|Studio album by|
|Released||30 May 1980|
|Studio||Manor Mobile, Bath|
The Townhouse, London
Mercury (US 1980)
Geffen (US 1983)
|Peter Gabriel chronology|
|Singles from Peter Gabriel|
Peter Gabriel is the third eponymous solo studio album by English rock musician Peter Gabriel, released on 30 May 1980 by Charisma Records. The album has been acclaimed as Gabriel's artistic breakthrough as a solo artist and for establishing him as one of rock's most ambitious and innovative musicians. Gabriel also explored more overtly political material with two of his most famous singles, the anti-war song "Games Without Frontiers" (which became a No. 4 hit and remains his joint highest-charting single in the UK) and the anti-apartheid protest song "Biko", which remembered the murdered activist Steve Biko. The album was remastered, along with most of Gabriel's catalogue, in 2002.
In the U.S., the album was entitled Peter Gabriel III. The album is also often referred to as Melt owing to its cover photograph by Hipgnosis. Music streaming services currently refer to it as Peter Gabriel 3: Melt.
Gabriel's ex-bandmate Phil Collins, who succeeded him as Genesis's lead vocalist, played drums on several of the album's tracks. "Intruder" has been cited as the first use of Collins's "gated drum" sound. This effect, as created by Steve Lillywhite, Collins and Hugh Padgham, was featured on Collins's and Genesis's recordings throughout the 1980s. The distinctive sound was identified via experiments by Lillywhite, Collins and Padgham, in response to Gabriel's request that Collins and Jerry Marotta not use cymbals during the album's sessions.
"Artists given complete freedom die a horrible death", Gabriel explained to Mark Blake. "So, when you tell them what they can't do, they get creative and say, 'Oh yes I can,' which is why I banned cymbals. Phil was cool about it. [Marotta] did object and it took him a while to settle in. It's like being right-handed and having to learn to write with your left." In an interview for Genesis: The Sum Of The Parts, Collins confirmed he was amenable to the request, but admitted asking Gabriel what he was supposed to do with his other hand.
So significant and influential was the sound that it has been claimed by Gabriel, Padgham, Collins, and Lillywhite. It was cited by Public Image Ltd as an influence on the sound of their album The Flowers of Romance, whose engineer, Nick Launay, was in turn employed by Collins to assist with his solo debut, Face Value. Paul Weller, who was recording with his band the Jam in a nearby studio, contributed guitar to "And Through the Wire". Gabriel believed Weller's intense guitar style was ideal for the track.
The album, produced by Gabriel and Lillywhite, was Gabriel's first and only release for Mercury Records in the United States, having been rejected by Atlantic Records, which had handled U.S. distribution for Gabriel's first two solo albums and his last two albums with Genesis. Upon hearing mixes of session tapes in early 1980, Atlantic A&R executive John Kalodner deemed the album not commercial enough for release, and recommended Atlantic drop Gabriel from its roster.
"Atlantic Records didn't want to put it out at all", Gabriel told Mark Blake. "Ahmet Ertegun said, 'What do people in America care about this guy in South Africa?' and 'Has Peter been in a mental hospital?' because there was this very weird track called 'Lead a Normal Life'. They thought I'd had a breakdown and recorded a piece of crap ... I thought I'd really found myself on that record, and then someone just squashes it. I went through some primordial rejection issues."
By the time the album was released by Mercury several months later, Kalodner – now working for the newly formed Geffen Records label and having realised his mistake – arranged for Geffen to pursue Gabriel as one of its first artist signings. Geffen (at the time distributed by Atlantic sister label Warner Bros. Records) reissued the album in 1983, after Mercury's rights to it lapsed, and marketed it in the United States until 2010, when Gabriel's back catalogue was reissued independently by Real World Records. Coincidentally, Mercury is now a sister label to Geffen after Mercury's parent PolyGram merged with Geffen's parent Universal Music Group in 1999.
"I Don't Remember" was performed on Gabriel's 1978 tour for his second album. An earlier studio version was to be the A-side of the first 7" single released in advance of the album by Charisma in Europe and Japan, but a Charisma executive thought Robert Fripp's guitar solos were not radio-friendly. This earlier version wound up as the B-side of the advance "Games Without Frontiers" single instead in those territories. It was included on the B-sides-and-rarities compilation Flotsam And Jetsam, released in 2019. The album version of this song appeared as the A-side of a 12" single in the United States and Canada.
Gabriel jokingly summarised the album's themes as "The history of a decaying mind". He added: "State of mind was definitely an area of interest at the time of writing it, but I never really set out with a concept. It was merely different songs, which perhaps have fitted into one particular slant." Of "No Self Control", he said: "That's something which I've observed in myself and in other people… In a state of depression, you have to turn on the radio, or switch on the television, go to the fridge and eat, and sleeping is difficult."
The photo was taken with a Polaroid SX-70 instant camera. The sleeve's designer Storm Thorgerson said: "Peter himself joined with us at Hipgnosis in disfiguring himself by manipulating Polaroids as they 'developed' ... Peter impressed us greatly with his ability to appear in an unflattering way, preferring the theatrical or artistic to the cosmetic."
|Christgau's Record Guide||B−|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
In 1989, Peter Gabriel was ranked at No. 46 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 best albums of the 1980s. In 2000, Q placed the album at No. 53 on its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever"; six years later, the magazine placed it at No. 29 on its list of the 40 best albums of the 1980s. In 2018, Pitchfork ranked Peter Gabriel at No. 125 on its revised and expanded list of the 200 best albums of the 1980s. In 2020, Rolling Stone included this record in their "80 Greatest albums of 1980" list, praising Gabriel "for a haunting LP that touches on political assassinations (“Family Snapshot”), the futility of war (“Games Without Frontiers”), and the brutal murder of South African activist Steve Biko (“Biko”). He made more popular albums after this one, but never better ones.".
All tracks are written by Peter Gabriel.
|2.||"No Self Control"||3:55|
|4.||"I Don't Remember"||4:42|
|6.||"And Through the Wire"||5:00|
|1.||"Games Without Frontiers"||4:06|
|2.||"Not One of Us"||5:22|
|3.||"Lead a Normal Life"||4:14|
Ein deutsches Album (English: A German Album), released in July 1980, is a German-language version of Peter Gabriel. Gabriel sang German vocals on top of completely new recorded instrumental and backing vocal tracks. The German lyrics are translations from the English. Two years later, Gabriel released Deutsches Album (1982), a significantly altered version of his fourth album Peter Gabriel (1982) (known as Security in the United States and Canada). In February 1980, German-language versions of "Games Without Frontiers" and "Here Comes the Flood" were released as a single in Germany. German adaptation was done by Horst Königstein.
All songs written by Peter Gabriel. "Texte" by Peter Gabriel translated by Horst Königstein.
|1980||Billboard Pop Albums||22|
|UK Album Chart||1|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||29|
|1980||“Games Without Frontiers”||Billboard Pop Singles||48|
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||44|
|Feb 1980||UK Singles Chart||4|
|May 1980||“No Self Control”||UK Singles Chart||33|
|Aug 1980||“Biko”||UK Singles Chart||38|
|BPI – UK||Gold||2 June 1980|
* Sales figures based on certification alone.