People Are People

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"People Are People"
Single by Depeche Mode
from the album Some Great Reward
B-side"In Your Memory"
Released12 March 1984
  • 3:43 (7"/single version)
  • 3:52 (album version)
  • 7:11 (12" version)
Songwriter(s)Martin Gore
Depeche Mode singles chronology
"Love, in Itself"
"People Are People"
"Master and Servant"

"People Are People" is Depeche Mode's 10th UK single, and was recorded at Hansa Mischraum in West Berlin, and released on 12 March 1984.[3] It was their first hit single in the US and the first single from the Some Great Reward album.

Song information[edit]

As with many Depeche Mode songs, the band members see different meanings in "People Are People". According to Martin Gore, the song is about racism. Alan Wilder adds that it could also be about war.[4]

"People Are People" was written by Martin Gore, but the dancy, pop feel of the song may be credited to Alan Wilder. Wilder wrote the B-side, "In Your Memory"; each song has an extended remix, the "Different Mix" and the "Slik Mix" respectively (although the "In Your Memory" mix is often incorrectly called the "Slick Mix" or "Silk Mix"). It was one of the first songs recorded for the album when sessions began at the Hansa Mischraum studio in January 1984.

"This was the first song of ours that made a dent, really, into popular radio," said Dave Gahan in 2017. "We were using all these tape loops to create rhythms and the technology was quite advanced, but it wasn’t anything like it is today, the things that you can do. We used to go into studios, and the first thing we’d do, we’d ask where the kitchen was — literally for pots and pans and things that we could throw down the stairs, and record the rhythms they would make crashing around, and then make it into loops."[5]

The Clive Richardson-directed "People Are People" video was released in two versions; the original video was made for the single version, but an alternate video was made with the "Different Mix". The music video featured footage of various military scenes from the Cold War, mixed with footage of the band aboard HMS Belfast. The "Different Mix" video appears on Some Great Videos and Video Singles Collection.

Despite the song's success, Martin Gore considers it one of his least favourite songs, he prefers his songs to have subtle metaphors to allow people to find their own meanings to his songs, and feels "People Are People" does not fit that description[citation needed]. In 1990 he listed the song among some of the music he "regrets", calling "People Are People" "too nice, too commercial."[6] It has not been played live since 1988.[7]

Album release[edit]

A compilation album titled People Are People was released in the US, featuring several songs not previously available; the single itself was released in the USA on 11 July 1984, though it did not reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart until May 1985, and initially was played only on modern rock and college radio. The single would eventually peak at no. 13. In the UK, the single reached number 4, which was at the time the band's highest singles chart position in their homeland. Since then, "Barrel of a Gun" (1997) and "Precious" (2005) have also reached number 4 in the UK.

In West Germany, the song was a no. 1 hit and was used as the theme to West German TV's coverage of the 1984 Olympics, alluding to East Germany's participation in the Soviet-led boycott of the games. It was also used as the theme song of the 1990s BBC Children's factual TV series, It'll Never Work?.

In 2011 the song was included on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll".[8]

Track listings[edit]

Depeche Mode version[edit]

7": Mute / 7Bong5 (UK) & Sire / 7-29221 (US)[edit]

  1. "People Are People" – 3:43
  2. "In Your Memory" – 4:01

12": Mute / 12Bong5 (UK)[edit]

  1. "People Are People (Different Mix)" – 7:11
  2. "In Your Memory (Slik Mix)" – 8:12

12": Mute / L12Bong5 (UK)[edit]

  1. "People Are People (On-USound Mix)" – 7:30 (remixed by Adrian Sherwood)
  2. "People Are People" – 3:43
  3. "In Your Memory" – 4:01

12": Sire / 0-20214 (US)[edit]

  1. "People Are People (Different Mix)" – 7:11
  2. "People Are People (On-USound Mix)" – 7:30
  3. "In Your Memory" – 4:01

"In Your Memory" is falsely labeled as the "Slik Mix Edit"

CD: Mute / CDBong5 (UK)[edit]

  1. "People Are People" – 3:43
  2. "In Your Memory" – 4:01
  3. "People Are People (12" Version)" – 7:11
  4. "In Your Memory (Slik Mix)" – 8:12


Weekly charts[edit]

RuPaul version[edit]

"People Are People (The RuMixes)"
Single by RuPaul
from the album Red Hot and ReWorked
Released26 January 2006
Songwriter(s)Martin Gore
RuPaul singles chronology
"People Are People (The RuMixes)"
"Call Me Starrbooty"
Music video
"People Are People" on YouTube

RuPaul's version of the song was recorded in 2004 for the studio album Red Hot, his version, which features Tom Trujillo, was released as a retail single on 26 January 2006 to promote the remix album ReWorked. It peaked at no. 10 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.


  1. "People Are People (Craig C. Radio)" – 4:42
  2. "People Are People (Giuseppe D's Rutroactive Club) – 8:20
  3. "The Price of One (Craig C. Ru Edit)" – 6:43
  4. "People Are People (Craig C. Main Vocal)" – 8:01
  5. "The Price of One (Craig C.'s Mo' Trippin' Dub)" – 10:02
  6. "People Are People (Goodandevil)" – 3:42
  7. "People Are People (DJ Record Player's SSSnakin' Breakin')" – 7:11
  8. "The Price of One (Craig C.'s Mo' Trippin' Beats)" – 2:41
  9. "People Are People (Craig C. Dub)" – 8:01
  10. "I Just Can't Wait (Till Christmas)" – 2:42

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[31] 10

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In A Relaxed Mode For 'Exciter'". Billboard. 113 (20): 11. 19 May 2001. ISSN 0006-2510. the searing synth-pop sound that sparked a string of hits ("Just Can't Get Enough," "People Are People,"...
  2. ^ Mason, Stewart. "People Are People – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 23 June 2013. "People Are People" was the single that introduced Depeche Mode's next-level sound as the group that made industrial music (à la Einsturzende Neubauten or Test Dept.)
  3. ^ "Record News". NME. London, England: 40. 10 March 1984.
  4. ^ Reid, Jim (10 March 1984). "Clunk Clunk Every Trip". Record Mirror. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  5. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (23 March 2017). "David Gahan reveals stories behind Depeche Mode's biggest hits". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  6. ^ Maconie, Stuart (17 February 1990). "Sin Machine". NME. pp. 34–35. ISSN 0028-6362. Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  7. ^ "People Are People by Depeche Mode". Retrieved 5 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Experience The Music: One Hit Wonders and The Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  9. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  10. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  11. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0576." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  13. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Titres par Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Depeche Mode" from the artist drop-down menu. Archived from the original on 19 May 2013. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  14. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – People Are People". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  16. ^ "Indice per Interprete: D" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Depeche Mode - People Are People" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  18. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  19. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People". VG-lista. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  20. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  21. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  23. ^ a b c "Depeche Mode – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  24. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending AUGUST 17, 1985". Archived from the original on 1 October 2012.. Cash Box.
  25. ^ " – Depeche Mode – People Are People" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 22 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1984" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1984" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1984" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 June 2014.
  29. ^ "British single certifications – Depeche Mode – People Are People". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type People Are People in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  30. ^ "American single certifications – Depeche Mode – People Are People". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  31. ^ "RuPaul Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 29 January 2011.

External links[edit]