Peter Gabriel is relfecting on his 1986 album So which transformed him into one of the biggest stars in the world in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. In the interview Gabriel discusses his Sledgehammer music video, why he's decided to release a deluxe edition of So and his upcoming fall tour. Read an excerpt from the interview below and click the link to read the rest!
Why do you think So managed to reach a much broader audience than your previous albums?
There was less sort of esoteric songwriting. I think they were simpler songs in some ways, but I think we caught a wave. They were done with passion and we had a really good team working on them. Then, of course, we had things like the "Sledgehammer" video, which helped enormously. It got us a wider audience. Also, the one concession I agreed to was to place an actual photo of myself on the cover rather than the usual obscured stuff I had been doing.
When you made So, did you try and make it more accessible, or that was just sort of a natural development?
I think that was a bunch of songs that were there at the time. With "Sledgehammer," everyone thinks, "Oh, he must have created that to get a hit." And it wasn't done that way. In fact, [bassist] Tony Levin reminded me that he was packing his bags to go home, and I called him back into the studio, saying "I've got this one idea that maybe we can fool around with for the next record – but I like the feel." That was "Sledgehammer." It was late in the day and we just fell into the groove, landed a beautiful drum track on it, a great bass line and it all came together.
I think the video really helped get it to a different audience. I've not had many intersections with mass culture, so that was one occasion where that happened.