Favorites: Peter Gabriel, ex-Genesis

jeux sans frontières

peter gabriel.soI’m revisiting J. Eric Smith’s favorite songs by favorite band question. He broke it up by segments of his life. For me:

The Beatles (1965-1969) – without a doubt. I joined the Capitol Record Club in 1965 or 1966 and bought Beatles VI. Then I got all of the back albums and the subsequent ones through Revolver. Well except Yesterday and Today, which I got for $2.99 at the Rexall drug store. Sgt. Pepper, I purchased from W.T. Grant for the outrageous price of $3.67. (I don’t know where I got it, but the Let It Be album was $4.99!)

My favorite songs in 2011, which probably hasn’t much changed: 13-4; 3-1.

The Rolling Stones (1970-1972) – when the Beatles were breaking up, I turned my attention to that other leading British invasion band. Frankly, I thought most of their early albums were not very good. They had a couple of hits plus a bunch of filler. It wasn’t until Aftermath that I thought they started to put together coherent packages. like the Beatles, their record label in the US often repackaged what the band intended.

Then they put out my favorite albums of theirs, Let It Bleed and Sticky Fingers.
My favorite songs (2013).

Stevie Wonder (1973-1976) – you could argue that Stevie Wonder is not a band. 1) Don’t care, and 2) the way he creates such a full sound, maybe he is. His albums captivated me as early as Where I’m Coming From (1971), through Songs in the Key of Life (1976)
My favorite songs (2020).
If I were to pick a group in this time frame, it might be the Who or CSNY.

Paul Simon (1977-1980) – My obsession with Paul goes back to his period with Artie.
My favorite songs (2011).
If I had to pick a band, it’d probably be Led Zeppelin.

Post Genesis

Peter Gabriel (1981-1984) – I really discovered Gabriel with his third album (Melt) in 1980, which is probably on my island list. I quickly picked up the first two albums and several of his subsequent ones.

I shall admit that I wasn’t particularly familiar with his stint in the group Genesis until my local radio station WQBK played the title song of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway incessantly.

Making this list was brutal. I could almost pick every song from Melt and half the songs from So. From 10-1, approximately:

Don’t Give Up (featuring Kate Bush) – I love the changing rhythms of this song, as well as the title message. There’s a cover of this by Willie Nelson featuring Sinéad O’Connor.
Big Time – lives on the bassline, and I always love that!
And Through the Wire
Solsbury Hill – Gabriel has said, “It’s about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get … It’s about letting go.”
Games Without Frontiers – “She’s so funky, yeah.” No that’s not right- “jeux sans frontières.”

Sledgehammer – it was the video, which makes this song seem faster than it actually is.
I Don’t Remember – I relate to this too well.
Not One of Us” – Lots of people relate to this too well.
Here Comes the Flood it’s the remake. Shaking The Tree – 16 Golden Greats. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
Biko – one of the most important songs ever written in popular music. It started the process of shedding light on the apartheid of South Africa in a very tangible way.

If I were to pick an actual group from the early 1980s, it’d probably be The Police or The Clash.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Favorites: Peter Gabriel, ex-Genesis”

  1. PG’s “Melt” is also on my DID list. Amazing, incredible record. “Not One Of Us” is tremendous, and contains a lyrical snippet that I’ve referenced numerous times in writing over the years, since it eloquently and tersely describes something complicated: “How can we be in, if there is no outside?”

    My top ten Gabriel moments would probably (right now, anyway) be:

    “D.I.Y.”
    “Moribund the Burgermeister”
    “Digging in the Dirt”
    “Biko”
    “Not One Of Us”
    “In Your Eyes”
    “Solsbury Hill”
    “I Don’t Remember”
    “The Rhythm of the Heat”
    “Intruder”

    I actually listen more to Phil-era Genesis than Gabriel-era stuff these days (heresy, I know) . . . with the exception of the “Lamb” album, which is a masterpiece that still spins hereabouts regularly.

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