Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

Getting An Early Start

When it comes to rock music, few decades were as influential as the 1980s. The 80s were filled with songs that brought home important messages – remember Live Aid? – and were a lot of fun as well, and few solo artists were as successful and active both on and off the stage as Peter Gabriel. You don’t have to think hard to come up with reasons why Peter Gabriel is a legend, because everyone remembers his songs such as “Sledgehammer” and “Big Time.” 

Peter Gabriel started out as the lead singer for the group Genesis, but he left in 1975 to pursue a solo career. And boy, has that career grown and thrived. He was born in 1950 in England and was influenced by his mother’s family, who was very musical. He actually plays a few instruments, including drums and piano, and his singing talent was noticed by one of his teachers when he was very young. In fact, his very first band, Garden Wall, was formed in 1965 when Gabriel was a mere 15 years old. From there, as they say, the rest is history.

That Unique Musical Style

Peter Gabriel has always had a musical style that sets him apart from everyone else, and most interestingly, it is a style that seems to appeal to everyone. When he was in Genesis, from 1967 to 1975, Gabriel mostly wrote songs and sang straightforward pop. Throughout the record albums the group released, Gabriel can be heard playing instruments such as the flute and oboe, a testament to his musical genius and versatility.

Gabriel was successful with the band, but eventually became disillusioned with the music business, especially after his daughter was born and he wanted to spend more time with his family. The band members didn’t always get along and in fact often disagreed about the direction they should take musically. 

When he left the band in 1975, drummer Phil Collins reluctantly took the role of lead singer – but only after some 400 singers had been auditioned and then eliminated! Indeed, everyone had doubts that Genesis would survive after Gabriel’s departure, but it did in fact go on. 

This left Peter Gabriel able to decide for himself which direction his music would go in, and he continued to write songs about events going on in his life and causes to which he was passionately devoted.

Genesis ticket in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

In Your Eyes

I first heard Peter Gabriel at a house party in Beach City, Ohio in 1996. I was working as the pool lifeguard at a summer camp and retreat called Camp Wanake. Since the kids only came for a week at a time, we got the weekends off. Typically, this time would be spent clubbing in Cleveland, sightseeing in Amish country, horse-riding or playing softball at Wanake.

There were quite a few international counselors at Wanake. I was from South Africa, Martyna was from Poland, Martin from England, there was a girl from Russia and another from Eqypt, a guy from Scotland and then finally, there was sweet Maria from Sao Paulo, Brasil. Maria was only volunteering at the camp for about two weeks.

On the next weekend, Elton, the truck driver, decided to hold a party at his place. We were pretty good friends and I arrived at his place on Saturday afternoon and starting prepping for the party. This involved guzzling down beer while chain sawing as much dead wood as possible in the bushy backyard and finally building a bonfire big enough to be visible from space. The other counselors arrived as well as a few neighborhood hooligans and the party officially started.

Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend
Peter Gabriel shot in Bath, 1978 (Image: Clive Arrowsmith)

The party raged deep into the night and left me with two very clear memories, one dripping in sadness, the other in sheer joy. Firstly, my mate, Martin, opened up to me and told me all about the death of his dad. The love he so strongly felt for him coupled with how much he missed him made me so sad that I began to cry. Secondly, Maria arrived later in the evening and we hit it off in royal fashion. I vividly recall sitting, squashed on a patio chair, drinking some godawful mix, kissing passionately with Gabriel’s In Your Eyes blaring in the background. That song has become a huge nostalgic trigger for me in later life and I cherish it for the warm and fuzzy feeling it invokes within me.

In Your Eyes. Maria. A strong sensation of giddy, teenage infatuation.

Nostalgia score, 8/10.

Peter Gabriel and Nelson Mandela in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend
Nelson Mandela and Peter Gabriel

More Than Just A Musician

Peter Gabriel is not only talented musically, but he is just as devoted to certain causes as he is to that music. In 1986, he began an association with Amnesty International, and he became one of the first participants in that organization’s Human Rights concerts. From 1986 to 1998, he performed in a variety of concerts for Amnesty in places that included Paris and Chile.

