Artist picture of Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel

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Biography

A founder member of Genesis with fellow pupils from Charterhouse (Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Anthony Phillips and Chris Stewart), Peter Gabriel's natural flamboyance and showmanship made him a compelling front man who played a key role in the band's successes in the 1970s with albums like Selling England By The Pound and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway - a concept album conceived by Gabriel. It was a shock when he quit Genesis in 1977, launching his solo career with the spiritual single Solsbury Hill, written about his exit from the band. Regarded as slightly eccentric, Gabriel refused to title any of his first four solo albums, labeling them only with his own name in the same typeface with his face partly obscured, all of which added to the mystique of a music that explored darker areas, particularly when he worked closely with the guitarist Robert Fripp. However, he did achieve major hits with the singles Games Without Frontiers and Biko, a dramatic African-flavoured protest song in 1980 written about the killing of anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko. His live shows were always colourful multi-media spectaculars and he achieved his biggest solo successes in the mid-1980s with the Number 1 album So, which produced three major hits - Sledgehammer (pioneering new techniques in video making), Big Time and Don't Give Up, a duet with Kate Bush; Sledgehammer even knocked his old band Genesis off the Number 1 spot in the UK singles chart in 1986. In 1989 he wrote the soundtrack to the Martin Scorsese movie The Last Temptation Of Christ. His introspective Us album in 1992 found him working with Sinead O'Connor, one of many high profile collaborations which later included Laurie Anderson, Natalie Merchant, Elizabeth Fraser, Youssou N'Dour, Paula Cole, Peter Hammill and Ane Braun. In later years Gabriel spent much of his extraordinary imagination promoting world music, becoming the driving force behind WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) and launching the Real World studio and label. He also became closely involved with Amnesty International and other humanitarian events and campaigns.

Artist biography compiled by BDS/West 10. All rights reserved