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Peter Gabriel

As the leader of Genesis in the early '70s, Peter Gabriel helped move progressive rock to new levels of theatricality. He was no less ambitious as a solo artist, but he was more subtle in his methods. With his first eponymous solo album in 1977, he began exploring darker, more cerebral territory, incorporating avant-garde, electronic, and worldbeat influences into his music. The record, as well as its two similarly titled successors, established Gabriel as a critically acclaimed cult artist, and with 1982's Security, he began to move into the mainstream; "Shock the Monkey" became his first Top 40 hit, paving the way for his multi-platinum breakthrough So in 1986. Accompanied by a series of groundbreaking videos and the number one single "Sledgehammer," So became a multi-platinum hit, and Gabriel became an international star. Instead of capitalizing on his sudden success, he began to explore other interests, including recording soundtracks and running his company Real World. By the time he returned to pop with 1992's Us, his mass audience had faded away and he spent the remainder of the '90s working on multimedia projects for Real World.

Following his departure from Genesis in 1976, Peter Gabriel began work on the first of three consecutive eponymously titled albums; each record was named Peter Gabriel, he said, as if they were editions of the same magazine. In 1977, his first solo album appeared and became a moderate success due to the single "Solsbury Hill." Another self-titled record followed in 1978, yet received comparatively weaker reviews. Gabriel's third eponymous album proved to be his artistic breakthrough, however. Produced by Steve Lillywhite and released in 1980, the album established Gabriel as one of rock's most ambitious, innovative musicians, as well as one of its most political -- "Biko," a song about a murdered anti-apartheid activist, became one of the biggest protest anthems of the '80s. "Games Without Frontiers," with its eerie chorus, nearly reached the Top 40.

In 1982, Gabriel released Security, which was an even bigger success, earning positive reviews and going gold on the strength of the startling video for "Shock the Monkey." Just as his solo career was taking off, Gabriel participated in a one-shot Genesis reunion in order to finance his WOMAD -- World of Music, Arts and Dance -- Festival. WOMAD was designed to bring various world musics and customs to a Western audience, and it soon turned into an annual event, and a live double album was released that year to commemorate the event. As Gabriel worked on his fifth album, he contributed the soundtrack to Alan Parker's 1984 film Birdy. His score was highly praised and it won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes that year. After founding Real World, Inc. -- a corporation devoted to developing bridges between technology and multi-ethnic arts -- in 1985, he completed his fifth album, So.

Released in 1986, So became Gabriel's commercial breakthrough, largely because his Stax homage "Sledgehammer" was blessed with an innovative video that combined stop-action animation with live action. So climbed to number two as "Sledgehammer" hit number one, with "Big Time" -- featuring a video very similar to "Sledgehammer" -- reaching the Top Ten and "In Your Eyes" hitting the Top 30. As So was riding high on the American and British charts, Gabriel co-headlined the first benefit tour for Amnesty International in 1986 with Sting and U2. Another Amnesty International Tour followed in 1988, and the following year, Gabriel released Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ, a collection of instrumentals used in Martin Scorsese's film. Passion was the furthest Gabriel delved into worldbeat, and the album was widely acclaimed, winning the Grammy Award in 1989 for Best New Age Performance. In 1990, he released the hits compilation Shaking the Tree.

Gabriel labored long on the pop music follow-up to So, finally releasing Us in the spring of 1992. During the recording of Us, Gabriel went through a number of personal upheavals, including a painful divorce, and those tensions manifested themselves on Us, a much darker record than So. For various reasons, not the least of which was the fact that it was released six years after its predecessor, Us wasn't as commercially successful as So, despite positive reviews. Only one single, the "Sledgehammer" knockoff "Steam," reached the Top 40, and the album stalled at platinum sales. In 1993, Gabriel embarked on the most ambitious WOMAD tour to date, touring the United States with a roster including Crowded House, James, and Sinéad O'Connor, with whom he had an on-off romantic relationship. The following year, he released the double-disc Secret World Live, which went gold. Later in 1994, he released the CD-ROM Xplora, one of many projects he developed with Real World. For the rest of the decade, Gabriel concentrated on developing more multimedia projects for the company and working on a new studio album.

