Peter Gabriel Shares His 6 Favorite Songs Of All Time

Peter Gabriel Shares His 6 Favorite Songs Of All Time | Society Of Rock Videos

Music That Inspired Him

Peter Gabriel is best known for fronting Genesis but he also launched a successful solo career after leaving the band. His work in music has earned him several accolades and he even co-founded the international arts festival WOMAD in 1982. In 2010, he sat down for an interview with “Nightline” at Kellari’s Parea Bistro in New York City mainly to promote his then-new album. But he also discussed six of his favorite songs and further explained how they managed to inspire him.

6. Paul Simon – “The Boy in the Bubble” (Graceland)

Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Paul Simon are three of Gabriel’s favorite songwriters. And speaking of Paul Simon, Gabriel said: “He’s [Simon] written so many great songs. ‘Boy in the Bubble’ was one [of them]. Like many people, I loved the ‘Graceland’ record. And you get carried away with the infectious grooves and you don’t always listen that much to the words. And that’s one of the most extraordinary lyrics written on a rock song, I think. It’s stunning.”

“The Boy in the Bubble” is the opening track on “Graceland” and it was the first song Simon worked on during his South Africa trip in 1985.

5. Randy Newman – “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” (Randy Newman)

Gabriel described Newman as “another person I think is a master songwriter and does beautiful arrangements” and that “some of the things he does for films seem deceptively simple, but they are really the work of a master.” He then chose “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today” as “one of his [Newman] best songs” because “It’s not necessarily a very positive message, but it’s beautifully constructed, elegant songwriting with a lot of heart.”

4. Joni Mitchell – “Blue” (Blue)

Joni Mitchell is one of Gabriel’s favorite artists and it’s no wonder why. Her works showcased her brilliance and musical genius. According to Gabriel, “Joni, I think, I’ve been in love with not just because of the writing, but also [because] she was an experimenter. She was pushing the musical boundaries both in the way she wrote harmonies and then exploring arrangements. Great artist.”

3. Otis Redding – “A Change is Gonna Come”

Genesis formed in 1967 at Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey. And that was the same year that Gabriel first saw Otis Redding perform. He recalled, “I was extremely lucky in 1967, when I was 17 years old, to go and see Otis Redding perform at the Ram Jam Club in Brixton in London. When he came on, it was like the sun coming out. It was just this amazing voice, totally in command, great band, great grooves and passion that permeated everything.”

He added, “I think I would have to choose an Otis track, and ‘Change Gonna Come’ might be one. Obviously that’s a song associated with other people and Sam Cooke and so on. But it’s just the way Otis put the message over. I think he’s a supreme interpreter, and what a heart.”

2. The Beatles – “Please Please Me”

It’s a universal fact that The Beatles have influenced and inspired countless other musicians – whether it’s their peers or the next generation of rockers. As for Gabriel, “The first record I bought when I saved up my pocket money was ‘With The Beatles’. Please, Please Me’ was coming over the radio. I would sit in the back of my parents’ car when we were on these long drives down to the coast. And what people forget, I think, is that at the time, it was really rebellious, rough, mischievous and full of life, and irresistible to any young person. The Beatles were a huge influence as I was growing up, and continued to be as there was all that revolution around their success.”

1. Jimi Hendrix – “Hey Joe”

And of course, one of the biggest names in rock during the ’60s was none other than the guitar titan Jimi Hendrix. He was a force of nature and when Peter Gabriel discovered his music, it was life-changing. Gabriel noted, “I can remember where I was when I first heard Hendrix’s “Hey Joe,” which was at school in a particular room upstairs and it was, in fact, in the next-door room. And my ear perked up and I went in and listened to it and just had to find out about who this artist was. I think particularly when you’re growing up, songs are like memory stamps. And I think people go through life and they have these intense experiences that are really beautiful or really horrible that just get locked into a certain song.”

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