Andy Fletcher, who played synthesizers in Depeche Mode, the electronics-heavy British band that developed an enormous fan following and sold hundreds of thousands of records within the Nineteen Eighties and ’90s, has died. He was 60.
The band announced his death on Thursday on Twitter. The announcement didn’t specify where he died or give a cause. An unidentified source near the band told The Associated Press that he died on Thursday at his home in Britain.
Mr. Fletcher formed Depeche Mode in 1980 in Basildon, east of London, together with his fellow synthesizer players Vince Clarke and Martin Gore and the vocalist Dave Gahan. Mr. Clarke left after the group’s first album, “Speak & Spell,” was released in 1981, Alan Wilder filled the spot, and Mr. Gore took over from Mr. Clarke because the group’s foremost songwriter. The band began to veer away from pop and toward the darker, more serious music that it rode to worldwide fame over the following 20 years.
Critics at first often didn’t fully appreciate the appeal of the synthesizer-dominated act.
“Consisting of 4 young men, three synthesizers and a tape recorder playing prerecorded rhythm tracks, Depeche Mode makes gloomy merry-go-round music with a danceable beat,” Stephen Holden wrote in an unenthusiastic review in The Recent York Times of a 1982 performance on the Ritz in Recent York.
Fans, though, latched on, and by the tip of the Nineteen Nineties the group had landed dozens of singles on the British charts — “People Are People” (1984) and “Personal Jesus” (1989) were among the many more successful, also charting in america — and it was filling big arenas.
Onstage, Mr. Fletcher was the least flashy member of the group. And he was self-deprecating about his role.
“Martin’s the songwriter, Alan’s the great musician, Dave’s the vocalist, and I bum around,” he said in “Depeche Mode: 101,” a 1989 documentary.
But Michael Pagnotta, a SiriusXM Volume host who for much of the Nineteen Nineties was the band’s publicist, said that offstage, Mr. Fletcher was the glue that held the band together, desirous to put it on the market, keeping track of business and financial matters and infrequently serving as the primary point of contact when a tour brought it to a latest city.
“Andy Fletcher was the center of Depeche Mode,” Mr. Pagnotta said in an announcement. “A real believer within the band and their music. His keen musical and business instincts helped Depeche develop into one of the vital popular and influential bands of their generation and helped carry all of them the method to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Not bad for a boy from Basildon.”
That Hall of Fame induction got here in 2020, the band having first been nominated in 2017 — a nomination that Mr. Fletcher never expected, since an electronic band didn’t fit the guitar-and-drums model that traditionally defined rock ’n’ roll.
“To be honest, we were surprised,” he said of the initial nomination in a 2017 interview with The Associated Press. “We never aimed to be in it. We predict, ‘An electronic band within the rock ‘n’ roll hall?’”
Andrew Fletcher was born on July 8, 1961, in Nottingham, England, and, just like the band’s other founders, grew up in a working-class family in Basildon. He and Mr. Clarke met when each were within the Boys’ Brigade, a Christian youth organization. They formed a band, Composition of Sound, in 1980 and shortly invited one other acquaintance, Mr. Gore, to hitch because, as Mr. Gore put it later, he was “certainly one of the few people in Basildon who had a synthesizer.”
Later that 12 months Mr. Gahan joined as featured vocalist, bringing a way of favor and a latest name, Depeche Mode. Daniel Miller of Mute Records signed the group, and its popularity began to grow, not only in England but in addition in East and West Germany and other countries.
“Violator,” certainly one of the band’s most successful albums, got here out in 1989, and, riding its popularity, Depeche Mode played Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan the following 12 months.
“The band’s music, made by synthesizers, is loud washes of sound driven by a dance beat,” Peter Watrous wrote in The Times. “Jet engines roar. Cliffs collapse, dams break. An occasional guitar peeps out from behind the wreckage. All is magnified, and the dance beat, occasionally influenced by house music and hip-hop, continues.
“At Radio City, the audience stood in the course of the whole show and continuously needed to be kept from dancing within the aisles.”
In 2017 the group released its 14th studio album, “Spirit.”
Mr. Fletcher’s survivors include his wife, Gráinne Mullan, and their children, Megan and Joe.