours") and psycho-sexual manipulation ("Master and Servant") came to the fore. The egalitarian single "People Are People" was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and typified the music's turn toward more industrial textures. 1986's atmospheric Black Celebration continued the trend toward grim melancholy, and further established the group as a major commercial force. In 1989, Gore issued the solo EP Counterfeit, a collection of covers; the following year saw the release of Depeche Mode's Violator, a Top Ten smash which spawned the hits "Enjoy the Silence," "Policy of Truth," and "Personal Jesus." Although 1993's Songs of Faith & Devotion entered the charts in the number one slot, internal conflicts resulted in a four-year wait for the follow-up, Ultra. Exciter, produced by LFO's Mark Bell, arrived in 2001. In 2003, Gore released his first solo full-length, Counterfeit², another collection of covers; the same year, Gahan released his solo debut, Paper Monsters. Depeche Mode's Playing the Angel surfaced in 2005, followed by Sounds of the Universe in 2009. In 2011, Gore reunited with Clarke for the first time since 1981, forming minimal techno project VCMG. The duo released three EPs, followed by the full-length SSSS in 2012. Depeche Mode's 13th studio album, Delta Machine, their first for Columbia, appeared in 2013. In 2015, Gore released a self-titled instrumental electronic solo album under the alias MG; while it retained some of the techno elements of the VCMG project, it was largely more downtempo and cinematic.