Top 5 Music Videos Featuring Dave Gahan
(with video links)
May 9, 2021
Imagine Dave Gahan starring in the next blockbuster- would he be an action hero? A romantic lead? Or a slapstick genius? While he may not be known for acting, he sure does a fine job portraying different characters on camera and starring in some of the most iconic music videos ever. Of course, being the lead singer for Depeche Mode means that he has to be front-and-center in their music videos. So, which ones that featured him were the best? Narrowing it down to the top 5 is an extremely difficult and subjective task, but here is my best shot at choosing the top 5 music videos featuring Dave. Note that these are in no particular order.
1. "Behind the Wheel" (1987)
Meant to serve as the cinematic sequel to the plot in the "Never Let Me Down Again" video, this video picks up where the previous one left off where Dave's little car supposedly breaks down in the middle of nowhere and he is injured. After a farmer tows away his car with a tractor, Dave is left stranded alone in the middle of the country road, standing on crutches. But lo and behold, a beautiful and exotic woman comes to his rescue, riding up on a motor scooter to give him a ride! He obviously becomes enamored with her pretty quickly...and I wonder what she thinks as this handsome stranger wraps his arms around her waist as they both ride like the wind? Fantastical for sure, but things get even more fantastical when they get into town and go into a coffee shop together. All of a sudden, both of them emerge looking very different (the woman's head scarf and sunglasses are off, and Dave suddenly grows a mustache and is dressed to the nines), and they share an intimate dance together under the moonlight. So, being so similar, why did I choose this video over the one for "Never Let Me Down Again?" Well, just call me a hopeless romantic, but I simply adore the scenes between the woman and the stranded male stranger that Dave plays. Does that mean that I'm going to go start picking up random hitchhikers next time I'm out driving in the country all by myself? No! ...Well, unless they're Dave Gahan, of course.
2. "It's No Good" (1997)
Here we have Depeche Mode performing in sleazy nightclubs to very small and disinterested audiences. And the band themselves look worse for wear, as well, wearing the tackiest getups and acting so over-the-top that it's...sad if this were really them. But thank goodness it isn't! Thus, what makes this video so fascinating (and hilarious) is the fact that Depeche Mode are willing to make fun of themselves to this degree. I mean, this kind of career low actually happens to some bands, even bands that were once huge and popular...We can only hope and ensure that it never, ever happens to these guys! Anyway, everyone just looks like they're having so much fun here playing parts that they all hopefully never have to play in real life. Dave, especially, throws himself into his role of an arrogant and sleazy celebrity, acting like he's all that and totally oblivious to everyone else showing their indifference and disgust. Dave plays the role of a has-been celebrity so well that you almost believe it, and you're afraid that he has now let all of the fame and fortune go to his head and you almost feel a sense of despondency that your favorite icon has sunken so low- but then you have to quickly remember and assure yourself that this is just fantasy; Depeche Mode are as sexy and top-notch as ever- so much so that they can comfortably laugh at and trash themselves like this without causing so much as a ding on their untouchable image.
3. "World in My Eyes" (1990)
Okay, I have to say that it's totally believable knowing Dave (you know what I mean; no, I don't know him personally!) that he would daydream about classic cars all day and all night long and that his ultimate dream date would be to take a gorgeous girl to a drive-in movie in one. At least...that's what this video would have the viewer quite convinced of. Plus, do you think Dave's date movie of choice would be one from his own concert? Ha! Again, this is one of those plots that involve Dave and a girl enjoying their time together, so maybe there is a theme here on which types of videos I like best? Hmmm...Well, another element that's great about this video is all of the footage from the World Violation Tour, the only tour from Depeche Mode's peak period from which very little professional footage seems to exist. The ending has a nice twist, too, and this is one of those videos where I wish I could relive watching it again as if it were my first time seeing it...just so that I can relive that feeling of surprise and amusement by the ending.
4. "Suffer Well" (2006)
This should come as no surprise if you have read my review of this video; this is my absolute favorite. As I mentioned on that page, I would describe this as a four-minute-long biopic of Dave. We get to see him descend from a smartly-dressed, confident hero into a scraggly-looking, debauched fool over the course of just a couple of minutes. Is it intentional that the scraggly, long-haired look very much resembled him in the mid-1990s? Anyway, the image of the drunk man dead in the snow actually hits pretty hard, knowing how dangerously close Dave actually came to suffering such a fate during his earlier, darker days. Thankfully, the real saga did not end that way, much to our relief (and Dave's, as well, as depicted in the end of the video). On a lighter note, though, the cameos here are also wonderful. I especially love the very personal touch added by featuring Jennifer Sklias-Gahan, Dave's real-life wife, both as an angel that can potentially save his life and as his companion at the very end.
5. "Enjoy the Silence" (1990)
I would be remiss...nay, most likely hunted down and flogged in the streets if I did not include this video on this list! This is the most iconic music video featuring Dave, period. Have you ever wondered what makes it so iconic, though? Is it Dave's portrayal of a king who seems to be suffering from wanderlust? Is it the beautiful, open scenery in which "King Dave" is wandering among? Is it the whimsy of including a plain lawn chair that serves as his only companion and prop throughout his travels? Whatever the reasons are, I think just about everyone can agree that this is Dave's most memorable and iconic music video appearance. The fact that the song and the album it came from are both iconic and pivotal in their own right just elevates it further into legendary status. This video is simply timeless.
Bonus: Honorable Mentions
There are plenty of other music videos which feature Dave and that are also great, though they didn't quite make this list. Here are some of them.
"Barrel of a Gun" (1997)
Such striking hair and makeup work on Dave here to fit the character in the song.
Never before have I ever wanted to be bullied by Dave so bad.
An underrated video for a highly-underrated song.
"All of This and Nothing" (2015)
The sheer ingenuity of the hologram concept (see this video on YouTube for details) alone makes this video stand out.
What do you think of this list? Do you agree or disagree with anything here? Were there any music videos that weren't on this list but should've been? Please comment below!