A Conversation for Peter Gabriel


Post 1


Nice to see a thoughtful piece on PG,but I'm afraid there are a few errors.Gabriel didn't,as far as I know,ever try to write the entire Lamb album,but did insist on writing the story and lyrics,leaving the music to the rest of the band (wise, as with Supper's Ready it's by far their strongest work).In the end,family complications meant that he couldn't complete all the words on time,so Banks and Rutherford chipped in on (I think) a couple of lyrics on side 4-you can detect the difference as the lyrics in question are much more "narrative-inclined" than PG's wordplay.
Those who search for Kate Bush on PG's Fripp-produced second album will go unrewarded-she isn't on it.The seminal third LP,however,features Kate on two songs,including the infamous "Jeux sans frontieres" refrain in Games Without Frontiers.Incidentally,Fripp plays some scary guitar on the other track,No Self Control,Phil Collins plays on that,Biko and Intruder (where he patented that drum sound of his),XTC's Dave Gregory plays on another,and Paul Weller adds his guitar crunch to And Through The Wire.Along with Talking Heads'Remain In Light it was probably the most influential album of 1980.
Finally,although Birdy's soundtrack was largely made up of reconstructed earlier material,Passion (The Last Temptation soundtrack) was composed especially for the film,albeit often from various ethnic sources (also released separately).
As for Kate Bush's "opening the windows" acknowledgement of PG,this appeared on the sleeve of her Never For Ever album (also 1980),where she started experimenting with a rhythm box he'd given her.By The Dreaming,two years later,the full meaning of that statement was there for all to hear...


Post 2


Hi Ultra-Walrus,

Thanx for all the input. A few comments however. Firstly, this is AN article about PG, not THE ultimate guide smiley - smileysmiley - winkeye So although I was aware of almost all of the information you put in this post I decided to keep the article concise.

Now as for PG and The Lamb : Both Genesis and PG have later on admitted that there was a PG-ultimatum : He wanted to come up with the name as well as the complete album(he didn't know it was going to be a double at the time although he suspected as much).
The reason why it still became a group-effort(especially, as you say, on the latter half of the album) was that PG couldn't get it done on his own(for reason unknown to me, the one you stated may very well be it). This is why you can for instance hear the influence of Tony Banks on sides three and four. The others didn't really write that much, apart from some beautiful songs of course... I mean that they had no big part in the writing of the overall album, that was PG and later on TB.

As for the input of Kate Bush on PG's second album : You're right, it was the third, not the second. Fripp of course, played on both the second and the third.

One last thing : Kate Bush was heavily influenced by Peter Gabriel's use of sounds(and bending them beyond comprehension). He did this with one of the few CMI Fairlight synthesizers around in the U.K.(at the time there were only two, PG's one and one at the EMI-Studios). This machine was ahead of it's time by at least 10 years, it also cost about 50.000 pounds! It was later bought by Art of Noise, Duran Duran, etcetera.
Kate bought her own Fairlight and the rest is history : The Dreaming, my favourite album of the eighties by far. Indeed the drums were also processed, it just went a bit beyond that. There is enough material about the making of The Dreaming for an entire article smiley - smiley

Anyway, than you for your input. When I update this article I will most surely correct it.




Post 3


You're quite right to make the points you do.Rereading my first reply,it maybe comes over as pedantic and argumentative,which wasn't my intention;it was just meant to be "input" (as you generously describe my rantings).
The Gabriel/Lamb saga has always been the most controversial chapter in the Genesis saga,and it seems inevitable,in retrospect,that it would lead to the split.I was always under the impression that the musical lyrical division of the album was as I described (mainly from accounts in books about the band),but perhaps more facts have come to light since then.It's certainly true to say that Banks wrote an awful lot of stuff,yet they still credited songs as "done by all" in the Gabriel era.Firth of Fifth,for example,is claimed as his first solo composition to make it onto an album,but who can underestimate what Hackett does in that guitar solo? Hackett,of course,didn't like The Lamb and said that he couldn't contribute much to it,but there are still what sound to me like Rutherford "bits" scattered throughout.Who knows?
Yeah,the Gabriel/Bush/Fairlight story is an interesting one-at times it seems like the two of them invented most of the patent musical sounds used in the 80s.
Thanks for your comments.As I said,good to see someone thinking about PG rather than dismissing him as a prog relic (which,incredibly,some people still do).Nice one.


Post 4


No offense taken (of course).

Some more info : All songs were always credited to the whole band because in those days Genesis kept a strict policy of "We are a band and we will write everything together, even if we don't"...smiley - winkeye it was just one of their things. Just like the fact that they NeveR had themselves on the cover(Foxtrot's innersleeve is the exception). This was also the reason for Phil Collins his first LP-cover, the one with his head really big on both sides of the cover... smiley - smiley

Being a die-hard Genesis-fan(well it never really rubs off...) I can almost always hear which part of a song was written by whom. The fact that I'm a musician myself may help of course...

Hackett didn't like the Lamb very much, true. He had at least one d*amn good reason for that : both the LP's were over 55 minutes in length. This meant that the LP-groove would be smaller(thinner, whatever) and this resulted in a lesser soundquality. The only way to correct that was to do a special mix of the album. This, as it turned out, meant that Hackett's guitar-parts were pushed to the background, together with some of the bass(the sound, not the bassguitar). On songs like "The chamber of 32 doors" you can hear his usual style/sound/mix and that is one of the songs that are still associated with Steve Hackett. That solo can be heard really well, lots of dynamic/headroom in that song. Later on, when cd's became commonplace, they tried to remaster the LP's BUT... it turned out that the 'improvements' had been applied to the master-tapes smiley - sadface So there wasn't much they could do about it.

