Monday, March 07, 2016

Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel [aka Peter Gabriel 1 or Car]: (1977)

I am confident that the first Peter Gabriel song I ever heard was Solsbury Hill. It was some years after I heard this record that I realized that Peter had been a member, and lead singer, of Genesis, and it was sometime after that when I finally figured out what the song Solsbury Hill was about. I am too young to have known too much about Genesis at that time, and I cannot remember when I first heard any songs by that band, though I imagine that it was probably a more contemporary track, but I could be wrong.

It's always difficult to choose favourite records, but there are times when I think it's this one. But, I am not sure. Perhaps I should say that the first Peter Gabriel album is one my favourite Peter Gabriel albums. Right from the bizarre opening song -- Moribund the Burgermeister -- to the epic, anthemic Here comes the Flood, this album captured my attention. In between, we have Modern Love, Excuse me, and a varied selection of tunes with different moods and styles.

Now that I am fully versed in Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, it seems odd that Peter recorded relatively short, straight-ahead pop songs, rather than the sprawling progressive pieces written by Genesis. I guess he was looking for a change. Or, if you are familiar with From Genesis to Revelation, perhaps this direction can be interpreted as a return to basics.

If I can believe what I have read, Gabriel wrote this song about his decision to leave Genesis:

To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Though my life was in a rut
Till I thought of what I'd say
And which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery


When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouettes
Close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
So I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement

By the way, since I recently discussed my Robert Fripp records, it is worth noting that Fripp played guitar and banjo on this record. Tony Levin, who spent time with King Crimson, also appears. This is a truly fascinating record.

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