His devotion to humanitarian causes is extensive, and in fact, in the 1990’s he and entrepreneur Richard Branson met with South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and formed a group whose goal is to handle many different causes, including difficult global conflicts.

 

Other efforts include creating a nonprofit group in 2007 called WITNESS, which is a media site for human rights; lending his support for an Iranian woman who, in 2010, was scheduled to be stoned to death; and voicing his support for protesters in Hong Kong over the Lennon Wall. He has also won numerous human rights and other awards, including the Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2008, an honorary doctorate in 2015 from the University of South Australia, and a United We Care award in 2008.

Political Activism

Peter Gabriel is also involved in numerous political causes. Mostly involved in causes that take place in England, he has thrown his support behind several politicians, including Tony Blair and the Green Party of England. He voiced his staunch opposition to the war in Iraq and has given huge donations to the Labor Party in England. His interests and causes are always to the left of center, which I like. 

In fact, in 2012 he voiced his opposition to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh using his music on his radio show, and he has shown support for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. 

Gabriel is knowledgeable about what is going on in the world, and he uses the influence he has from his musical career to affect change whenever and wherever he can. When it comes to any type of injustice, he makes his voice heard both financially and in direct involvement in various campaigns and programs. He is not, in fact, a man who just sits by quietly while things that shouldn’t be happening go on around him.

In this way, he is much like my favouite author, George Orwell, who was also driven to stand up for the little guy by shining a light on the injustices of the world.

Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend
Peter Gabriel beside the River Avon with Bath Abbey in the background (Image: Clive Arrowsmith)

The Pop Culture of Today

Even with this many years in show business, Peter Gabriel hasn’t shown any signs of quitting, either on or off the stage. His music has been featured in many television shows and movies, and he was even asked to write music for the big-screen movie The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988. His music and original compositions can be heard in shows and movies such as Miami Vice, the WALL-E soundtrack in 2008, Up, and Babe: Pig in the City. 

Peter Gabriel and Sigourney Weaver in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend
Gabriel and Signourney Weaver at UK Premiere of Wall-E, 2008
Peter Gabriel gets man of peace award in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend
Gabriel winning Man of Peace award, 2006

In 2006, he won a Man of Peace Award from the Nobel Prize committee, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. In fact, when it comes to awards, honors, and accolades, Peter Gabriel has won them all, and he doesn’t show any signs nor interest in stopping anytime soon. 

If you wondered why Peter Gabriel is a legend at the beginning of this article, you probably don’t wonder anymore. This is a man who not only produces great music but is involved in the causes that he and so many others consider important. If you’ve never bought one of his CDs, now is the time to treat yourself to one of them. 

For more cool stuff about the 80’s, read 17 Cool Things From The 80’s.

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Peter Gabriel Gift Ideas

There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.

With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.

Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉

Peter Gabriel So Album as nostalgic presents for men Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

So (25th Anniversary)

My favourite album because it features In Your Eyes. Not sure if anyone still buys CD’s, but if you do, this is a good one to get. 

Check it out on Amazon

Secret World Live album as nostalgic presents for men Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

Secret World Live

If you can, watch this Blu-ray with surround sound system or beefy, noise cancellation head phones and you’ll be blown away.

Check it out on Amazon.

Genesis shirt as nostalgic presents for men Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

Genesis T-Shirt

Genesis the Lamb Lies Down on Broadway T-Shirt, perfect for a die hard Genesis or Gabriel fan.

Check it out on Amazon.

Peter Gabriel hoodies as a nostalgic present for men Peter Gabriel in the post Peter Gabriel Is A Legend

Peter Gabriel Hoodie

This is my pick of the bunch and I got it for myself. I love how invested Gabriel was in his Genesis days. His makeup and costumes were so artistic and daring.

