In light of Peter Gabriel’s recent announcement that he will be reissuing his first 4 albums in half speed high fidelity vinyl, I wanted to discuss a record that displays the often times unnoticed mad genius that is Peter Gabriel. A record that is frequently regarded as highly underrated by cult PG fans. This album is Security, otherwise simply known as PG4. A monumental record that was musically at the forefront of its time. I take you back to 1982 before the legendary “SO” album burst up the charts with tracks like “In Your Eyes” and “Sledgehammer.” Although brilliant, there was a time when Peter didn’t succumb to the invariability of the mainstream. He has always managed to keep his own “sound” regardless of the project but Security was a much more experimental and dark album compared to his other works. As a result, there was only one hit that emerged from this record. “Shock the Monkey” was Peter Gabriel’s first Top 40 in the U.S. At this time Peter was known to use face makeup to make him resemble a monkey at his shows (see below.) Jumping about the stage, he really did mirror a primate that had just escaped the confinements of a zoo. He had an immense intensity and was able to draw you in and let you linger. The music of Security was highly innovative and electronically advanced for its time. This was one of the first fully digital recordings. An album constructed of many samples and sounds that Peter picked up with his (then new) sampling synthesizer called the Fairlight CMI. Peter has a way of building up his songs in layers, layers of sound and rhythm. Heavily influenced by the sounds of South Africa and South America you will encounter a uniqueness to his music that is almost other worldly. Even the song concepts aren’t your conventional topics of love and sex. He takes on the mind of different people (good or bad) and writes from their perspective. With an incredible backing band including Jerry Marotta (drums), Tony Levin (bass), David Rhodes (guitar) and Larry Fast (synth) this record is technically and musically threatening.
Here is some footage of Peter from 1993 during his Secret World Tour. He is performing San Jacinto, track 2 off of Security. This song is about a Native American boy watching as his culture is affected by modern society. This is by far one of my favorite tracks. Peter evokes so much emotion with lines like.. “I hold the line, the line of strength that pulls me through the fear.”
This performance is from Peter’s famed concert in Athens which was filmed by Scorsese in 1987. The song is called Lay Your Hands On Me, an intense piece of music that draws you in with its staggering drums and sinister biting lyrics.
And to end this blog here is a picture I drew of Peter’s eyes. Just a glimpse of the soul!