80’s Music: Peter Gabriel

I’ve been covering some really fun pop stuff, but not a lot of depth, so I have decided to switch it up.  Peter Gabriel made some of the most dramatic, substantial music during this decade. While he hit big with the really fun songs, Sledgehammer and Big Time, I’m a bigger fan of his more atmospheric tracks. I hope to turn you onto some stuff you might have missed and or at least forgotten about.  Going back on his career for this blog, I had forgotten how great he was during the decade.

One of the most romantic songs ever has to be In Your Eyes.  Ask Lloyd Dobler, if you don’t believe me.  Here is a great live version of the song, with Paula Cole. (hey, remember her?) Gabriel is one of the 10 best live performers I’ve ever witnessed.

Gabriel’s 3rd album is really underrated, as it features great songs like Games without Frontiers, No Self Control, Family Snapshot, and the amazing Biko.  I have chosen the most interesting video from the record, I Don’t Remember.  This was done before MTV in 1980.

In 1982 he came out with Shock the Monkey.  The haunting ache of his voice is completely unique.  Unlike most artists, Gabriel’s music holds up amazingly well.

The lyrics for Don’t Give Up are really amazing. Here is the beginning.

In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
But no one wants you when you lose

Don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not beaten yet
Don’t give up
I know you can make it good

My favorite musical score to any movie is Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ.  It’s a majestic piece of world music influences, with the closing track, The Passion, it’s pinnacle.  The sorrow and ecstasy that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s sings over Gabriel’s music is gorgeous.

I close with a really interesting cover of Gabriel’s Intruder, done by Primus.


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