Our Top 10 Peter Gabriel songs list takes a look at one of the most fascinating musical artists of the classic rock era. As all Peter Gabriel and Genesis fans already know, Peter Gabriel was the lead singer and leader of the band Genesis during the band’s early years. Peter Gabriel recorded six albums with Genesis from 1969 to 1974. After the release of the magnificent Genesis album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, Peter Gabriel left the band to begin a stellar solo career.
Peter Gabriel’s first solo album was released in 1977. The next three albums were all titled Peter Gabriel making life difficult for record stores in catalyzing Peter Gabriel albums. In 1986, Peter Gabriel released the album So. The record would go on to become the most successful solo album of his career. At a time when people were criticizing the Phil Collins led Genesis hit-making machine, Peter Gabriel wound up competing with his former bandmates on the same commercial singles charts.
Our Top 10 Peter Gabriel songs list takes a look at the songs Peter Gabriel recorded during his post-Genesis career. We have not included any material Peter Gabriel wrote with the band Genesis.
# 10 – D.I.Y.
We open our Top 10 Peter Gabriel songs list with the very interesting progressive rock funk track “D.I.Y .” The song was released on Peter Gabriel’s second solo album. Peter Gabriel’s sophomore release was issued in 1978. The album featured Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame on guitar. The album also featured Bruce Springsteen’s piano player Roy Bittan.
# 9 – Games Without Frontiers
Continuing with songs from the non-titled Peter Gabriel albums, our top 10 Peter Gabriel Songs list turns to the third album. The great Peter Gabriel song “Games Without Frontiers,” was released in 1980. One of the reasons we love this song so much was the fact that the legendary Kate Bush sang backing vocals on the track. Her haunting high pitched voice adds such a distinctive sound to the recording. The song “Games Without Frontiers,” opened up side two of the album. Peter Gabriel’s third album was produced by British record producer Steve Lillywhite.
# 8 – Here Comes the Flood
The song “Here Comes The Flood,” was the closing track on Peter Gabriel’s debut solo album. The haunting and moody track with its exceptional chorus has always been one of our favorite Peter Gabriel songs. “Here Comes The Flood,” is maybe his most underrated composition.
The song featured the London Symphony Orchestra. Additional musicians on the track also included Larry Fast on keyboards and King Crimson members Tony Levin on bass and Robert Fripp on guitar. Just think about that, Peter Gabriel had half of King Crimson and the London Symphony Orchestra all playing on this phenomenal piece of music. Simply stunning!
# 7 – Big Time
“Big Time,” was one of Peter Gabriels’ biggest hits, pardon the pun. It was released on his mega-selling 1986 album So. The record garnished five hit singles. “Big Time,” was a top 10 hit peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. However, Peter Gabriel’s former band Genesis was enjoying the same amount of success on the charts also in 1986. The band Genesis had five top 10 hits from their Invisible Touch album, including a number one single. It’s amazing how both Peter Gabriel and his former band Genesis dominated the music charts in 1986.
The SO album was produced by the legendary musical artist and producer Daniel Lanois. Stewart Copeland of The Police played drums on the track. On saxophone was Billy Joel’s saxophonist Mark Riveria. Daniel Lanois played guitar on the track. Simon Clarke of Be-Bop Deluxe played bass.
# 6 – Shock the Monkey
The Peter Gabriel song “Shock The Monkey,” was released on Peter Gabriel’s fourth solo album. It was the album’s second single release behind the initial single entitled “I Have the Touch.” The song “Shock The Monkey,” was a top 40 hit for Peter Gabriel. It was also the biggest solo hit of his career up to that moment in time in 1982.
Peter Gabriel had always been a performance artist in concert. In the 1970s a handful of artists like Alice Cooper, The Tubes, Kiss, and Kate Bush put on amazing shows for their concert audiences. These artists along with Peter Gabriel would be embraced by MTV in the early 1980s. These same artists who presented spectacular shows in concert in the 1970s utilized their theatrical skill in the video format better than most other 1970s rock and roll stars. It was the perfect marriage of rock stars and music videos.
# 5 – Come Talk To Me
“Come Talk To Me,” was the great opening track from Peter Gabriel’s 1992 album Us. It was perhaps Peter Gabriel’s most personal record. Peter Gabriel had been going through many issues with his wife and wrote the song about their relationship. Just the title of the album alone defines the personal point of the record. The great track “Come Talk To Me,” also featured Sinéad O’Connor on backing vocals. On the album was Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones playing on the track “Fourteen Black Paintings.” Once again Daniel Lanois produced the album.
# 4 – Red Rain
The mesmerizing composition “Red Rain,” was the opening track to Peter Gabriel’s So album. It’s pretty unique to label an album title with just two letters making up the simple word So. It’s actually pretty courageous. The So album is represented on this top 10 Peter Gabriel songs list more than any other Peter Gabriel record. “Red Rain,” was another one of those haunting but beautiful Peter Gabriel recordings that captivated Peter Gabriel fans.
Jerry Marotta played drums on the track while Stewart Copeland played the hi-hat which we have always found very interesting. It really defines how important the hi-hat is to a song’s groove. Stewart Copeland has always been one of the best at it. Just listen to all those Police recordings.
# 3 – Sledgehammer
Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” was the lead single released from his multi-million selling album entitled So. The perfectly titled song became Peter Gabriel’s first number one hit. It was number one in the United States and Canada. It reached number four in the United Kingdom. The song is representative of so many different styles of music all juxtaposed together to create a fresh sound that defined the originality and creative musical heart of Peter Gabriel.
# 2 – In Your Eyes
Coming in at Number two on our Top 10 Peter Gabriel songs list is the song “In Your Eyes.” The song is easily the most loved Peter Gabriel song of all time. It’s a brilliant piece of music that is one of the strongest compositions of his career. It didn’t hurt that the song was featured in the 1989 film Say Anything in one of the most loved movie scenes of all time.
# 1 – Solsbury Hill
One of the most creative and interesting pop songs we have ever heard was Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.” Peter Gabriel had a unique gift in his ability to set a cinematic scene within his music. His melodies and productions were on a completely different level from all other pop music. “Solsbury Hill,” was released on his first solo album in 1977. The song also featured the London Symphony Orchestra on the recording. It is one of the most spiritual pop songs we have ever heard.
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