Song of the Day: Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus” is Depeche Mode’s 23rd UK single, released on 29 August 1989, and the first single from the album Violator. The single reached No. 13 on theUK Singles Chart and No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was the first single to make the US Top 40 for the band since their 1984 single “People Are People” and was their first gold-certified single in the US (quickly followed by the band’s subsequent single, “Enjoy the Silence”).

Lyrics:

Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who cares
Your own personal Jesus
Someone to hear your prayers
Someone who’s there
Feeling unknown
And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer
Take second best
Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess

I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Reach out and touch faith
Your own personal Jesus

Feeling unknown
And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer

I will deliver
You know I’m a forgiver
Reach out and touch faith
Your own personal Jesus
Reach out and touch faith

The song was inspired by the book Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley. According to songwriter Martin Gore:

It’s a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It’s about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody’s heart is like a god in some way, and that’s not a very balanced view of someone, is it?
Johnny Cash did a stripped-down version on his 2002 album American IV, The Man Comes Around. Martin Gore revealed to The London Times that the band were unaware that Cash had covered this song. When they heard about the Country legend’s recording, the threesome were naturally thrilled. Said Gore: “I think when you’re somebody of Johnny Cash’s caliber, you don’t ask for permission.”
This was the biggest selling 12-inch in Warner Brother’s history to that point.

Cover versions

Johnny Cash
Marilyn Manson
Jamelia
Hilary Duff

Lollipop Lust Kill
Gravity Kills
David Gogo
Toy Division
Nina Hagen
Tori Amos
Richard Cheese
Makke
Jerry Williams
Thomas Di Leva

Depeche Mode

Origin Basildon, Essex, England, United Kingdom
Genres Alternative dance, synthpop, New Wave
Years active 1980–present
Labels Mute
Columbia
EMI
Sire
Reprise
Website depechemode.com
Members
Dave Gahan
Martin Gore
Andy Fletcher
Past members
Vince Clarke
Alan Wilder

image by ototoi

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