Up was released in 2002, a full decade after Gabriel's last studio effort. Dense, cerebral, and often difficult, the record peaked at number nine but failed to sell well in America. It fared slightly better in Canada, where it went gold. He then turned his attention to a host of different projects, although the release of Big Blue Ball -- a compilation of collaborative performances recorded at Real World Studios during the '90s -- helped placate fans while Gabriel focused his energies elsewhere. He eventually returned to the studio for another album, 2010's Scratch My Back, which featured orchestral covers of songs originally performed by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Paul Simon, David Bowie, and others. Gabriel uncharacteristically delivered the sequel to Scratch My Back quickly, releasing New Blood -- a collection of orchestral reinterpretations of his own songs -- in the fall of 2011. The following year, Gabriel held a lavish celebration of the 25th anniversary of So, releasing several deluxe editions of the record -- the largest being a four-CD, two-DVD, two-vinyl box -- and launching the Back to Front tour, where he played So in its entirety. In 2014, Gabriel was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo act, joining Genesis, which had been inducted four years earlier. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Don't Break This Rhythm (Single)

Comments

My favorite Peter Gabriel song!
Shock the Monkey: THAT is HOT
Remember the Video?
THE MORE I LISTEN THE MORE I REMEMBER SUPPERS READY IS THE BEST !!!
This is awesome music & I really like it a hell of a lot!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! Rob Amerine
you got the voice,you got the words and all your music should be heard loved you as rael !!
"I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery... "
I absolutely love all of your beautiful music
melinda.odon n e l l 5
Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett where the best, they left and genesis was not the same..
You're so handsome sir Peter. :-)
Biko: Awesome, awesome song.
..I reach out from the inside..
OMG best song ever!
I wouldn't say and I'm sure Banks and Rutherford wouldn't say that Gabriel was the leader of Genesis. That's what people assumed. They wrote most of the music, too. Gabriel turned into a great song writer after he left.
Yeah I sure wish we could see the lyrics again! Not sure what happened or why they're not there anymore.
Back to Front tour 2014 Winter Encore Series now available » WEBSITE: http://peter g a b r i e l . c o m / l a t e s t
In Your Eyes: I LOVE THIS SONG. This song is me. To the last word.
kevin-burns9
In your eyes !!! Peter gabriel unbelievable music every-one is total command what a fantastic song!!! He rules!!!pkb4 5
melinda.odon n e l l 5
He was best with genesis, solo career is good but genesis with him at vocals was one of a kind..
ah, thank you
alohakghi
probably taking up too much memory as the genome gets larger in volume.
why cant we see the lyrics anymore ?????
kevin-burns9
Man what song with Kate bush and peter Gabriel don't give up fantastic written and. Sung awesome!!!pk b 4 5
I love it
bumozella
Mysterious, I would love the know the true meaning of this song. I have often thought about the meaning every time I hear this song. Love the song and I think he has a great talent for music. Love!!!!

kevin-burns9
Gabriel leaves heavy messages on every-song the pure master !!!pkb
Hermosa.
Some of the best music every.Been enjoying it for 30 plus years
conversion experience
Biko: GREAT SONG. I LOVE THIS SONG.
tom1tyler
The song that was playing when I first told my future wife that I love her!
Love it.
cover me in the dream fall with me as we see every hope and possibility run with me together we'll bring new fire threw this raw desire come with me and just maybe we will climb past the earths limited spire fly with me to places no one can ever be and we will forever break free of this lost temporal empire
yes, truky a visionary, and truly one of our Master artists.
Peter be lookin' heavy!
Such a nice voice.
I want you close I want you here but I can't help but listen but I can't help but hear... Oh god this song<3
Sarah brighton
the light tone of azure
Sky Blue: The color of Peter Gabriel's eyes are a soulful sky blue. Awesome. Reminds me of the Ocean and the Sky. Makes me think of sailing. Nice.
alansmithcfl
only song he ever did worth listening to. Selfish and non-contribu t o r
kevin-burns9
This song is a wake up to every -day be lucky // excellant Peter Gabriel pkb
Say IPhone five times
Pick a color
Post this on five other songs
Look under your pillow
arodriguez86 5
Hold that boom box proudly over your head!!!
Like rain ? Then burn natural wooden logs in a free air enviroinment like outside and after two days, it will begin to rain and our drout will be no more, all in season of course
Love To Be Loved: beautiful, beautiful song. :-)
This guy rocks
**//SHOCK THE MONKEY//!!** ZzzzaAP!!!
Recently dug out US and played it for several friends. Everyone was blown away by the quality of the recording, the dark beauty of the lyrics and how musically relevant this CD still is. If Peter Gabriel seems over dramatic for your taste, perhaps you might consider going deeper with your bodhi. With his intense World Music stance, I believe Mr. Gabriel is truly a musical visionary.
d
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