Peter Gabriel has forever been immortalized as the first leader of Genesis, one of music’s finest prog-rock bands. His ambition was always present during his tenure with the band, and it sometimes clashed with other members’ desire for more accessibility and air play. Gabriel’s behavior throughout Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour was more theatrical than the other band members, a tendency representative of the much publicized Peter Gabriel-Phil Collins clash. Gabriel would act out characters from the concept album on stage, emphasizing artistic integrity over accessibility. This dividing vision was a major component of his departure from Genesis in 1975, setting up for an excellent solo career that saw him release work that rivaled his best work with Genesis.
Gabriel’s respectable solo career has had plenty of highlights with no true duds to speak of. It’s generally accepted what his best material is, though. His first three solo albums are classics in their own right, and all eponymously titled. The first, released in 1977, featured one his most well-known tracks, “Solsbury Hill”. With its famous string progression leading the way, the track relayed Gabriel’s thoughts on going solo. “I will show another me, today I don’t need a replacement,” he sings over the jovial acoustics. “I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant.” It’s present from the phasing experimental pop of opener “Moribund the Burgermeister” that Gabriel had just begun to stretch his legs out. He was fully embracing his new-found freedom of expression, without Phil Collins’ increasing grip. Although Gabriel’s solo album featured some over-bloated attempts, like jazzy lounge ballad “Waiting for the Big One”, there was a wonderful mixture of Gabriel’s experimentation (the bombast cinema-meets-funk feel of “Down the Dolce Vita”) and signature twinkling rock ballads (beautiful closer “Here Comes the Flood”), both approaches Genesis fans were familiar with.
His second solo album, released the following year in 1978, brought King Crimson’s Robert Fripp aboard as producer. It is nicknamed “scratch” by fans for the cover art, designed by English design group Hipgnosis. “Scratch” saw Fripp help reign in Gabriel’s creativity, which presented itself as clutter in some instances on his previous release. The album’s first two tracks, “On the Air” and “D.I.Y.”, bring a very modern and sleek sound to the table, complete with glistening synths and exciting rhythmic transitions. The first presents infectious party-time guitar riffs, while “D.I.Y.” is a suave slice of art-rock that plays with warbled vocal effects as the hook. There are moments of typical Gabriel ethereal beauty to be had, like the trickles of piano and dancing acoustics on the gorgeous “Mother of Violence” and the old-timey twangy narrative of closer “Home Sweet Home”. But the 1979 release is an exhilarating rocker for the most part. The bouncy keys and jubilant chorus of “Perspective” plays like an early influence on Brit-pop, complete with the brass accompaniments that made former contemporaries like Southside Johnny proud. “Scratch” balanced Gabriel’s creativity with his knack for contagious melodies wonderfully, accounting for one of his best albums.
Although Gabriel’s first two solo albums are classics that should not be missed, many critics argue that Gabriel’s third album – nicknamed “melt” – is indeed his best. It is an ingenious example of an artist crafting his own intimate sound. He had infused songs with moods of political anxiety and personable wit in the past, but it wasn’t until “melt” that it came to full fruition. The diversity of tracks on “melt” is sheer magic. One of its most famous efforts, “Games Without Frontiers”, touches on the fragility of international diplomacy, with some not-so-subtle references to world leaders of the past and present. It’s essentially Gabriel’s version of “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, but better. The creakiness of “Intruder” kicks the album off in grand fashion, its jagged guitar rhythms helping guide Gabriel’s torn angst. The percussion is idiosyncratic and sporadically homemade, with creaking sounds often serving as a percussive element. The Bowie-inspired “I Don’t Remember” is another invigorating effort reminiscent of efforts on “scratch”, though the album quickly returns to retrospective transitional territory with “Family Snapshot”. The rush of twinkles on ”No Self-Control” is brilliant and unforgettable, even touching on aspects of Afro-pop with its marimba-like fervor. This fascinating stylistic hybrid is expanded upon with great passion on closer “Biko”, one of the sturdiest examples of Gabriel’s majestic songwriting.
Gabriel would continue to put out enjoyable solo albums after 1980’s “melt”, but none compare to these first three. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to appreciate from the elder Gabriel, though. His 1989 soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ earned a Grammy Award, and is one of the finest scores of the ’90s. The next decade, he followed in the tradition of many aged rock heroes; one of his most recent albums, 2010′s Scratch My Back, is a collection of covers — featuring everything from Bowie’s “Heroes” to Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is a Cage”. But Gabriel is even capable of making a covers album sound graceful. Even when covering the work of others, there is a sense of cohesive and idiosyncratic creativity in Gabriel’s performances, a trait forever present on all his post-Genesis albums – and particularly his first three.
The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame nominees for 2014 have just been announced, and to be honest with you, I can’t believe none of them haven’t already decked the Hall.
