"Ladies and gentlemen, our first reading is from the early part of Genesis, which many scholars argue is the definitive part of Genesis, because that's when they still had Peter Gabriel."
Born in Surrey, England, Peter Gabriel is the former frontman of the influential Progressive Rock
(for details on his time with them, visit their page) and currently a solo artist.
After leaving the band, he first gained a hit with "Solsbury Hill," which was, appropriately enough, about his breakup with them. He then went on to release four increasingly experimental solo albums from 1977-1985, all of which were initially named Peter Gabriel
, but have since been re-titled based on their cover art. They were fairly successful, producing multiple hits, such as "Games Without Frontiers", "I Don't Remember", and "Shock the Monkey".
Then came 1986, and his album So
along with it. It was a smash hit that gave Gabriel his greatest mainstream success, featuring some of his most famous songs (particularly "Sledgehammer"
and "In Your Eyes"
). Six years later came Us
, followed (almost ten years later
) by Up
, with his most recent being a Cover Album
, Scratch My Back
. He has also done work for various films, most famously "Down to Earth" for WALL•E
Gabriel is a pioneer in many respects: he was one of the first popular artists to start including World music (particularly African) influences into his music, and was the first to use the "gated drum" sound as well (it was invented by former bandmate Phil Collins for a track on one of Gabriel's self-titled albums). He is one of the founders of On Demand Distribution, which has become the leading downloadable music platform in Europe, and is a big supporter of the WOMAD world music movement, in addition to work for Amnesty International and various other charities.
His albums, in chronological order:
Scratch My Back
- Peter Gabriel 1/Car
- Peter Gabriel 2/Scratch
- Peter Gabriel 3/Melt
- Peter Gabriel 4/Security
- Birdy (the score for the eponymous Nicolas Cage film)
- Passion (the score for The Last Temptation of Christ)
- OVO (the UK Millennium Dome show)
- Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence
- Big Blue Ball (a WOMAD collaboration album he did some songs for)
- Scratch My Back
- New Blood (a collection of his songs rearranged and re-recorded for orchestra, done similar to Scratch My Back)
has a companion album, And I'll Scratch Yours
, with the artists whose songs Gabriel covered covering some of his in turn, including Lou Reed
, Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, Arcade Fire, and more; these covers were released as singles, coupled with the corresponding artist's cover, before it was announced that the project would be released on September 23, 2013.
and New Blood
have come out in Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition
sets as well.