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Audio – Visual #1: Peter Gabriel

November 21, 2008


If there’s an aspect of the music maker’s career that I love, it would be the videos which accompany certain songs or tracks. They give a form of artistic creativity that is music the ability to be enjoyed not only with the sense of the ears, but with the eyes. It also is a great thing for a song as well if it’s accompanied with a great video. Personally I’m not really too much of those “band playing their instruments” film clips. Sure, feature yourself in the video if you’re the artist, but doing what you already do most of the time anyways is something I don’t find enjoyable.

I love videos with stories, effects, some sort of underlying meaning, no matter how insightful or stupid. So in tradition of great segments like 2 New Songs 1 Old One here on njv, I’ve decided to regularly dedicate a post to music videos in a series that I’m going to call “Audio / Visual”, looking at more or less interesting music videos of past and present.

So first artist off the rank in this series is Peter Gabriel. This guy probably is a little too adult contemporary for this blog, but his videos definitely can be called pieces of influential art on their own. Peter’s best known video work would probably be Sledgehammer. From Peter’s 1986 album So, it’s seen as something of a revolutionary visual accompaniment to the track, and could be credited to the sales of the album and single as well at the time. It was so much loved that MTV played this video more than any video on the station. From all accounts, the interest this video generated is very much nostalgic now, which is probably why I enjoy watching this more than anything.

Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

Big Time also released on So kind of kept with that same animated type of feel, although there’s probably more weirdness in this clip than Sledgehammer. The wackyness of it all probably

Peter Gabriel – Big Time

When 1992 came around – so did Peter’s second solo album Us, Peter more or less had his fans looking forward to his videos rather than his albums. He intrigued with the video to Digging In The Dirt, which was seen by many at the time as a insight into his difficult personal troubles at the time. This is probably why the video is so deadpan and cryptic. Steam was a video that kind of went back to his roots a bit, being upbeat and all, had a more playful nature about. The experimentation with animation and the special effects of 1992 was still there though.

Peter Gabriel – Digging In The Dirt

Peter Gabriel – Steam

Peter didn’t release too much of significance in terms of videos or music much after Us. His next solo effort was Up in 2002 (although he was busy – developing the WOMAD festival between albums). Growing Up was an video once again utilising that idea of the mundane life despite bubbly, wonderful colour surrounding you.


Peter Gabriel – Growing Up


Peter Gabriel website

Peter Gabriel myspace
WOMAD festival website

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