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Peter Gabriel: Insights Into His Genius on New 'So' DVD

Peter Gabriel’s classic album So was featured in a compelling behind-the-scenes documentary in October and has just been released on DVD by Eagle Rock Entertainment. I have to say, it’s one of the best behind-the-scenes compilations I’ve ever seen.

Gabriel’s smash album contained many of his most beloved songs including “Sledgehammer” and “In Your Eyes.”

Released in 1986, it was his fifth studio album and seventh album overall. So became the best-selling album of Gabriel’s career and went five-times platinum in the U.S., selling more than 5 million copies. It was also his first experiment with pop music, albeit “on his own terms,” he once said.

As readers of this column know, I’m somewhat of a rabid Gabriel fan. I’ve always admired him and his work, even dating back to his classic years with his original band, Genesis. Their Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (circa 1973) still ranks among the best-ever productions.

Before this release, Gabriel was somewhat of an acquired taste. But his So album, with such hits “Mercy Street,” “Red Rain,” “In Your Eyes,” (with Kate Bush), and, of course, “Sledgehammer” catapulted him to superstardom.

He graduated to playing stadiums and benefits and really came into his own. Geffen Records’ Gary Gersh says in a DVD interview that “Sledgehammer,” and its truly, eye opening video, directed by Stephen R. Johnson, but Gabriel on the map. The album was originally released on Geffen.

Gabriel says that as the production evolved, he made sure to be true to R&B roots exemplified by Otis Redding. Turns out, he started as a drummer; something even this fan did not know.

He always starts a new song/production with that. Interesting, that Genesis-mate Phil Collins, who graduated to the band’s front man when Gabriel left) is also a drummer.

Terrific interviews from the album’s co-producer Daniel Lanois, drummer Manu Katche, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Jerry Marotta are just simply terrific. Also included is Rolling Stone editor David Fricke, who this writer worked for back in the mid-80s at Good Times magazine).

Suspiciously, there are no interviews with Gabriel’s go-to-guitar-man David Rhodes.

I was terrifically impressed by director George Scott’s work here; the flow of the interviews and the use of archival footage is simply brilliant. If you want to know how one of the best albums of that year was meticulously put together, here’s your chance.

One to Watch: Marcus Goldhaber

Marcus Goldhaber

Marcus Goldhaber

Whenever we can, we like to offer our pick on who’s up-and-coming and worth watching. In this case, singer Marcus Goldhaber gets the nod. His first two albums have garnered significant praise.

People said the New York native’s “youthfully carefree sweet tenor… will have you giddy one moment and melancholy the next … and, loving every note.” Jazz Weekly said that “Goldhaber is as crafty as a late-inning Greg Maddox.

His latest album Almost Love is stunningly good; and, it just might be the perfect antidote for you. Check out his web site at: MarcusGoldhaber.

Names in the News

Andrew Saffir, David Salidor, Mike McCann, Tyrone Biljan, Jacqueline Dylan, cfs, Peggy Siegal, Steve Walter, Peter Abraham, Jane Blunkell, Bruce Grakal, Chris Gilman, Sharon White, Vito Bruno, Glenn Friscia, Randy Alexander, Mark Strickland, Kent Kotal

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