I was a mere teen when Gabriel shocked the world by leaving Genesis. This single apparently explained this frame of mind. I just remember skipping school to go into the city to buy tickets at the Glasgow Apollo the minute the box office opened. Pete's voice, Fripp's Guitar, and Levin's stick bass. They walked down the aisles with miner's headlighted helmets &climbed the considerable height of the Apollo's stage. A fabulous gig. A great set of albums (each one annoying called "Peter Gabriel"). He somehow made it OK. We forgave him for leaving Genesis, but more than that, & this single reminds me of it every time, he showed me that it was better to control your life & make your own decisions & moves in life. That it was more than OK to quit & go off in a direction that suited YOU, & to hack with what everyone else thought. This is not anarchy nor wanton irresponsibility, this is truth. I've climbed my own Solsbury Hills, & let me tell you it feels great when you get to the top.
This is the 2nd artist on my jam list for the month of May. The first was Devo. Peter Gabriel is one of the artists I've been putting off adding to TIMJ cuz which track to you pick? I love all his stuff. Whether it's the soft soulful tribute to Anne Sexton in Mercy Street or the feral impish chaotic order of Shock The Monkey, he is a spectrum of human expression. His statements against oppression and for the independence of spirit are both transparent and obtuse; open to interpretation. I picked this one cuz the live video has him bicycling on his own stage, but this isn't his best song. He has no best song. It's all one long love letter he has spent his life composing to the universe. We are witness to his love affair with reality. He lets us see glimpses but the true magic he keeps to himself. That's as it should be for all of us.
I plan to do a lot of jamming in the month of May. You're welcome to join me. It's a long list on my wall, and I'm still adding to it along the way.
"I was feeling part of the scenery. I walked right out of the machinery."
Oh, goodness me, yes.
If I focus, I realise that this song was pretty much my first exposure to the knowledge that I will never, in my life, write something this perfect.