Solo career of Peter Gabriel (1 of 3)

Album: Car (Peter Gabriel 1) (1977)  
Thoughts: Peter Gabriel has a very unique vocal style. To me the album is not as great as people claim, only a couple of memorable tracks.
The intro to Solsbury Hill never fails to move me emotionally, the singer tells us why he left Genesis in the key track on his 1977 solo debut.
Favorite tracks: Solsbury Hill, Here Comes The FloodHumdrum

Album: Scratch (Peter Gabriel 2) (1978)   
Thoughts: He goes all out with the rock and jamming approach, which is a little too loud and electric guitar heavy for my taste.
Favorite tracks: Mother of ViolenceOn The Air

Album: Melt (Peter Gabriel 3) (1980) 
Thoughts: 1986's "So" is the singer’s most popular and accessible album, yet his 1980 experimental album Melt is by some cited as his masterpiece as a solo artist.
It's my 2nd favorite Peter Gabriel solo album. Has an atmospheric and meticulous production that draws you in. I love the layers of sound, and holds up well to repeats plays.
In the days of side one and side two, the first half of the record is stronger than the last half. Ideally, an album to listen to with a high-quality sound system.
Contains two of Gabriel's most famous songs, the UK Top 10 hit "Games Without Frontiers" and the political song "Biko", about the late anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. However these are not actually my favorites.
Favorite tracks: Intruder(a very sinister track), Start (80s instrumental with sax and synth), I Don't Remember, Lead a Normal Life, Family SnapshotNo Self Control

Album: Security (Peter Gabriel 4) (1982) 
Thoughts: The tracks aren’t as strong as Melt (1980). Again, a sonic production, but this time, not as haunting or impactful. Perhaps with repeat plays the album will grow on me. The single Shock The Monkey is alright for the production, but is not as good as it could have been due to the boring lyrics.
Favorite tracks: Shock The MonkeySan JacintoWallflower

Any thoughts on the music? Have you listened to Peter Gabriel's solo albums? Or are you new to the music as I am? Next time, I'll look at Birdy (1984) soundtrack and the album So (1986)


  1. Nice breakdown of Gabriel's solo career (well, the first part of it). I've never really gotten into his stuff very heavily, but I have liked songs here and there so maybe I will check him out more fully.

    1. @Fisti: Thanks, most people know Peter Gabriel from his mid-80s hits such as Sledgehammer, Don't Give Up, and In Your Eyes, but some of his other albums are worth checking too, especially Melt (1980)

  2. I'm another who liked some songs of his here and there, but never really got into him. It was until recently that I found out that he had a relatively lengthy career.

    1. @Wendell Ottley: Yep, Peter Gabriel has been active for decades. You can hardly recognize him anymore, if you compare a picture of him now and from the 1970s.

  3. I grew up on this stuff--I prefer a lot of this part of Gabriel's career to his later work. I consider Humdrum a highlight of the first album, although I admit that this album hasn't aged as well as it could have except for Solisbury Hill.

    I find his second album terribly underrated. On the Air, Indigo, and White Shadow are all noteworthy songs. Back in the vinyl album days, White Shadow at the end of the first side would play and play and play--it would never let the arm of the needle hit the spot to return automatically, so those last few notes would simply repeat until you manually stopped it.

    The third album, though...I don't think there's a down track on it. The unique sonic landscape is created in large part because there's not a single cymbal crash on the entire album. Give it another listen; you won't hear even a tapped hi-hat.

    Security is a baby step backwards, Wallflower and Rhythm of the Heat are additional high points.

    I've have Security in German. Gabriel sounds great "auf Deutsch" and the song I Have the Touch is...unique in German.

    1. @SJHoneywell:
      I just gave those selections you mentioned a listen, thanks for sharing. 2-3 of them I definitely overlooked and shall add to my post above.

      Peter Gabriel 1: Humdrum, the instrumental section starting at 1.54 I find particularly beautiful

      Peter Gabriel 2: The end part of White Shadow is quite magical, especially on repeat I could imagine. My favorite of the three you highlight is On The Air, a pretty good rock song.

      Peter Gabriel 3: Fantastic album. Next time I put it on I’ll listen out for what you said.

      Peter Gabriel 4 I listened to right after I listened to Peter Gabriel 3, so 4 had a tough time living up to 3. I like the lyrics and vocal on Wallflower, the piano piece works well in the middle and at the end.

      I did read about the German versions, I’ll stick to the English myself, but thanks for the link, kind of like what Kraftwerk did at the time, both English and German versions!

  4. The third album is one of my favorites along with So and the Passion album. I'm not entirely familiar with his work as a solo artist as I was kinda turned off by his recent orchestral albums. I just found them to be quite dull.

    1. @thevoid99: I really need to give the Passion album a spin. Agree Melt and So are great albums.
      I’ll write about his recent output later, but suffice to say they are not essential listening.


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