Peter Gabriel: A Comprehensive Guide to the Genesis Legend [2023]

Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel, the renowned English musician and songwriter, has been a prominent figure in the music industry for over five decades. He is best known as the former lead vocalist of the progressive rock band Genesis, and for his success as a solo artist with hit songs like "Sledgehammer" and "In Your Eyes". But there's much more to this Synth Pop icon than just his impressive discography. In this article, our team at Synth Pop™ will provide you with a comprehensive guide to Peter Gabriel's life, career, artistry, and personal endeavors.

Early Life and Genesis Years

Peter Gabriel was born in Chobham, Surrey, England on February 13, 1950. He developed a keen interest in music at a young age and formed the progressive rock band Genesis with his schoolmates in the late 60s. Gabriel's stint with Genesis lasted until 1975, during which he served as the lead vocalist, flautist, and occasional percussionist. During this time, Genesis released several successful albums such as "Selling England by the Pound" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", earning a reputation as one of the pioneers of the progressive rock movement.

Career as a Solo Artist

In 1975, Gabriel left Genesis to pursue a solo career and released his debut album, "Peter Gabriel" in 1977. The album established Gabriel as a successful solo artist and featured his hit single "Solsbury Hill". Over the next few years, Gabriel released several albums, each with its unique style of soundscapes and innovative music videos. His music varied from experimental art-pop with dark themes to joyful pop songs with slick production and catchy hooks.

Gabriel's most successful album to date is "So", released in 1986, which features hits such as "Sledgehammer", "Big Time", and "In Your Eyes". The album's commercial success was partly due to the creative and iconic music videos that accompanied the singles. "Sledgehammer" was the first video to use stop-motion animation extensively and remains one of the most viewed videos of all time on MTV.

Artistry and Innovations

Peter Gabriel is known for his experimental approach to music, which often includes innovative and unusual sounds and instrumentation. He has incorporated world music styles from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East into his music. He regularly collaborates with other artists, including Kate Bush, Nile Rodgers, and most recently, the New Blood Orchestra.

Gabriel has also been a pioneer in the use of technology in music. He developed the "Gabo" instrument, a MIDI controller that allows him to control various parameters of sound and visuals during live performances. He has also embraced software synthesizers and virtual instruments, creating an almost endless landscape of sounds.

Activism and Philanthropy

Peter Gabriel has always been a passionate activist, promoting various humanitarian causes such as Amnesty International and human rights. He founded the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in the 80s, which celebrates the music, art, and culture of different countries around the world. He has also supported organizations such as the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Save the Children.

Peter Gabriel's music has been featured in various movies, TV shows, and commercials. His song "Sledgehammer" was used in the opening credits of the movie "Wall-E", and "In Your Eyes" famously featured in the movie "Say Anything". One of Gabriel's most famous contributions to popular culture is his soundtrack for the movie "The Last Temptation of Christ", which was acclaimed for its innovative use of world music.

Personal Life

Peter Gabriel has been married twice, first to Jill Moore and currently to Meabh Flynn. He has four children, Anna-Marie, Melanie, Harry, and Isaac, the latter being the drummer for Gabriel's live band. Gabriel is also known for his unique sense of style, often sporting eccentric costumes and makeup during live performances.


Here is a table of Peter Gabriel's studio albums, sorted by release date:

Album Title Release Date
Peter Gabriel 1977
Peter Gabriel II 1978
Peter Gabriel III 1980
Peter Gabriel IV (Security) 1982
So 1986
Us 1992
Up 2002
Scratch My Back 2010
New Blood 2011
Scratch My Back…And I'll Scratch Yours 2013

Awards and Nominations

Peter Gabriel has earned several awards and nominations for his contributions to the music industry. Some of his notable achievements include:

  • Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Genesis in 2010.
  • Two Grammy awards for Best Music Video, Short Form for "Sledgehammer" and "Steam".
  • A Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for "Down to Earth" from the movie "Wall-E".
  • An Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2007.


Are Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins friends?

Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins were once close friends during their time with Genesis. However, it's been reported that the two had a falling out in the 90s when Gabriel refused to participate in a Genesis reunion tour. In a recent interview, Gabriel stated that he and Collins had not spoken in "a long time".

What did Peter Gabriel do after Genesis?

After leaving Genesis in 1975, Peter Gabriel pursued a successful solo career, releasing several innovative albums and hit songs. He is also known for his activism and philanthropy, founding the WOMAD festival and supporting various causes.

Quick Tips and Facts

  • Peter Gabriel's distinctive voice has been compared to that of a "male Kate Bush".
  • Gabriel was an early investor in music streaming service Spotify.
  • He has been an advocate for the environment, performing at several benefit concerts for Greenpeace and other environmental organizations.
  • "Solsbury Hill" was written about Gabriel's decision to leave Genesis and pursue a solo career.
  • "In Your Eyes" was famously featured in a romantic scene in the movie "Say Anything", starring John Cusack.

In conclusion, Peter Gabriel's life and career have been expansive and full of unique contributions in the world of music, activism, and philanthropy. His success as a solo artist and his contributions to Genesis have left an indelible mark on the music world. As a Synth Pop™ fan, we highly recommend diving into his extensive discography and exploring the innovative sounds and themes that he has contributed to the music world.

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