Peter Gabriel Album by Album

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    As Peter Gabriel is about to leave the Genesis thread to start his solo career, I thought It may be nice to have a look at his solo albums.
    I may touch on the soundtrack albums, but for the most part won't be looking at them too deeply.
    Due to various factors in and around the time of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Genesis and Gabriel decided to part ways. It was a decision that broke a lot of fans hearts and lead to both party's having the freedom to move into the territory they felt more comfortable in.
    Gabriel fulfilled the Lamb tour obligations and then in 1976 started work on his first solo album.
    He recorded the album over the course of 1976 and 1977 with Bob Ezrin as the producer.

    The format for this thread will be to introduce each album one day, and then take one song each day and look at it, get your opinions on it and move on to the next song the day after etc etc .
    Please stay with us on the songs and we can try to make this a good focused look at his main body of work.

    I hope you can participate and enjoy this, as I am very much looking forward to looking at his albums more closely myself.

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  2. tinnox

    tinnox Forum Resident

    Look forward to this as well, I enjoy reading your threads, you are a busy man and thank you for your work on these threads.
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    During The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, Gabriel announced to his Genesis bandmates that he had decided to leave the band, citing estrangement from the other members and the strains on his marriage. Nonetheless, he saw his commitment through to the conclusion of the tour. The breaking point came with the difficult pregnancy of Gabriel's wife, Jill and the subsequent birth of their first child, Anna. When he opted to stay with his sick daughter and wife, rather than record and tour, the resentment from the rest of the band led Gabriel to conclude that he had to leave the group.

    In a letter to fans, delivered through the music press at the end of the tour, entitled Out, Angels Out, Gabriel explained that the "vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our song writing became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. The music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard."

    Gabriel then closed the letter: "There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects."

    Gabriel's Genesis bandmate Phil Collins, who became Gabriel's replacement, later remarked that the other members "were not stunned by Peter's departure because we had known about it for quite a while". The band carried on without Gabriel.

    It must be noted that the band have said that their failure to support Gabriel during the problems with his first child were regrettable and they should have handled all that in a different manor. Also that being quite young men and not really having any reference point for what was happening in his life at that point in time.
  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    I'm glad you enjoy them. I enjoy them as it gets me a little closer to the music. In my older age it is very easy to fall into a zone of not listening to music as I did when I was a young man, and whereas I would fully dive in and explore an album/artist, I have developed a tendency to just listen and think "yea, that's good".
    I look forward to any input you might have for us :)
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  5. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Peter Gabriel
    Studio album by Peter Gabriel
    25 February 1977
    Recorded July 1976 – January 1977
    Studio The Soundstage, Toronto, Canada, Morgan Studios, London, Olympic Studios, London
    Length 41:42
    Label Atco (US & Canada)
    Producer Bob Ezrin

    Singles from Peter Gabriel
    1. "Solsbury Hill"
      Released: 1977
    2. "Modern Love"
      Released: 1977
    Peter Gabriel is the debut solo studio album by English progressive rock singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel and the first of four with the same eponymous title. Released on 25 February 1977, it was produced by Bob Ezrin. Gabriel and Ezrin assembled a team of musicians, including King Crimson frontman and guitarist Robert Fripp, to record the album. Upon the album's release, Gabriel began touring with a seven-piece band under his own name.

    This album is often called either Peter Gabriel 1 or Car, referring to the album cover by London artist Peter Christopherson when he was associated with the London artists group Hipgnosis. The car was a Lancia Flavia owned by Hipgnosis founder Storm Thorgerson.[1]

    The album went to No. 7 in UK and No. 38 in the US.

    Gabriel's first solo success came with the album's lead single "Solsbury Hill", which Gabriel has said is about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go."[2] Although mainly happy with the music, Gabriel felt that the album, in particular the track "Here Comes The Flood", was over-produced. Piano-only or piano with synth versions may be heard on Robert Fripp's Exposure, his appearance on Kate Bush's 1979 TV special and a third version on his greatest hits compilation Shaking the Tree (1990). He often performs the song live accompanied by only himself on keyboard, either in German or English, depending on the audience.[3]

    Direct Disk Labs released a half speed mastered version from the original master tapes. It has a longer version of "Slowburn" (5:16 instead of 4:36) with the song's introduction intact. All other versions of this album have the introduction (with a full band) edited out.

