Peter Brian Gabriel, born February 13, 1950, in Cobham (Surrey), England, is an English musician. He first came to fame as a member of the progressive rock group Genesis, which he founded as a student at Charterhouse School with bandmates Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, and Mike Rutherford.
Genesis quickly become one of the most talked-about bands in the UK, largely due to Gabriel's flamboyant stage presence, which involved numerous bizarre costume changes and comical, dreamlike stories told as the introduction to each song. During "The Knife", a popular live song from the Trespass album, Gabriel would perform a stunt that, two decades later, became extremely common: stage diving. On one occasion he broke a leg leaping into the crowd, but managed to climb back up onto the stage and finish the performance.
His first solo success came with the single "Solsbury Hill", an autobiographical piece expressing his thoughts on leaving Genesis. Although early on he achieved critical success and some commercial success (e.g. "Games Without Frontiers" from his third album and "Shock the Monkey" from his fourth), Gabriel achieved his greatest popularity with songs from the 1986 So album, most notably "Sledgehammer."
He famously refused to title his first four solo albums, since he wanted them to be considered as issues of a magazine instead of individual works. They are usually differentiated by number in order of release, or sleeve design.
Gabriel's song "Sledgehammer" was accompanied by a visually stunning music video, which was a collaboration with director Stephen Johnson , Aardman Animation, and the Brothers Quay. The video won numerous awards at the 1987 MTV Music Video Awards, and set a new standard for art in the music video industry. A follow-up video for the song "Big Time" also broke new ground in music video animation and special effects.
He has collaborated with singer Kate Bush several times, including an appearance on her television special. Their duet of Roy Harper's "Another Day" was discussed for release as a single, but this never came to pass. Another duet, "Don't Give Up" became a hit, however.
He also collaborated with Laurie Anderson on two versions of her composition "Excellent Birds" - one for her album, Mister Heartbreak, and a slightly different version called This is the Picture which appeared on cassette and CD versions of So. In 1987, when presenting Gabriel with an award for his music videos, Anderson related an occasion in which a recording session had gone late into the night and Gabriel's voice began to sound somewhat strange, almost dreamlike. It was discovered that he had fallen asleep in front of the microphone, but had continued to sing.
Gabriel has been interested in world music for many years, with the first musical evidence appearing on his third album. This influence has increased over time, and he is the driving force behind the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) movement. He created the Real World Studios and record label to facilitate the creation and distribution of such music by various artists, and he has worked to educate Western culture about the work of such musicians as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Youssou N'dour. He has also recently been interested in multimedia projects, creating the Xplora and Eve CD-ROMs. He has a long-standing interest in human rights, and launched the Witness program to supply video cameras to human rights activists to expose abuses.
Gabriel's song "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)" from So refers to Milgram's experiment, and in particular the 37 out of 40 subjects who showed complete obedience in one particular experiment.
It has been reported that he suffers from bipolar disorder, but despite some claims, he never confirmed this information.
Peter Gabriel is one of the founders of On Demand Distribution (OD2), an online music enterprise, and additionally is co-founder (with Brian Eno) of a musicians union called Mudda, short for "magnificent union of digitally downloading artists."
Recently, Peter Gabriel has been working with video game company Cyan Worlds to aid in the sound production of their latest video games. The 2003 videogame Uru: Ages Beyond Myst featured the single "Burn You Up, Burn You Down" in several portions of the game. The 2004 release of Myst IV: Revelation featured a song written especially for the game called "Curtains" (often called 'Portal to Serenia' or 'Portal to Dreamworld'), and he also did a large voice acting part.
- 1977 Peter Gabriel (I, wet car cover) #7 UK, #38 US
- 1978 Peter Gabriel (II, scratch cover) #10 UK, #45 US
- 1980 Peter Gabriel (III, melting face cover) #1 UK, #22 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1982 Peter Gabriel (IV, known as Security in the USA) #6 UK, #28 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1983 Peter Gabriel Plays Live (live) #8 UK, #44 US
- 1985 Music by Peter Gabriel from the Film "Birdy" #162 US
- 1986 So #1 UK, #2 US, US Sales: 5,000,000
- 1989 Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ #29 UK, #60 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 1990 Shaking the Tree (best of 1976-1990) (compilation) #11 UK, #48 US, US Sales: 2,000,000
- 1992 Us #2 UK, #2 US, US Sales: 1,000,000
- 1992 Revisited (best of 1976-1992) (compilation)
- 1994 Secret World Live (live 1993) #10 UK, #23 US, US Sales: 500,000
- 2000 Ovo
- 2002 Long Walk Home : Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence
- 2002 Up #11 UK, #9 US
- 2003 Hit (compilation) #29 UK, #100 US
- 1994 Secret World Live (concert DVD from the Secret World Tour 1992/93)
- 2003 Growing Up (concert DVD from the Growing Up Tour 2002/03)
- 2004 Play (compilation DVD with all of his music videos, including bonus videos and remastered sound).
- from "Peter Gabriel (I)"
- 1977 "Solsbury Hill" #13 UK
- from "Peter Gabriel (III)"
- 1980 "Games without Frontiers" #4 UK
- 1980 "No Self Control" #33 UK
- 1980 "Biko" #38 UK
- from "Peter Gabriel (IV)"
- 1983 "Shock the Monkey" #29 US
- from "So"
- 1986 "Sledgehammer" #4 UK, #1 US
- 1986 "Don't Give Up" (with Kate Bush) #9 UK
- 1986 "Big Time" #13 UK, #8 US (1987 release)
- 1986 "In Your Eyes" #26 US
- from "Us"
- 1992 "Digging the Dirt" #24 UK
- 1993 "Steam" #10 UK, #32 US
- from "Secret World Live"
- 1994 "SW Live EP" #39 UK
- Official website
- Fan site
- Another fan site
- Real World