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Peter Gabriel (1980 album)

Peter Gabriel
Studio album by Peter Gabriel
Released 23 May 1980 (1980-05-23)
Recorded 1979–1980 at Bath and Townhouse in London
Genre Art rock, experimental rock, dark wave, new wave[1]
Length 45:32
Label Charisma (United Kingdom), Mercury (Original US LP pressing), Geffen (United States, Canada)
Producer Steve Lillywhite
Peter Gabriel chronology
Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Singles from Peter Gabriel
  1. "Games Without Frontiers"
    Released: February 9, 1980
  2. "No Self Control"
    Released: May 10, 1980
  3. "Biko"
    Released: July 1980
  4. "I Don't Remember"
    Released: September 1980
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic [2]
Robert Christgau B−[3]
PopMatters (very favourable)[4]
Rolling Stone [5]
Smash Hits 7½/10[6]

Peter Gabriel is the third album by English rock musician Peter Gabriel, released in May 1980. 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, innovative musicians.[7] Gabriel also explored more overtly political material with two of his most famous singles, the anti-war song "Games Without Frontiers" (which became a number four 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.

This album is often referred to as Melt owing to its cover photograph by Hipgnosis.[8]


  • Details 1
  • Track listing 2
  • Personnel 3
  • Artwork 4
  • Critical praise 5
  • Charts 6
    • Album 6.1
    • Single 6.2
  • Certifications 7
  • A German Album 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Gabriel's ex-Genesis band mate Phil Collins, who succeeded Gabriel as Genesis' lead vocalist, plays drums on several of the album's tracks. In particular, Collins played drums on "Intruder", which has been cited as the first use of Collins' "gated drum" sound. This effect, as created by Steve Lillywhite, Collins and Hugh Padgham,[9] was featured on Collins' 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 on the album's sessions. The sound was significant enough and influential enough that it has been claimed by Gabriel, Padgham, Collins, and Lillywhite. The drum sound on this album has been noted by Public Image Ltd as influencing the sound on their album Flowers of Romance,[10] whose engineer, Nick Launay, was in turn employed by Collins to assist him with his first solo album, Face Value.[10] Paul Weller, who was recording with his band The Jam in a nearby studio, was asked to contribute 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, after being rejected by Atlantic Records, who handled U.S. distribution for Gabriel's first two solo albums and his last two albums with Genesis. Upon hearing mixes of the album's session tapes in early 1980, Atlantic A&R executive John Kalodner deemed the album not commercial enough for release, and recommended that Atlantic drop Gabriel from their artist roster. 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 their first artist signings.[11] Geffen (at the time distributed by Atlantic sister label Warner Bros. Records) re-issued the album in 1983 after Mercury's distribution rights to the album lapsed, and had marketed it in the United States until 2010, when Gabriel's back catalogue was reissued independently by Real World Records. (Coincidentally, Mercury is now sister label to Geffen after Mercury's parent PolyGram merged with Geffen's parent Universal Music Group in 1999.)

"Biko" appears prominently during the end scene of the episode "Evan" from the first season of the television show Miami Vice (with seven songs used, Gabriel had the most songs featured by a solo artist in the Miami Vice series, and he is the only artist to have had a song used in an episode of each of Vice's five seasons).

"I Don't Remember" existed as early as 1978, being performed live on the tour for his second album.[12] 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 enough. This earlier version wound up as the B-side of the advance "Games Without Frontiers" single instead in those territories. To date, it has not officially been released on CD. The album version of this song appeared as the A-side of a 12" single in North America.

Track listing

All songs written by Peter Gabriel.

Side one

  1. "Intruder" – 4:54
  2. "No Self Control" – 3:55
  3. "Start" – 1:21
  4. "I Don't Remember" – 4:41
  5. "Family Snapshot" – 4:28
  6. "And Through the Wire" – 5:00

Side two

  1. "Games Without Frontiers" – 4:06
  2. "Not One of Us" – 5:22
  3. "Lead a Normal Life" – 4:14
  4. "Biko" – 7:32



The photo was taken with a [13]

Critical praise

In 1989, the album was ranked No. 45 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Albums of the 80's".

In 2000, Q magazine placed the album at No. 53 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

In 2006, Q placed the album at No. 29 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s", the only Gabriel album to make the top 40.[14]



Year Chart Position
1980 Billboard Pop Albums 22
1980 UK Album Chart 1[15]


Date Single Chart Position
1980 Games Without Frontiers Billboard Pop Singles 48
Feb 1980 Games Without Frontiers UK Singles Chart 4
May 1980 No Self Control UK Singles Chart 33
Aug 1980 Biko UK Singles Chart 38


Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 2 June 1980

A German Album

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) (Security in North America).[16] 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 H. Konigstein[17]

All songs written by Peter Gabriel. "Texte" (that is, lyrics) by Peter Gabriel and Horst Königstein.

Side one[18]
  1. "Eindringling" – 5:00
  2. "Keine Selbstkontrolle" – 4:00
  3. "Frag mich nicht immer" – 6:04
    • Combines the instrumental "Start" with the German version of "I Don't Remember".
  4. "Schnappschuß (ein Familienfoto)" – 4:26
  5. "Und durch den Draht" – 4:28
Side two[18]
  1. "Spiel ohne Grenzen" – 4:07
  2. "Du bist nicht wie wir" – 5:32
  3. "Ein normales Leben" – 4:21
  4. "Biko" – 8:55


  1. ^ Classic Rock, issue 209, page 58
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen T. (2011 [last update]). "Peter Gabriel [3] – Peter Gabriel | AllMusic". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Christgau, R. (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: peter gabriel". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ James, Brian (29 August 2003). "Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel [3] (SACD) < PopMatters". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Marsh, Dave (26 July 2001). "Peter Gabriel (3)".  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Peter Gabriel Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Robyn Flans (1 May 2005). """Classic Tracks: Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight. Mix. 
  10. ^ a b M, Scott (February 2003). "Nick Launay interview". F&F Publishing. Retrieved 24 February 2007. 
  11. ^ Wade, Dorothy and Justine Picardie (1990). Music Man: Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records, and the Triumph of Rock 'n' Roll, Norton, ISBN 0-393-02635-3, pp. 247–249.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Classic Rock 2010 calendar
  14. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  15. ^ "Number 1 Albums – 1980s".  
  16. ^ Phil Harland (25 August 2007). "» Peter Gabriel sings in German – 3. Melt (ein deutsches album) (1980) » Phil's Vinyl Addiction Blog (by Phil Harland)". Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "» Peter Gabriel 45rpm Cat". 
  18. ^ a b Ein deutsches Album at MusicBrainz

External links

Preceded by
McCartney II by Paul McCartney
UK Albums Chart number one album
14 June 1980 – 27 June 1980
Succeeded by
Flesh and Blood by Roxy Music
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