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27 May 2022

Andy Fletcher, Depeche Mode Keyboardist & Co-Founder, Dies Aged 60

Andy Fletcher Depeche Mode Dies 60
Photo: Alessandrio Bossio/Alamy Live News
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Depeche Mode keyboardist Andy Fletcher has died, the band has announced. No official cause of death has been revealed at the time of writing.

The band said they were “shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member, and bandmate”.

The statement went on to say that the keyboard player had a “heart of gold” and their “hearts are with his family”.

Fletcher, who was 60, was a founding member of the band which found success with their dark electronic sound with hits including Personal Jesus. Depeche Mode enjoyed sustained chart success in the 1980s and 1990s with singles including New Life, Enjoy the Silence and Just Can’t Get Enough.

The group was founded in Basildon, Essex, in 1980 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years ago.

In a statement posted on social media, the band said: “Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh or a cold pint.”

Fletcher was born in 1961 in Nottingham, and moved to Basildon where he formed the band Composition Of Sound in the late 1970s alongside Martin Gore and Vince Clarke. With the recruitment of singer Dave Gahan they changed their name to Depeche Mode, and the quartet went on to enjoy a spree of early 80s chart hits.

With the departure of Clarke, who went on to form Yazoo and then Erasure, Gore became chief songwriter, and, with the addition of Alan Wilder, the band’s sound took a darker, more gothic turn. They had huge international success in the late 80s and early 90s.

He played on all of Depeche Mode’s studio albums, including Songs Of Faith And Devotion in 1993 and Ultra in 1997, which both reached No 1 in the album chart in the UK.

Not being the singer or the main songwriter, Fletcher was often regarded in later years by fans as the manager figure within the band, looking after the business side of a group credited with selling more than 100m records worldwide. In 2013 he told an interviewer that he was “the tall guy in the background, without whom this international corporation called Depeche Mode would never work”.

In the 1989 documentary 101 by director D A Pennebaker, which was based around the 101st date of the band’s ‘Music For The Masses’ tour, Fletcher was even more understating about his role, saying “Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the good musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around.”

Wilder quit in 1995, leaving the group as a three-piece. The band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

Tributes to Fletcher have been pouring in. Lol Tolhurst, former drummer with The Cure, described the news of Fletcher’s death as “very sad”.

“I knew Andy and considered him a friend. We crossed many of the same pathways as younger men,” he tweeted.

In a post on Facebook, synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys said: “Fletch was a warm, friendly and funny person who loved electronic music and could also give sensible advice about the music business.”

Sister Bliss, from electronic band Faithless, described Fletcher as a “keyboard warrior” and tweeted that he was “gone way too soon”.

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