Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel  (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and humanitarian activist who rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis.  His 1986 solo album, So, is his most commercially successful, and is certified triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the U.S.  The album’s biggest hit, “Sledgehammer”, won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, and it remains the most played music video in the history of MTV.  (More from Wikipedia)

Other 1970’s recordings have danced around gay issues, such as Rod Stewart’s 1976 minor hit “The Killing of Georgie” – about the murder of a gay friend of his in New York back when he was in Faces – and it was an open secret that Freddie Mercury was gay though closeted; he was the frontman of a band called Queen after all.  It was many years later though before openly gay songs and performers would arrive on the popular music scene, such as British  musician Tom Robinson in the late 1970’s (he collaborated with Peter Gabriel on one EP that I own), and mid-1980’s sensation Frankie Goes to Hollywood.  By the way, it is interesting that the first hit songs by arguably the two most famous Liverpool rock bands – the Beatles’ Please Please Me and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” – deal fairly openly with the topic of oral sex. 


(March 2013)


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Opposition to the unfair imprisonment of two women in Pussy Riot became a cause célèbre of many Western celebrities plus musicians from every genre imaginable:  Bryan AdamsBeastie Boysthe Black Keys, John CalePeter GabrielGreen Day, Nina Hagen, Kathleen Hanna, Paul McCartney, MobyYoko OnoPet Shop BoysRed Hot Chili Peppers, Patti Smith, StingPete Townshend, etc.  Pussy Riot was featured on 60 Minutes as well. 


For their part, the bandmembers in Pussy Riot that were not in prison distanced themselves from all of this attention and were quoted as saying:  “We’re flattered, of course, that Madonna and Björk have offered to perform with us.  But the only performances we’ll participate in are illegal ones.  We refuse to perform as part of the capitalist system, at concerts where they sell tickets.” 


(December 2013)


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While few of these bands have anything religious on their albums, one example where that is the case is the English progressive rock band Genesis, who had considered calling themselves Gabriel’s Angels after lead singer Peter Gabriel.  The other well known member of the band is Phil Collins


The band’s debut album in 1969From Genesis to Revelation – the beginning and ending books in the Bible – has a series of songs that are loosely based on religious themes. 


There is also a thrash metal band called Exodus that formed in 1980 which I am not familiar with. 


(October 2014)


Last edited: March 22, 2021