Friday, November 7, 2008

Music History:
How Springsteen changed Genesis

"Solsbury Hill" is arguably Peter Gabriel's most recognizable song which is saying a lot after the video success of "Sledgehammer" and Cusack's hoisting of "In Your Eyes." You know the song as a staple on adult radio and you know the singer, but do you actually know how it came to be?

According to Wikipedia, the song emerged after a spiritual experience Gabriel had atop the actual Solsbury Hill, located in Somerset England, after his departure from Genesis. In fact, Solsbury Hill is said to be a metaphor to the excitement and adventurous spirit Gabriel felt once he made the decision to leave Genesis. Wiki leaves it at that and misses much of the story that I find more interesting. Although most know Phil Collins as the lead of Genesis, it should be known that he only ditched the drums and sang in the mic after Gabriel's departure. So what ignited this song and Gabriel's ambition to depart such a prolific band in favor of a risky solo-career? Bruce Springsteen. The Boss.

As the story goes, Gabriel arrived to his decision at some point before 1977 after watching Springsteen in concert. His first verse describes Springsteen as an "eagle who flew out of the night" and "standing stretching every nerve." Some sites and reviews go line by line through the song dissecting Gabriel's concert experience, his reaction to it and how he paved his new solo path. Instead of regurgitating their words and sending you their direction, it may be more fun and eye-opening for you to re-listen to the song with this new information of how this song came to be and how Springsteen's heavy-hitting style might have served as a catalyst.

Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill

Since emerging in 1977, "Solsbury Hill" has appeared on over 50 albums, received countless cover tributes by people such as Dave Matthews, Sarah McLachlan, Erasure, Moe., and has seen millions of spins on our FM dial throughout the decades.


Anonymous said...

Of all the great armies of rock fans, few can match the devotion of Bruce Springsteen's. Anyone who has experienced Springsteen in concert will testify that the bond between audience and artist transcends the usual adulation. Something magical, almost mystical happens. Some might describe it as spiritual-most definitely it is life affirming. It is in trying to nail this phenomenon that the beautiful hardbound book "For You" has arrived.
Edited by Lawrence Kirsch and replete with an amazing welter of outstanding photographs, it's a mind-blowing collection of thoughts and stories from fans of every age and many nations, each explaining why Springsteen occupies such an important place in our hearts. Covering all four decades of Springsteen's career it is possibly the ultimate tribute for it is the fans who have made the journey and whose words tell us as much about them as they do about Springsteen. The warmth and humanity that flows from every page is truly moving and provides a beacon of hope from which we can all draw strength in these hard times.

Nomi said...

Well said!!!