Leading the nominations this year are grunge-legends Nirvana, who, if inducted, will be so 20 years to the month after the suicide of their iconic front man Kurt Cobain, and are also the youngest band among this year’s nominees.
Other notable nominations include Chic and Gene Simmons-led pop metal band KISS, as well as Hall and Oates, The Replacements, New Orleans funk heroes the Meters, singer Linda Ronstadt, and rap pioneers, N.W.A.
The remainder of the list is filled out by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and the Zombies.
This year’s list spans more than six decades of rock and pop history, and represents a nice balance between mega-star hitmakers, and less obvious influencers. N.W.A. are often referred to as one of the most notorious and influential hip-hop acts in musical history by numerous important critic types, producing only three studio albums during their career, but shocking enough to warrant letters to their record company from the FBI.
Voting is officially open through to December 10th. Visit Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Rolling Stone or USA Today to cast your ballot. The top five are set to be listed on a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots for the Class of 2014. The inductees are then chosen by a secret, no-doubt cloaked ballot of 600 voters, a group that includes previous inductees, music industry veterans, historians and critics, and other mystery music people.
The 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held during April 2014 in New York and broadcast on HBO.
In honor of the 25th anniversary of his album So, Peter Gabriel has announced the Back to Front North American tour for later this year. On every date of the tour, Gabriel and his band will play the entire album start to finish, and throw in some of his other greatest hits for good measure.
The trek is set to begin on September 16 at the Colisee Pepsi in Quebec City, Quebec, and will continue until October 9, when So will be performed at the Santa Barbara County Bowl in Santa Barbara, Calif. In between those dates, Gabriel will also visit Montreal; Toronto; Philadelphia; Wantaugh, N.Y.; Boston; Detroit; Chicago; Denver; San Jose, Calif.; Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
A press release announcing the dates states that more cities may be added to the tour in the coming months.
As a further celebration of the album’s birthday, new reissue packages will be released on September 18. The three packages that will be available are a CD, a special three-CD collection and a Super Deluxe Box Set.
So was released in 1986, and has gone on to become Gabriel’s best-selling album, with more than five million copies sold in the U.S. The album’s most known song is probably the Gabriel classic “In Your Eyes,” and the album also contains “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time,” “Red Rain” and “Don’t Give Up.” The latter is a duet with British singer/songwriter Kate Bush. Renowned producer Daniel Lanois produced the album.
Gabriel, of course, first came to prominence as a singer and flautist for Genesis, a band he co-founded but then left in 1975 to pursue a solo career. His most recent album was New Blood, which was released late last year. The album contains rerecordings of classic Gabriel songs done with an orchestra. Songs on the album include “Red Rain,” “Don’t Give Up” and “In Your Eyes.”
Peter Gabriel will unearth himself this spring to unveil his latest album of orchestral covers entitled “Scratch My Back.” Currently, Gabriel has setup 4 dates in 3 cities — Montreal, Los Angeles and a pair of shows in New York. The fun will get started at the Bell Centre in Montreal on April 28. He will precede the brief US jaunt with a handful of European dates to follow. Full tour information can be viewed at Peter Gabriel Tour.
“Scratch My Back” hit stores today (2/15) and marks Gabriel’s eight studio effort since closing the door on Genesis back in 1977. “Scratch” has Gabriel tackling a unique offering of his contemporaries, coving Radiohead’s “Street Spirit (Fade Out),” Neil Young’s “Philadelphia,” Bon Iver’s “Flume,” and Arcade Fire’s “My Body is a Cage.” The project is an organized song exchange where artists swap tracks and reinterpret them as they see fit. The album included no drums or guitar just orchestral arrangements fronted by Gabriel’s vocals. Composer John Metcalfe handles the arrangements and Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Lou Reed) sits in the production booth.
Genesis will be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year, but Gabriel said don’t count on him to sing for his supper. “As far as I know, I’m definitely not going to sing,” he said recently to Rolling Stone. “I learned at our last reunion [in 1982] that you can’t just get up there. You have to rehearse.”
2010 Peter Gabriel Concert Tour
28 – Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre
2, 3 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
7 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl
This spring Peter Gabriel will be offering fans in select cities of North America a glimpse from “Scratch My Back,” his orchestral covers album.
Gabriel has dates lined up in three cities, kicking things off in Montreal on April 28. On May 2-3 he will have a pair of shows in New York City. The short outing will then close out in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl on May 7.
The run in North America follows March performances in London, Berlin and Paris. The international dates are available on Gabriel’s website.
Gabriel’s new album, “Scratch My Back” is his eighth since leaving Genesis in 1977. It is due out on February 15. The set will feature Gabriel covering songs from other artists including “The Boy in the Bubble” by Paul Simon, “Philadelphia” by Neil Young, “Street Spirit” by Radiohead and “Heroes” by David Bowie. There are plans for a future album to be called “I’ll Scratch Yours.” The same artists will in return cover work of Gabriel’s.
