Peter Gabriel – Amazing voice combined with touching lyrics

Peter GabrielThe first time I heard and enjoyed a song by Peter Gabriel I didn’t know how the song was named nor did I know who made that song. A few years later I saw the record of a concert by a – back then to me unknown – artist named Peter Gabriel on TV. I enjoyed the music and the show until I saw him playing Sledgehammer and I asked myself: „Hey, I know that song, it is awsome!“.

Since then I’m some kind of a fan of Peter Gabriel. I’m owning some music from him, but I didn’t attend a concert or so.
Anyway, I don’t know if you ever heard about him. So let me give you some information about him.

Who is Peter Gabriel?

I could try to write an own description, but I think Wikipedia has a very good article about Peter Gabriel:

Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950, in Chobham, Surrey, England) is an English musician. He first came to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career. More recently he has focused on producing and promoting world music and pioneering digital distribution methods for music. He has also been involved in various humanitarian efforts.

After I saw the recorded concert on TV, I did some research about Peter Gabriel and found a lot more songs I really like.
One of my favorite Genesis songs is You can’t hurry love„. The deep meaning of this song is amazing and I listen to it whenever I’m somehow sad about the fact that I’m still a single…

There are some more Genesis songs I like, but this review is about Peter Gabriel and not Genesis, so I will concentrate on his music 🙂

My personal top 5 of Peter Gabriel’s songs are:

  1. Sledgehammer
  2. Solsbury Hill
  3. The Barry Williams Show
  4. Burn you up, burn you down
  5. Shock the monkey

Sense behind the songs

Note: with „sense“ I mean the message I see behind the song. If I see none, I try to provide additional information about the song.


The song was influenced by 1960s soul music, as evident by the use of horns and a general Stax sound. The distinctive Horn section was provided by the Memphis Horns – who were house musicians for Stax records. The song was also known for its use of a synthesized shakuhachi flute.

It contains somewhat subtle sexual innuendo, which was common in soul music from the time. The lyrics include phallic references such as a steam train, bumper cars, and a big dipper (roller coaster). It also includes references to the sexual reproduction of plants, mentioning pollination, fruit and bees.

Peter Gabriel - SledgehammerWhen I heard this song, my mother told me that the video to the song is the most amazing she ever saw. After some research I was able to watch the video on YouTube and I have to agree.
I can imagine that back when this video was broadcast it influenced the music film industry. The use of stop motion aside other rather unusual video effects make this song the most unique and most amazing one I ever saw. Wikipedia wrote that Peter Gabriel laid under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the stills for the video! That’s just another reason to like that video.

Solsbury Hill

Peter Gabriel - Solsbury HillSolsbury Hill was Peter Gabriel’s first solo song and in the song he dealt with his departure from Genesis.

Gabriel explains the reasons behind his departure in this song. These reasons where the difficult pregnancy of Gabriel’s wife, Jill, and birth of their first child, Anna. When he opted to stay with his sick daughter and wife rather than go record and tour, the resentment from the rest of the band led Gabriel to conclude that he had to leave the band.

The Barry Williams Show
Peter Gabriel - The Barry Williams ShowThe title and the lyrics are telling you everything: Peter Gabriel is criticizing the talk shows. I can only agree with him, because I don’t like those shows either. Are you really interested in the (senseless) problems of other people? Those people are only on TV because they want to become famous by all means, even if it means that they have to put themselves down. The talk shows are not only „famous“ because of the people shown, but also because of their talk masters.

Burn you up, burn you down
Peter Gabriel - Burn you, burn you downAs I understand the song, Peter Gabriel is talking about a relationship which is not running well at the moment. It seems to me as if he points out that there is a need of dialog between both partys. However, one party carries his or her intentions through the wind, meaning that the persons just does his or her own thing ignoring the other one. The other person sees that and tries to tell how to solve this because the person never thought [they] had so much time to lose.

Shock the monkey
Peter Gabriel - Shock the monkeyThere are many opinions about the meaning of this song:

  • The song is about the consuming of cocaine because around 1985 „Shock the monkey“ meant that someone who took cocaine shows paranoia and other symptoms. This rumor is not confirmed by Peter Gabriel, but people keep on assuming this.
  • The song is about the mistreatment and abuse of monkey in the industry and at other places. Again, this is not confirmed by Peter Gabriel and if you watched the video you can be sure that this meaning is just a wrong assumption.
  • The confirmed meaning says that the song is about jealousy. However, many people are skeptic, especially after watching the video.

I‚m undecided on what the meaning of the song is for me. I prefer to say it is just another great song from Peter Gabriel.

Wrap up

Peter Gabriel wrote and still writes many great songs. I always enjoy listening to his music especially because of the touching lyrics which usually have a deep meaning which can be difficult to discover. Also, I have to admit that I like his voice (no pun intended) which is just awesome for his music.
Of course I’m also wondering what would be if Peter Gabriel stayed with Genesis… Either way, it would have been a great success, I’m sure.

I‚m giving Peter Gabriel 5 points, which is the maximum of points I can give and equals to very good.
He has an amazing voice and combined it with touching lyrics in his songs, I’m looking forward to more songs from him!

Further Reading

Update: I’m sorry, but I made a mistake in my review. Don’t hurry love is not a song by Genesis. I don’t know how I messed it up, but the song is from Phil Collins. I’m really sorry for any confusion caused 🙁

Ein Gedanke zu „Peter Gabriel – Amazing voice combined with touching lyrics

  1. Solsbury Hill ist ein wunderbarer Song, wahrscheinlich der beste in der Welt überhaupt!

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