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Rock Hall 2020: Depeche Mode Honored by Arcade Fire, Coldplay, CHVRCHES, ZZ Top Members


Depeche Mode were among the artists who were honored during the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony, which is airing tonight on HBO. They were inducted by actress Charlize Theron, who recounted her adolescent years listening to the group and how she cried after finally seeing them live for the first time several years ago. Watch the ceremony on HBO Max.

“I was moved to tears—I came home, I told my daughters about it, and I was also really fuckin’ pissed because I don’t normally go to rock concerts to bawl my eyes out,” she said. “It’s no surprise that they’re joining the ranks of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I mean they should’ve been there 20 years ago if it was up to me, but what an incredibly well deserved honor. Thank you, guys, for being the soundtrack to my life.”

Several other artists appeared on the broadcast to pay tribute to Depeche Mode following Theron’s speech: Chris Martin of Coldplay, Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler. “For a band like us that makes music that we make, they’re like the godfathers,” said Mayberry. “Honestly, when we play in Europe still to this day, the front row is 90% Depeche Mode shirts, because they gave us their blessing.”

“I feel like their music still sounds like it could come out 20 years from now,” Win Butler said. “Depeche were able to take that spirit and spread it, which is really kind of a sacred responsibility.”

“I think some bands exist on the universal level solely to bring people together to make people that might feel more outsider-y realize they’re part of a bigger family,” Chris Martin said. “Depeche Mode can make lost souls feel more found.”

Billy Gibbons praised the band as innovators in harnessing noise and experimentation. “In the early ’80s, there was this experimental exploration of these new forms of ways to make loud noise,” he said. “Depeche Mode was charging ahead at the forefront. Martin Gore is a gifted writer and gifted composer. He said let’s not make always a happy song, let’s talk realistically about the human condition.”

Depeche Mode are joined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020 by the Notorious B.I.G., Nine Inch Nails, Whitney Houston, T. Rex, the Doobie Brothers, and Ahmet Ertegun Award winners Jon Landau and Irving Azoff. Tonight’s HBO broadcast was pre-recorded and replaced the annual live show, which was canceled due to the pandemic.

Read all of Pitchfork’s coverage of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2020 ceremony.



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