    Peter Gabriel was recorded at The Soundstage in Toronto with producer Bob Ezrin between July 1976 – January 1977; with additional sessions at Morgan Studios and Olympic Studios, in London, England.

    "Bob Ezrin was suggested. For my part, I didn't feel I could be an Alice Cooper, but I made him listen to the extracts of what I had done and he liked them – or, rather, he liked what I liked. We understood each other. We talked. There was an excellent rapport immediately – a human rapport – and that was what I was looking for above all ... I tried to achieve a combination of Bob and me as producers. He controlled the American rhythm sections and I handled the more European things. And, on the album, Bob dominated the very rock passages which I wasn't used to producing, and I lead the quiet parts – things I'd done in Genesis." – Peter Gabriel[7]

    Gabriel and Ezrin assembled musicians for the sessions including guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson, bass player Tony Levin (later of King Crimson), drummer Allan Schwartzberg, percussionist Jimmy Maelen, guitarist Steve Hunter, keyboardist Jozef Chirowski and Larry Fast on synthesizers and programming.

    "I was uncertain of what I could or couldn't do so went with some of Bob Ezrin's choice of musicians (including Tony Levin) and invited Robert Fripp and Larry Fast to cover my more soundscape orientated / European ambitions. Although it was mainly recorded in a snowy couple of weeks in Toronto I remember the sessions as fast, exciting and hot. Many of the backing tracks were put down live, working to the limitations of the 16-track tape machine. It was a fun, intense and scary session, with a great band – who later came out to tour with me."– Peter Gabriel[8]

    The album was released 25 February 1977 on Atco (US & Canada) and Charisma, reaching No. 7 in the UK and No. 38 in the USA.

    Its first single, "Solsbury Hill", became a Top 20 hit in the UK and reached No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100.[9] The second single, "Modern Love", was less successful.

    After Peter Gabriel's release, Gabriel assembled a touring band, consisting of Fripp (occasionally using the pseudonym "Dusty Rhodes", and sometimes performing from offstage) and Hunter on guitar, Levin on bass, Fast on synthesisers, Schwartzberg on drums, Phil Aaberg on keyboards and Jimmy Maelen on percussion. The first leg of his debut solo tour, entitled "Expect the Unexpected", started on 5 March 1977 in the United States and continued until April. The UK portion of the tour concluded on 30 April. A second leg assembled a different band, which included Sid McGinnis on guitar, Levin on bass, Jerry Marotta on drums and Bayette on keyboards. The "Sightings in the Test Area During Autumn" leg began on 30 August and saw the band play throughout England and Europe before concluding on 1 November 1977.

    The album received the prize of the French Académie Charles Cros.[10]

    The photo on the cover is of Peter Gabriel sitting in the front passenger seat[nb 1] of a Lancia Flavia, owned by Storm Thorgerson, co-founder of Hipgnosis and the cover's designer. For the shoot, which took place in Wandsworth, the car was sprayed with a water hose. The black-and-white image was then hand-coloured and reflections modified by artist Richard Manning [11] using a scalpel.[12]

    An alternative proposal was to feature a photograph of Peter Gabriel wearing contact lenses intended to give his eyes the appearance of metallic ball bearings; this was relegated to the inner sleeve instead.[12]

    Stephen Demorest of Rolling Stone described Peter Gabriel as "a grab bag collection of songs that bear little resemblance to one another", nonetheless praising it as "an impressively rich debut album".[18] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called it "a lot smarter" than Gabriel's past work in Genesis, and despite noting that "every time I delve beneath its challenging textures to decipher a line or two I come up a little short", felt that the album was "worth considering".[17] Nick Kent, writing in the NME in 1978, wrote of Peter Gabriel as "a fine record with at least one 24-carat irresistible classic in 'Solsbury Hill' and a strong supporting cast of material that, all in all, in a year besmeared with great albums was, in retrospect, sorely underrated."[19]