Bob Ezrin (KISS, Pink Floyd) is the producer for the album. The set features the voice of Gabriel’s backed by a full orchestra. John Metcalfe, the composer, wrote new arrangements for the material.
On his website Gabriel said, I really like the scores by Metcalfe. They seem original, fresh and soulful. When we met we have an overlap in taste around composers like Stravinsky, Arvo Part and Steve Reich. I told John I wanted the arrangements to be kept stark and simple, but always emotional. I wanted the songs to be really felt and heard.
Gabriel along with his band mates from Genesis are going to be inducted later this year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Game. However, Gabriel told Rolling Stone recently he isn’t planning to perform with his old group during the induction ceremony.
Gabriel said, I’m not singing. I learned in 1982 with our last reunion that you just can’t get up and sing. You need to rehearse first.
In 2010, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is going to be swelling its ranks with new inductees featuring The Hollies, Jimmy Cliff, The Stooges, ABBA and Genesis.
A group of non-performers is also going to be inducted. Ahmet Ertegun Award individual recipients include David Geffen, music mogul, as well as songwriters Otis Blackwell, Mort Shuman, Jesse Stone, Jeff Barry, Elle Greenwich, Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.
The induction ceremony is taking place in New York on March 15. It will be aired live on Fuse, the national music TV network of Madison Square Garden.
Joel Peresman, Foundation President for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said, we’re so happy to be able to present this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. They represent a tremendous cross-section of different types of artists defining the history of rock and roll’s broad spectrum as well as people who have contributed an immeasurable amount to our business.
ABBA, the Swedish pop sensation from Stockholm that was formed during the late 1960′s, went on and became one of popular music’s biggest selling bands in history. The group featured two couples: Frida Lyngstad and Benny Andersson along with Bjorn Ulvaeus and Anna Faltskog. In the US they scored numerous hit over eight studio albums. They included “”Dancing Queen,” “Fernando,” and “Mamma Mia.” The latter song was used eventually to form the basis for a musical that become a long running hit with the same name, featuring many of the songs of ABBA’s. According to Associated Press, the group every year continues selling over three million albums, despite the fact that the band broke up over 25 years ago.
Genesis from the UK emerged out of the late 1960′s English rock art scene. Peter Gabriel, the singer, led the band. Genesis gained a following rather quickly behind the outlandish stage persona of Gabriel’s. During the early 1970′s the band recorded several progressive rock albums that were very influential. In 1975 Peter Gabriel left the band and Phil Collins, the drummer, took over as the group’s frontman. The band quickly and smoothly made a transition and became a pop hit mighty machine. During the early 1980′s they churned out several Top 10 hits and helped to usher the MTV era in. The band broke up in 1999, but reunited in 2006 and had a very successful world tour.
The Stooges, born out of a working class suburb in Michigan, help to pave a future path for punk rocker generations all over the world. Iggy Pop, the band’s lead singer who was born as James Osterberg, fueled the group’s anarchistic fury. The band recorded three LPs that were very influential during the late 1960′s to the early 1970′s. It included the debut for the band which was produced by John Cale or the Velvet Underground and recorded in only four days. The album scored the hit singles “No Fun,” “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and “1969.” A few years later they flamed out. In 2003 the band was reformed and has continued to tour as the group Iggy and the Stooges. Early this year Ron Asheton, founding guitarist passed away.
The Hollies, the British soft rock group that featured Eric Haydock, Allan Clark and Graham Nash, churned out multiple hit singles during the late 1960′s. There was one point where they charted 21 UK Top 20 hit singles in a row, including “Bus Stop,” and “Look Through Any Window.” In 1968 Nash departed to join Stephen Stills and David Crosby in another hit producing band. The Hollies then regrouped and produced another round of chart toppers, including “The Air That I Breathe,” “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,” and “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
Jimmy Cliff, who at times gets lost in the shadow of fellow giant of reggae Bob Marley, helped to introduce Jamaican reggae music to a worldwide audience with his film and 1972 album “The Harder They Come.” Cliff is considered to be reggae’s first superstar. His songs “Sitting in Limbo,” “You Can’t Get It If You Really Want,” and “Many Rivers to Cross” are still classics of the reggae genre.
The inductees for 2010 were selected from a list of nominees that included The Chantels, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LL Cool J, Laura Nyro, KISS, Donna Summer and Darlene Love.
Peter Gabriel, who founded Genesis the rock group, and Jose Antonio Abreu, Venezuelan composer, are sharing the Polar Music Prize this year.
On Monday the two musicians received 1 million kroner (or $143,000) awards during a ceremony held in Stockholm. They both said they’d love to work together.
Before the ceremony Abreu told reporters that he had invited Peter Gabriel to visit Venezuela. He also said the award reaffirmed his commitment for working with El Sistema, a children’s music network. Gabriel praised the work of Abreu and said he was very honored to receive the award.
Usually the Polar Music Prize is split between classical musicians and pop artists.