Deep Album Cuts Vol. 107: Peter Gabriel




















Today, the bulk of Peter Gabriel's discography, including all his studio albums, is on Spotify for the first time (although Apple has had it for a while, and Tidal still doesn't). Other than the original "Solsbury Hill" as it appeared on the soundtrack to the semi-forgotten 2002 film In Good Company, which has racked up 33 million plays on Spotify, most of Peter Gabriel's most famous songs have only been available on streaming services in later re-recordings and live versions, if at all.

For years, Gabriel had been one of the more high profile holdouts from Spotify, which had motivated me to start buying his albums on CD, since I grew up on So and his hits but didn't really know the earlier albums. In fact, I'd just finally finished buying all of the first 4 albums when I heard last week that they were coming to Spotify, which made me feel a little silly, but now I have them to listen to in the car. I previously made playlists in this series for PrinceThe Beatles, AC/DC, and Def Leppard when they finally joined streaming services, and Gabriel was one of the last big ones I was really waiting on (Bob Seger also started streaming his music in the past year but I haven't finished his playlist yet).

Peter Gabriel deep album cuts (Spotify playlist):
1. Start
2. That Voice Again
3. Slowburn
4. Flotsam And Jetsam
5. Kiss Of Life
6. Mercy Street
7. Fourteen Black Paintings
8. Intruder
9. Animal Magic
10. San Jacinto
11. And Through The Wire
12. Here Comes The Flood
13. A Wonderful Day In A One-Way World
14. Excuse Me
15. This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds) with Laurie Anderson
16. The Drop
17. Family Snapshot
18. Lay Your Hands On Me

Tracks 3, 12 and 14 from Peter Gabriel 1 (Car) (1977)
Tracks 4, 9 and 13 from Peter Gabriel 2 (Scratch) (1978)
Tracks 1, 8, 11 and 17 from Peter Gabriel 3 (Melt) (1980)
Tracks 5, 10 and 18 from Peter Gabriel 4 (Security) (1982)
Tracks 2, 6 and 15 from So (1986)
Track 7 from Us (1992)
Track 16 from Up (2002)

A little confusingly, Peter Gabriel's first 4 albums were all self-titled, but the way people tell them apart, either by numbering them 1 to 4 or using words that describe their cover art, have emerged over time as more or less official titles that you even see now on Spotify. As usual, I avoided singles big and small, although several of these non-singles were picked by Gabriel to appear on his first and highest selling best-of compilation Shaking The Tree: 16 Golden Greats ("Mercy Street," "San Jacinto," "Family Snapshot," and a re-recording of "Here Comes The Flood"). Mostly, though, I just went with my gut on the stuff that leapt out to me the most, particularly "Kiss Of Life" and "Slowburn." I've always loved "That Voice Again," which got a moderate amount of radio airplay at the time but wasn't one of So's five big smash singles.

Gabriel's second album is kind of the odd man out in that it's the only one of the early albums that doesn't have a big radio song everybody knows. It doesn't even get a track on Shaking The Tree. The single that was released from the album, "D.I.Y.," is great, but I can understand why it wasn't as big as "Solsbury Hill" or "Shock The Monkey," and I don't necessarily know if there is a song that I can see having been a hit if it was released. But I love the album and it's unusual clash of sounds, particularly with Sid McGinnis evokes country music with the steel guitar on "Flotsam And Jetsam" and "A Wonderful Day In A One-Way World."

Peter Gabriel reminds me a bit of David Bowie, or for that matter a lot of contemporary pop singers, in that they're usually seen onstage just singing, and maybe don't get enough credit for how much they play and write the instrumentation on their records. It's cool to hear occasional stuff like "The Drop" that's just Gabriel singing and playing piano, but usually he's surrounded himself with great musicians like longtime sidemen Tony Levin and David Rhodes, and an incredible variety of guests. Some of the people playing on these songs include Stewart Copeland ("Mercy Street"), Paul Weller ("And Through The Wire"), Robert Fripp ("Slowburn" and "Here Comes The Flood"), John Paul Jones ("Fourteen Black Paintings"), Phil Collins ("Intruder" and "Family Snapshot"), Daniel Lanois, Nile Rodgers and Bil Laswell ( all three of whom are on "This Is The Picture").

One of the things that I find interesting is that while Peter Gabriel made a pretty clean break from Genesis and never looked back, the one former bandmate who played on his records was Phil Collins, who drummed on 4 tracks on Gabriel's 3rd album in 1980. By that point, Genesis with Collins singing lead was well on its way to far greater success than it'd had with Gabriel, so the fact that they were working together is pretty cool. And "Intruder" became legendary for being the first track where Collins and producer Hugh Padgham first developed the distinctive gated snare drum sound later used most famously on "In The Air Tonight" that totally changed how drums sounded in '80s pop music. But for years, I mainly knew "Intruder" via Primus's cover of it.

One thing that really strikes me about Peter Gabriel's albums is what I once praised Prince for: every album is extremely varied, and he never picked a particular mood or sound and stuck with it for a whole record. You get the hard rockers, the slow contemplative tracks, the adventurous genre experiments, and the big gutsy pop singles all side by side on pretty much every album, with odd things you don't quite expect like "Excuse Me" often popping up. My dad who passed away about a year ago loved Peter Gabriel, so he's one of those artists who always reminds me of him, especially "Mercy Street."

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!
Vol. 86: New Edition
Vol. 87: Chuck Berry
Vol. 88: Electric Light Orchestra
Vol. 89: Chic
Vol. 90: Journey
Vol. 91: Yes
Vol. 92: Soundgarden
Vol. 93: The Allman Brothers Band
Vol. 94: Mobb Deep
Vol. 95: Linkin Park
Vol. 96: Shania Twain
Vol. 97: Squeeze
Vol. 98: Taylor Swift
Vol. 99: INXS
Vol. 100: Stevie Wonder
Vol. 101: The Cranberries
Vol. 102: Def Leppard
Vol. 103: Bon Jovi
Vol. 104: Dire Straits
Vol. 105: The Police
Vol. 106: Sloan
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