    Side One
    1. "Moribund the Burgermeister" 4:20
    2. "Solsbury Hill" 4:21
    3. "Modern Love" 3:38
    4. "Excuse Me" Gabriel, Martin Hall 3:20
    5. "Humdrum" 3:25
    Side Two
    6. "Slowburn" 4:36
    7. "Waiting for the Big One" 7:15
    8. "Down the Dolce Vita" 5:05
    9. "Here Comes the Flood" 5:38
    To me this is a fantastic debut album, perhaps there is a wide variety of song styles and ideas, but personally I love the way it works together. Whether Gabriel decided to be completely different to Genesis or not, I don't know, It may well just have been a natural thing for him without the others involvement, but this album has more in common with the upcoming New Wave movement than most seventies rock. Having said that there is still some seventies rock on here.
    Gabriel on his earlier albums tended to lean to more experimental ideas and ended up with a group of musicians who became core figures in his solo career.

    How do you feel about this album?
    When did you you first come across it?
    Did you follow Gabriel from Genesis?
    Let us know your thoughts and feelings about the album in general and tomorrow morning I will hit the first song.
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  6. Bluepicasso

    Bluepicasso Android Confused

    Arlington, Va
    Always thought the band were jerks to Peter about his situation. Glad he had subsequent success.
  7. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    His first is still my favourite! Bought it in 1977 and loved it since. For CD I prefer the non remastered edition but this album really sounds best on vinyl.
  8. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Even they agree with that. I guess young determined men do stupid things
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  9. Paul Mazz

    Paul Mazz Forum Resident

    Love this album. I’m not sure exactly when I first heard it, but it must have been shortly after release. I had a cassette copy given to me by a friend when I was in college, and it was in constant rotation in the car cassette player on every road trip. It’s still a favorite, and one of the early cds I ripped, so I could have it on my phone. Not sure about the “grab bag “ criticism by the Rolling Stone reviewer- the album, while varied, always sounded pretty cohesive to me. I’m sure my fondness for this album is tied to memories from that period of my life, but it feels like it holds up very well to me. Love the drama in the music, the strangeness, the lyrics that vary wildly in style. Only the last cut drags a little more for me these days. Haven’t listened in a few months- will probably give it a “spin” today.
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  10. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    I like the SACD hybrid I got from europe.
    Love this album and most of his albums until US. After Us he just seemed to lose interest
    BTW track order on cassette was changed from Vinyl and CD
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  11. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    I disagree with the Rolling Stone comment also, but that's not unusual lol
  12. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Was it all of them or just Banks and Rutherford?

    Because from what I've read, Peter Gabriel is on best terms with Phil Collins.....
    mark winstanley likes this.
  13. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    I've only heard the regular CD remaster and that's too compressed for my taste. I like Scratch My Back and New Blood.
    mark winstanley likes this.
  14. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    new york city
    Ah, the first PG album...

    I got it (on cassette!) after completing my discovery of Genesis, with the plan to start with his debut and work my way up to the present (the "present" being So, of which I already was familiar with the hits).

    Of course, I knew what So was, and also knew how Genesis itself had morphed into a hit machine with Invisible Touch and the preceding '80s albums. I was also familiar with Shock the Monkey, as it was still played on MTV at the time. In short, I was already familiar with how both Genesis and PG had changed their sound significantly in the '80s. However, the PG debut album was from 1977, just after Genesis did Trick of the Tail and Wind & Wuthering which were still solidly progressive rock albums. At the time, I assumed/hoped that PG's debut might be something in a similar vein.

    When I first heard Moribund the Burgermeister, I was in love. To me, it sounded exactly as I hoped this album might, which was PG doing PG-Genesis things albeit with his own band. But after that... wow. Not much was as I hoped for or was expecting. Solsbury Hill was a pleasant ditty with a persistent melody, but that and Moribund were all that stuck with me initially, and if I remember correctly, this album was the first one I ever bought with my own money that I regretted buying. As I didn't have a lot of albums and things like streaming songs on the internet were still fairly far off, though, I kept playing it. And as I kept playing it, and then slowly getting his other albums, I began to accept it for what it was, and eventually I liked it.

    In the present day, my adult self thinks that this is a very good album, but not one that I consider superlative. Within his body of work, I don't think it's one of PG's best. It's kind of all over the place in terms of sound and style, which isn't what I was expecting after his meticulous work on The Lamb. That in itself is not much of an indictment, though - it's really about how good the songs are. Although they're among the songs I initially warmed to after first getting the album, I regard Excuse Me and Waiting For the Big One to be style experiments that don't work well, especially within the context of the other songs. After having played them enough to know them inside and out, I now skip them; in fact, when I ripped the album to my hard drive, these didn't make the cut. Then and now, Modern Love seems formulaic and just sorta "there" on the album (nevertheless I don't skip it). But Humdrum, Slowburn, Dolce Vita and Flood are all really good songs, IMO; Flood being the highlight, and a great way to end the album.

    I see this album as PG trying to figure out what he was. I wish there had been more stuff like Moribund laying around from his Genesis days that he put on this album, but it wasn't to be. 1976/1977 was a transitional time in terms of rock music, and PG recorded a very transitional, unfocused album. There would be nothing else like it in his catalog, though, so I regard the best material on it as being special to me, as a fan.

    Since I got the cassette, I also purchased the mini-LP remastered CD that came out some years ago. I'd like to get an original vinyl in nice shape - probably not hard to find.

    As with the other earlier PG albums I love the cover - it's a great example of cover art that you really need to be LP-sized to appreciate.
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  15. lightbulb

    lightbulb Not the Brightest of the Bunch

    Smogville CA USA
    I was a little behind in learning about Peter Gabriel’s Music....

    After I won a Five dollar gift certificate to Music Plus (a record store chain) from school, I wanted to buy Peter Gabriel‘s third album (Melt) from a local store.
    That was his current release at the time.
    (I loved the song “Games Without Frontiers” upon first listen in the radio.)

    IIIRC, the $7.99 list price was way over my budget, so I opted for PG’s first solo LP instead, for $3.99.
    Of course, I wasn’t too aware of his release history...
    The cover looked suitably weird, and the song’s titles read as very intriguing to my teen self.

    After a first spins, and listens of Moribund the Burgermeister, along with the wide variety of songs, I was very happy with my purchase.
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  16. buxetehude

    buxetehude Forum Resident

    Solsbury Hill is a truly wonderful song. It never grows old. Moribund,Humdrum and Flood are great too. Elsewhere on the album I feel Peter gets carried with the wordplay, resulting in some slightly cringe lyrics
    mark winstanley likes this.
  17. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    It sure is an interesting album. It's like a box of licorice allsorts to me. Lots of variety but it all goes together well
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  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  20. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

  22. Mook

    Mook Forum Resident

    How do you feel about this album? I miss it. A mate of mine borrowed the CD about 6 years ago & I've never replaced it. I think it's a patchy album, but the highlights are great.
    When did you you first come across it? After I'd gone through my mad Genesis phase, I moved on to Steve Hackett, Brand X & this (probably around 2007) to get my fix.
    Did you follow Gabriel from Genesis? No, I was born in 1979.
    mark winstanley likes this.
  23. Paul H

    Paul H Forum Resident

    Nottingham, UK
    For someone who came to PG via "So", it was a real shock to a) learn that he'd been around for years and, b) had made several albums that were all very different to So. It took a few listens to "get" PG1 but there are several highlights. For me, the album really is one of two sides: I'm a big fan of Side 1, and side 2 is fine (I'm pretty sure the side division in the above post is the wrong place: didn't Waiting for the Big One open side 2??) but it really is hindered by The Big One. Just too slow and ponderous without the melody to justify it. And it just goes on and on. By that point, I've usually lost the will to listen to the last two tracks. Here Comes The Flood is a lovely song that I just don't think Peter ever nailed. Neither the version here or his more stripped back arrangement do it for me.
    Jeff Kent and mark winstanley like this.
  24. Thievius

    Thievius Blue Öyster Cultist

    I got the first Gabriel album in 1980, a couple months before his third album dropped (and it sure as heck didn't have a gatefold) but that's also about the time I was immersing myself into his former band. Solsbury Hill was already a local radio staple, so picking up his first solo album was a no-brainer. Upon hearing the opening notes to Moribund The Burgermeister I knew I was in for something different. While PG III (or "Melt") would be regarded by most as his best, and something to which I agree, his debut album would remain my favorite. I think its that old "first is your favorite" trope I'm always falling victim to.
    Slim Zooms and mark winstanley like this.
  25. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    That vinyl order is the one I am used to ... But i have the sacd these days

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