On March 19th, 1990, Depeche Mode released their best selling and critically acclaimed album Violator.
The album was the band’s first to sell over a million copies in the United States, and brought the band into a new echelon of worldwide success and stardom—even greater than that which was experienced during their previous album Music For The Masses’s final gig at the Rose Bowl on June 18th, 1988, which was performed to a crowd of approximately 65,000 people.
This surge in popularity is infamously highlighted in the March 20th, 1990 signing party for fans at The Wherehouse record store in Los Angeles, which exceeded its capacity by having around 20,000 fans show up,—rather than the few thousand, the store was equipped to handle. This caused safety issues where the band had to leave which caused the event to nearly break out into a riot.
Violator was a turning point musically for Depeche Mode, transitioning the band away from their new-wave and synth-pop origins, into something more alternative rock, which stylistically remains with the band to this day, especially live. This is underscored by the use of acoustic guitars in the album’s first single “Personal Jesus”, which along with its followup “Enjoy The Silence” are two of the most popular Depeche Mode songs of all time, with the former being famously covered by Johnny Cash.
Photographer and Director Anton Corbijn worked even closer with the band on the aesthetics of Violator, directed videos for six of the album’s nine tracks, included all four singles: “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy the Silence”, “Policy of Truth”, and “World In My Eyes”.
Watch them all below: