In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel song)

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"In Your Eyes"
In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel single - cover art).jpg
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album So
Released 2 September 1986
Format 7" single, 12" single, 1986 promo CD single
Recorded 1985
Genre Worldbeat, art pop
Length 5:29 (7" LP version)
6:15 (12" single mix)
7:14 (12" special mix)
4:58 (7" promo special mix)
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Peter Gabriel
Producer(s) Peter Gabriel, Bill Laswell and Daniel Lanois
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"
"In Your Eyes"
"Big Time"

"In Your Eyes" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel from his 1986 album So, with Youssou N'Dour singing some choruses translated into his native Wolof. The track was featured in the 1989 teen drama film Say Anything... starring Ione Skye and John Cusack.[1]

The single was released in North America as the third single from "So" in the U.S., the song achieved strong radio airplay and a constant MTV rotation. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks on September, 13 of the same year,[2] it also peaked No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1986.[3] It was not released as a single in the UK. However, Gabriel did release two extended versions of the song as a 12" vinyl single in the US. The first (the Single Mix) ran 6:15. The second (the Special Mix) ran 7:14. In Australia, "In Your Eyes" peaked at No. 97 in November 1986.[4]

The song was the finale of the Secret World Tour and is the final track on the 1994 Secret World Live album, where it is over 11 minutes long and includes the extra lyrics from the Special Mix, in addition to solos by the other singers and players. It was included on the U.S. version of his 2003 compilation Hit, but not on the European or Japanese versions.

In 2005, the song brought Gabriel his first Gold single, certified in the U.S. by the RIAA.[5]

Licensed uses[edit]

In 1988 (at the end of the 1987 NFL season), NBC Sports used "In Your Eyes" in for the prologue (narrated by Dick Enberg) of the AFC Championship Game between the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns. Similarly, Fox Sports used "In Your Eyes" for the prologue (narrated in this case by Pat Summerall) for the 1998 NFC Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings.

The theatrical trailer for the 1993 film Benny & Joon features In Your Eyes.[6]

In the 2005 Cold Case episode entitled "Family", the song appears towards the end as a 1988 murder case is resolved.

The song is featured in the 2008 film The Rocker when A.D.D. plays their first gig at a high school prom.

Sampled portions of the song can be heard in the 2010 Girl Talk album All Day.

The song was also featured at the end of the series premiere to Felicity in 1998 on The WB.

Say Anything...[edit]

The song was used twice in the 1989 U.S. Cameron Crowe film Say Anything..., as well as in its trailer. An iconic scene from the film occurs when broken-hearted Lloyd Dobler serenades his ex-girlfriend, Diane Court, outside her bedroom window by holding a boombox up above his head and playing the song for her. Repopularized by its usage in the film, the song reentered the US charts but narrowly failed to crack the top 40 in its second run, reaching as high as No. 41.[3]

Crowe says that Rosanna Arquette, who is believed to be the inspiration for the song, encouraged Peter Gabriel to consider allowing the film to use the song.[7] Gabriel asked to see Crowe's film and Crowe asked the production company to send Gabriel a rough cut. Gabriel approved the use of his song, but told Crowe that he was uneasy about the overdose of the main character at the end; the studio had erroneously sent Gabriel the film Wired instead.[8]

The song's use in that iconic scene has been parodied in popular satirical shows. In the American Dad! episode "It's Good to Be Queen", Stan Smith, in an attempt to get Francine to forgive him, forces Gabriel Byrne—whom he mistakenly believes to be Peter Gabriel—to sing "In Your Eyes" while holding the actor above his head. In the South Park episode "Raisins", when Wendy breaks up with Stan, Bebe tells him to hold up a boombox playing Peter Gabriel outside Wendy's window, to try to win her back. Instead of playing "In Your Eyes," he plays Gabriel's decidedly unromantic "Shock the Monkey".

The song was also briefly used during an August 2006 episode of The Daily Show in a Toss segment to The Colbert Report, in which Stephen Colbert holds up a boombox in an attempt to stop Jon Stewart skipping to the next segment.[9]

Joseph Gordon-Levitt did a parody during an appearance on Saturday Night Live when he hosted on 21 November 2009.[citation needed]

On Season 4 Episode 15 of Glee, Will Schuester serenaded Emma with this song, holding a boombox posed on his arms.[citation needed]

In a September 2012 interview with Rolling Stone, discussing the 25th anniversary of So, Gabriel commented on the cultural impact of the scene, "It definitely gave [the song] a second life, because now it's so often parodied in comedy shows and it is one of the modern day Romeo and Juliet balcony clichés. I've talked to John Cusack about that. We're sort of trapped together in a minuscule moment of contemporary culture."[10] In October 2012, as Gabriel played the first few bars of the song during a performance at the Hollywood Bowl, Cusack walked onto the stage, handed him a boombox and took a bow, before quickly walking off again. Cameron Crowe was also present at the concert and later tweeted "Peter Gabriel and John Cusack on stage together at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. Won't forget that... ever."[11]


Cover versions[edit]

Notable performances[edit]

On the So tour, it was performed with an extended vocal duet with Youssou N'Dour, mainly, during his North-American concerts.[14][15]

In 1993, Gabriel performed the song on Saturday Night Live, during its 18th season.[16]

On April 10, 2014, Gabriel performed the song with an extended vocal duet with N'Dour as Gabriel was being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The event, which took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, was filmed and was later televised in late May 2014 on the HBO cable channel.


  1. ^ "John Cusack relives 'Say Anything' boombox moment with Peter Gabriel". NBC. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Allmusic: Peter Gabriel (Awards)". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Dean, Maury (2003). Rock N' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 222. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. 
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 120. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  5. ^ Peter Gabriel – "In Your Eyes". RIAA. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  6. ^ "Peter Gabriel - Music that has been used in trailers". SoundtrackNet. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Adams, Jason (November 3, 2009). "'Say Anything' turns 20: Cameron Crowe's crazy story behind 'In Your Eyes' and Lloyd Dobler's boom box". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 5, 2016. 
  8. ^ entry for "Say Anything" | Trivia Retrieved 6 September 2000.
  9. ^ The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: In Your Eyes The Daily Show. Retrieved 24 November 2011
  10. ^ Q&A: Peter Gabriel Reflects On His Landmark 1986 Album So Retrieved 4 September 2012
  11. ^ Peter Gabriel's Performance of In Your Eyes Interrupted By John Cusack Holding A Boombox Retrieved 8 October 2012
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Soundtrack of my life: Youssou N'Dour The Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2011
  15. ^ "Peter Gabriel On Tour (5): This Way Up Tour 1986-87: Big Time (Success)". Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  16. ^ SNL Archives | Episode. Retrieved 27 August 2007.

External links[edit]