Depeche Mode in 1978–79, Gore played in an acoustic duo, Norman and The Worms, with school friend Philip Burdett (who now sings on the folk circuit) on vocals and Gore on guitar. In 1979, Marlow, Gore, Clarke and friend Paul Redmond formed a band called "The French Look", Marlow on vocals/keyboards, Gore on guitar, Clarke and Redmond on keyboards.
Depeche Mode in March 1980, Clarke, Gore and Fletcher formed a band called "Composition of Sound", with Clarke on vocals/guitar, Gore on keyboards and Fletcher on bass. "The French Look" and "Composition of Sound" once played live together in June 1980 at St. Nicholas School Youth Club in Southend on sea, Essex.
Soon after the formation of "Composition of Sound", Clarke and Fletcher switched to synthesizers, working odd jobs to buy them, or borrowing them from friends. Gahan joined the band in 1980 after Clarke heard him perform at a local scout-hut jam session, crooning to a rendition of David Bowie's 'Heroes', and "Depeche Mode" was born.
The new name was taken from a French fashion magazine, "Dépêche mode", which translates to "Fashion Update" or "Fashion News Dispatch" (dépêche = dispatch) though it has commonly been mistranslated as "Fast Fashion", due to the confusion with the French verb "se dépêcher" ("to hurry up").
The band became part of Daniel Miller's Mute label by verbal contract, and released their first album, Speak & Spell, in 1981. While the band was promoting the album, Clarke began to publicly discuss his discomfort with the level of success that Depeche Mode was achieving; he felt they were becoming too popular after the success of their second major hit single "Just Can't Get Enough".
He soon left the group and went on to form several other bands including Yazoo (Yaz in the U.S.) with Alison Moyet, The Assembly with Eric Radcliffe, and later Erasure with Andy Bell. More than 20 years after, Depeche Mode still include the aforementioned "Just Can't Get Enough" in their live performances when touring, which has become kind of a humorous tip of the hat to their audience and a "flashback" break during their performances, given the much darker general tone that their compositions achieved in years to come compared to the naive synth-pop style of this song.
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