No Self Control (Peter Gabriel song)

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"No Self Control"
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album Peter Gabriel
B-side "Lead A Normal Life"
Released 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Experimental rock, hard rock, progressive rock
Length 3:55
Label Charisma Records
Writer(s) Peter Gabriel
Producer(s) Steve Lillywhite
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"I Don't Remember"
"No Self Control"

"No Self Control" is a song written and performed by British progressive rock musician Peter Gabriel. As with the other songs on the album, the lyrics are very dark, discussing what could be interpreted as either intense greed and lust or mental instability and decay of the psyche. Like "Intruder", the previous song, it features a xylophone solo.

The song was notable for its guest musicians, Robert Fripp providing guitar, Phil Collins providing drums and Kate Bush providing backing vocals. Initially, this was inspired by Steve Reich's album Music For 18 Musicians. A composer who studied at Juilliard, Reich experimented with electronic textures that Gabriel wanted to try in a rock format.[1]

Gabriel has fully committed his work to the vision of both mirroring a society facing moral bankruptcy in the current dank climate of emotional turmoil whilst using the music almost as a hammer to both challenge this sense of dread and wake up the listener.[2]

Prior to the song being recorded for Peter Gabriel's 1980 album, it was performed live by Gabriel under the working title "I don't know how to stop".

A music video of the song was made and broadcast in 1980.

Music video[edit]

The video features Peter Gabriel with his hands either in his pockets or on his knees, as he swivels left and right - all the while staring intently into the camera. The lights flicker on and off a lot. Near the end, Gabriel grabs his head and neck and swings his head back and forth, repeatedly singing "no self control". The xylophone solo plays. The video begins to get "trippy", showing rainbow diffraction like patterns on the screen, and Gabriel's head blurs making it appear in multiple places across the screen. The video ends and fades to black as the song concludes with its last words: "I don't know how to stop". The video is 3:56 long, and appeared on the BBC's "Top Of The Pops 1980".

Track listing[edit]

7" UK single (1980)[edit]

  1. "No Self Control" - (3:47)
  2. "Lead A Normal Life" - (4:10)


  1. ^
  2. ^ Kent, Nick (June 14, 1980). "Gabriel: music without frontiers". New Musical Express.