Check it out on Amazon

14 thoughts on “Peter Gabriel Is A Legend”

  1. Very interesting and informative information on Peter Gabriel. Gabriel is truly a musical genius and pioneer of not only music but of humanitarian causes. He is very well known around the world and has been very successful in everything he has been involved in. He has many memorable albums with Genesis as well as his own solo albums. He is such a smart man that he left Genesis literally at the height of the band’s popularity and struck out on his own. A true musician if there ever was one!! I personally have most of Peter’s albums including all of Genesis. He will be hard to replace when he passes on. Let’s hope that isn’t for many more decades. Thanks for your informative and memorable article.

    1. I think you’re even more of a fan than me! I don’t even have all of the Genesis albums, but I will rectify that. Thanks for your insights into Gabriel and his global influence. 

  2. Joseph Stasaitis

    I always like Peter Gabriel and Genesis was one of my favorite groups back in the day. I agree that his musical style was very unique and did put him in a category all of his own. He has definitely created a legacy with his brand. It is also good to know that he is involved with many causes to help folks out around the world. This definitely reflects positively on his character and only adds to his legacy and brand. I appreciate you taking me down memory lane as well as adding to my knowledge of this legend.

  3. The 80s was definitely the peak of rock and roll and definitely influential but I would like to think that the 40s and 50s were the time where it became very influential and the birth was forming this genre.  I was unaware of his other humanitarian efforts.  Supporting and building up other races is incredible to do during this time.  Also becoming active in political events is helpful in voicing out people opinions with his own.  Great read and great site.  Best regards to you.

    1. I agree Eric, the foundations of most music genres were laid in the 40’s and 50’s. It’s unfortunate that it’s too far away for most people to appreciate.Glad you enjoyed my Peter Gabriel is a Legend post.

  4. My first introduction to Peter Gabriel was in the 1980s with his video Sledgehammer. I thought it was so distinctly weird that I fell in love with it. His voice was attractive to me and the way he belted out the tunes.Wow!

    Later, listening to his other music, I continued to be a fan. I joined a music club once, just so I could easily access his recordings!

    Peter Gabriel’s humanitarian efforts are unmistakable. He has done much to stop the injustices which effect us all. I have always said this and always will, music binds us together in a commonality of spirit. Peter Gabriel has done a lot to bind us together as people!

    1. Gabriel sure has done a lot of good in the world, Karin. It’s so great to see someone taking their unique gift and embracing it for good. 

  5. I am a huge fan of rock music, although I do not know of this artist, judging by what this article says about him I think I need to see or hear his songs. I am a huge fan of the band, Michael learns to rock, of Luke Bryan and U2 and most especially of Bryan Adams. In all, soft rock is my favorite genre of music. I would love to take my time to learn more about this artist Peter Gabriel and I hope he lives up to the billing. Thanks for the information. 

    1. I’m a big fan of U2 as well and I might write about them next. Like Bono, Gabriel is so much more than just an artist. I really respect talented people who use their talent to make the world a better place.

  6. I find this very informative about Peter Gabriel….. Indeed he was not just a good musician but also a great philanthropist,  he was very devoted,  good at anything he does….even when he became disillusioned with his businesses, he still didn’t give up. Music has a way of bringing people together and Gabriel really did alot in bringing people together through his music.  

  7. Thank you for your post. I learnt some thing new after reading your article.

    I know that Peter Gabriel is world-renowned musician. I love his music. Based on your description, he is more than just a musician. He devotes his time to so many other causes. He was the first to participate in Amnesty International and organized human right concerts. 

    His devotion to humanitarian efforts is very extensive. In the world today, there is pandemic and there is social unrest. I wish that there are more people like Peter, using music to help people with inspiration to walk out the darkness of the world and move into the bright future we all dream about.

    1. Well said, Anthony, we need more talented people like Gabriel to inspire positive change throughout the world.

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