"Don't Give Up" is a song written by English musician Peter Gabriel and recorded as a duet with Kate Bush for Gabriel's fifth solo studio album So (1986). The single version was released as the second single from the album in the UK in 1986 and as the fifth single in the United States in 1987. It spent eleven weeks in the UK Top 75 chart in 1986, peaking at #9.
Gabriel drew inspiration from Dorothea Lange's images such as this, her most famous: "Migrant Mother".
The song was inspired by the Depression-era photographs of Dorothea Lange, showing poverty-stricken Americans in Dust Bowl conditions. Gabriel saw Lange's images in a 1973 book titled In This Proud Land. He felt that a song based on this was wholly appropriate to difficult economic conditions in England under Margaret Thatcher. He composed lyrics within a situation about a man whose unemployment causes stress in his domestic relationship. The verses, sung by Gabriel, describe the man's feelings of isolation, loneliness and despair; the choruses, sung by Bush, offer words of hope and encouragement.
Gabriel originally wrote the song from a reference point of American roots music and he approached country singer Dolly Parton to sing it with him. However, Parton turned it down, so his friend Kate Bush took her place.
Two videos were created for the song. The first, by Godley & Creme, consisted of a single take of the singers, as they sing, in an embrace, while the sun behind them enters total eclipse and re-emerges. (Of the shoot, Gabriel remarked, "There are worse ways of earning a living.") The second video, by Jim Blashfield, featured Gabriel and Bush's faces superimposed over film of a town and its people in disrepair.
There was another lady, Dolly Parton, who was supposed to do that part, but she ended up being unavailable. At the rehearsal for the Dylan tribute show in New York, Don [Was] suggested Sinead. I'd heard about the controversy with the Pope, but I'd never heard her sing. Don said, 'She's excellent. It turned out that she and Peter Gabriel were friends and she already knew the song. At the concert, she was booed for the controversy. I asked her, 'Are you sure you still feel like coming in to sing tomorrow?' She said, 'Yes, I'll be there.' She came in the next day and sang her off.
A music video was made to accompany the song, featuring both singers. It has a sepia tone. It was reported that funds raised by sales of the single were in excess of $300,000.
"Don't Give Up" was recorded by American recording artist Alicia Keys and Irish musician Bono. Retitled "Don't Give Up (Africa)", the song was produced by Keys and Steve Lillywhite. On 6 December 2005, the song was released as a single exclusively on iTunes and a ringtone version was released by Cingular Wireless. The proceeds of the release went to the charity Keep a Child Alive, for which Keys is a spokesperson. Keys commented that "I love this song. And I love Bono. I really respect what he has done for Africa and how he has used his fame to do good in the world. I hope I can do half as much in my life". Keys and Bono performed the song live at Keys' charity event the Black Ball, which raises money for the organization Keep A Child Alive. They performed the song also on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2006.
"We were playing them the backing tracks and I don’t know if I started singing, or he did, but something started happening and we tracked it right here on the spot, that’s it, we’re done. There was a crowd in here, everybody came in from the other room because they could tell there was something going on in here”.
Jann Klose and Renaissance vocalist and painter Annie Haslam released their version, produced by Rave Tesar in June 2017. The recording features Jann Klose on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Annie Haslam on lead vocals, John Arbo on upright bass, Rob Mitzner on cajon and Rave Tesar on keys. Proceeds from the sale of the recording benefit Desmond Tutu's TutuDesk foundation.
Shannon Noll and Natalie Bassingthwaighte version
A cover version was recorded by Australian artist Shannon Noll and former Rogue Traders frontwoman Natalie Bassingthwaighte. It was produced by Michael "fingaz" Mugisha who also produced hits for Jessica Mauboy, Big Brovaz and recorded for the compilation Home: Songs of Hope & Journey. It was released as a charity single for the depression organisation beyondblue. It was the most added song to Australian radio in its first week. It made its debut at number seven on the Australian Singles Chart, and, in its second week, climbed to number two with a Platinum certification. The song was also performed live on the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars. The music video features Noll and Bassingthwaighte in the studio recording the single.
^Blake, Mark (December 2011). "Cash for questions: Peter Gabriel". Q. p. 43.
^Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 50. ISBN0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid-1983 and 12 June 1988.