Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Case for Peter Gabriel for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

In the latest installment of acts that belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we examine the case for Peter Gabriel.  While some may argue that he's already there via the induction of Genesis, as stated earlier in my recaps, the Hall has a huge bias against Prog Rock, and I view the Genesis induction as only a tip of cap to the Top 40, Phil Collins led version of the band that was so popular in the 1980's.  That band looked very different than the Gabriel led band that was pushing envelopes in the 1970's. 

Here are the primary reasons for inducting Peter Gabriel as a solo act:
  • Gabriel has pretty much always been focused on the artwork, regardless of what it may have cost him in terms of dominating the mainstream.  Be it staging costumes, self-titling his first four albums, re-recording his albums in German, adding his talent to a multitude of motion picture soundtracks, exposing his audience to world music, or his incredible videos, Peter Gabriel has expanded his art.  It always came first for him.    
  • The So album is incredible.  While not a masterpiece per se (some of it is difficult for typical mass consumption), it was the dominant album of its time.  While the world was being besieged by Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince, Peter Gabriel offered a refreshingly new take on music that sounded like nothing else.  And while he did that most of his career, for him to rise to such popularity in such an environment really reflects on the quality of what he was creating at that time.   
  • And while Gabriel's music sounded like nothing else, his videos were even more fantastic.  Consider this one for Shock the Monkey, released in 1982:

Nobody made videos like that then.  Hell, nobody makes videos like that now.  

And when discussing Gabriel videos, I'd be remiss if I did not include the award winning and famous Sledgehammer video:

While not everyone's cup of tea, Peter Gabriel has been a prolific and creative dynamo for five different decades.  He's pushed boundaries across a broad spectrum, all while delivering some incredibly original music.  His massive contributions make him more than worthy to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a stand-alone artist.

    1 comment:

    1. I don't know about the RRHoF, but Solsbury Hill is got to be in everyone's "best of all time" list. World beats, haunting lyrics that I pull something new out of with every listen - and pop sensibility.

      "I was feeling part of the scenery
      I walked right out of the machinery"

      It makes sense why he wasn't compelled to do much music after that "Sledgehammer" era.

      "Hey" I said "You can keep my things,
      They've come to take me home."

      After thinking about your post, this is autobiographical. Hell, the dude skipped his induction for Genesis. Not because he was in rehab like Eddie Van Halen - because he was rehearsing with an orchestra in Europe?

      But...skipping out for whatever reason can't bode well for getting the nod soon.


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