I must say that I can't hear much of Rutherford's songwriting on the Lamb. But then again he only started to be a prolific writer after the Peter Gabriel Era. The first really succesful piece he wrote solo was I believe "Your own special way". By the way : That song was covered a few years ago by Steve Hackett! the CD is called "Genesis revisited" and it contains songs of the Gabriel-Era(except for Your own special way) and they were rerecorded by Steve Hackett and his friends(Coling Bluntstone, Paul Carrack, Pino Palladino, etcetera). At times a Very good album ! And a terribly good bunch of musicians.

As for Kate well...talk about teenage crushes smiley - smiley The only famous musician I ever fell in love with. When Wuthering Heights was shown on tv my mother exclaimed : "What a weird girl" ! I immediately liked Katie. smiley - winkeyesmiley - winkeye I might write an article on the making of The Dreaming in the future. It will probably go over most people's heads because it's bound to be technical in a musical way as well as in a 'studio-technical' way.

To write off Peter Gabriel as an 80-ies relic is the dumbest thing anyone could do. The 'problem' may be that PG is not a pop-artist. He makes grown-ups music. And we all know the average span of attention of the young CD-buyer...

Still, if they like Tricky why wouldn't they like Peter Gabriel ? Tricky wouldn't do what he is doing if it wasn't for a couple of people making weird music back in the 80-ies.




Post 5


BTW : Read an interesting book about PG. It's called "Peter Gabriel an authorized biography" and was written by Spencer Bright. ISBN 0-330-37044-8.



Post 6

Pan, the piper at the gates of dawn

>Fripp of course, played on both the second and the third<

Actually, Robert plays on the first and second, taking over the production role for the second album, as well (Hence the co-writing credit for Exposure, and the use of Here Comes the Flood and Exposure on Fripp's Exposure album).

Kate apparently did also contribute uncredited backing vocals to Waiting for the Big One.

Regarding Genesis, Mike had a more significant role than you might think for the earlier songs, since he and Anthony Phillips did a lot of cowriting (the bridge of the Musical Box, for example). And pieces like Hairless Heart, and Silent Sorrow were definitely from Hackett. There was an earlier version of Lilywhite Lilith called "The Light" which was one of the earliest examples of lyrics written by Phil Collins. The lyrics were altered for the Lamb, but the melody was retained.


Post 7


Sorry, I meant that Robert Fripp played on the second and the third album because there was some confusion about that. Indeed, he did play quite an important role on the first album too, abso-bloody-lutely! smiley - winkeye

That Kate did vocals on waiting for the big one is new to me, of course its possible but wouldn't she have been really really young at the time ?

And yes, I do value Mike's talent and input in Genesis, I should have been more explicit about that. I also think that - as you say - he was involved in a lot of co-writing, but not so much in coming up with the initial songs. In the early days his talent was obvious to me when it came to arranging the songs(Ant was incredibly good at that too). So I not so much referring to his total input in Genesis but more to the songs that became known as true Mike Rutherford songs, e.g. Your own special way, Snowbound, Turn it on again, etcetera).

On a final note in this post : I cannot imagine that Genesis would sit still while Gabriel wrote the Lamb etc. They would never have been able to do that and PG would never have been able to write that record the way it was. Genesis was always a band, the fact that one person wrote more songs then the next sometimes did not stop them from arranging them together. Can you see Phil Collins waiting patiently for PG to tell him which drum-part(s) to play ? smiley - winkeyesmiley - smiley




Post 8

alicat (Patron Saint of Good Taste)

I believe that, at the time they were working on "The Lamb", Peter Gabriel's wife, Jill, was going through a very difficult pregnancy. His first daughter almost died and I think it would be a very difficult creative time for Peter.

smiley - cat*

Thanks for the reference to the Bio, TM. smiley - smiley


Post 9


In the Genesis Song Book DVD PG says (in interview) that he wanted to write the lyrics for The Lamb himself because you don't get many books written by committee. Fair point.
smiley - rainbow


Post 10


Hi TM,

You wrote :

"That Kate did vocals on waiting for the big one is new to me, of course its possible but wouldn't she have been really really young at the time ?"

- - - Only if you assume that "Car" = Peter Gabriel 1 was released in 1975 ! smiley - smiley

In fact, it was first released 10 February 1977 ! ! !

But to be honest, I have never heard of a Bush contribution on Waiting For The Big One.

Sorry if someone somewhere already corrected you on the release date (or year, to be more precisely) . . .

Maybe the editors will care to correct this Guide Entry with your permission . . .

Best wishes,

- Karin.


Post 11


Oh I sincerely hope they will correct it. Accidents happen and I'd rather have the entry as correct as possible. Still, in 1975 Kate must have been what, about 18 years old ? Very young indeed. Of course she was/is extremely talented so I wouldn't rule out that collaboration at all smiley - winkeye And it's nice to know.

I want her back with a new cd! I have heard that she has been working on a new album since last year so. there is hope that we will get the original - and much better - "Tori Amos" back smiley - smiley.



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