Peter Gabriel is the fourth album released by the British musician Peter Gabriel. As with his previous three albums, it had no title other than Gabriel's name. In the United States and Canada, his new label Geffen Records issued the album, over Gabriel's objections, with a Security sticker on top of the shrink-wrap to differentiate it from previous releases. It continues to be erroneously referred to by that title. A German-language version of the album, entitled the Deutsches Album, was released later in 1982.
This album is an early full digital recording. Its instrumentation is mostly electronic with extensive sampling (through use of the then-new Fairlight CMI) and percussion. It was recorded at Gabriel's then-home, Ashcombe House in Somerset, England in 1981. It was remastered with most of Gabriel's catalogue in 2002.
The songs on the album cover a wide variety of subject matter. "The Rhythm of the Heat" is based on Carl Jung’s experience while observing a group of African drummers. "San Jacinto" reflects on the fear and pain experienced by a Native American man who sees his culture overwhelmed by modern white society, its lyrics based on a story told to Gabriel by an Apache member. "Shock the Monkey", a meditation on jealousy, uses imagery of a primate to describe personal anxieties. "Lay Your Hands on Me" deals with a theme of healing, through trust, which is further explored on later albums. "The Family and the Fishing Net" is a song comparing a modern day wedding to a voodoo sacrifice. "Wallflower" is about the treatment of political prisoners in Latin America during the 1980s.
The recording of the album was profiled in detail in an episode of The South Bank Show, which was broadcast in 1982.
"The Rhythm of the Heat" also appears prominently during the opening 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 four of the show's five seasons).
Larry Fast, synthesizer performer on the album, mentioned during a presentation on Moog synthesizers that the working title for "The Rhythm of the Heat" was "Jung in Africa", the working title for "Shock the Monkey" was "Black Bush", and the working title for "Lay Your Hands on Me" was "93" – this was the number of the LinnDrum pattern used on the track.