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Peter Gabriel Biography

Last updated: 09/08/2013 07:40:07 AM

BORN: February 13, 1950, London, England

Peter Gabriel has been writing songs for some 30 years. Before he hit the 'big time', he started writing songs while at about 11 or 12 years old. "The first song I wrote was called 'Sammy The Slug.' Everyone else was writing about girls, and I was writing about slugs, which shows what I was interested in." (PG quote).

While attending Charterhouse school in Surrey, England, he met up with Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Anthony Phillips and together started the band Genesis. Their first single "The Silent Sun" was 'on the air' in 1968. Anthony became ill and had to leave Genesis so the other band members went 'looking for someone' to replace him and the drummer, and in the fall of 1970 Steve Hackett and Phil Collins joined up. From 1967-1975 Peter Gabriel was part of this Genesis progressive song writing collaboration with songs ranging from classical and mythological themes to the humorous and absurd.

Feeling a need for a bit more of 'home sweet home', Peter Gabriel left Genesis and puttered around gardening and writing songs. In 1977 he released his first solo album which was a diverse collection of music ranging from classic pop to barbershop quartet to blues to grandiose orchestrations. From then on, Peter Gabriel has been a world explorer (and creator) of rhythms and sounds, an innovative musician often mixing today's newest technologies with the world's oldest instruments, and a catalyst for bringing more "World Music" musicians to a world wide audience.

Just as his music is layered with rhythms, wonderful instrumentations, and emotional vocals, his lyrics are layered with meaning and images which touch the listener. One of the most frequently asked questions about Peter Gabriel's music is "What is the meaning of the lyrics...where did he get the idea for this song?" We thought it would be fun to put together a list of quotes from Peter Gabriel with his 'perspective' on what is behind his lyrics. There are also other sources referenced when it is significant to a song. Have a look.