Mercy Street

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"Mercy Street"
Song by Peter Gabriel
from the album So
Released October 1986
Length 6:22
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Producer(s) Daniel Lanois and Peter Gabriel
So track listing
Side one
  1. "Red Rain"
  2. "Sledgehammer"
  3. "Don't Give Up"
  4. "That Voice Again"
Side two
  1. "In Your Eyes"
  2. "Mercy Street"
  3. "Big Time"
  4. "We Do What We're Told"
  5. "This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)"

"Mercy Street" is a song written by English musician Peter Gabriel from his 1986 album So.


The song was inspired by the personal and confessional works of the American poet Anne Sexton, who wrote a play titled Mercy Street and a poem titled "45 Mercy Street". Gabriel discovered Sexton's writings in a bookstore.[1]

A video was created for "Mercy Street",[2] even though the song was not released as a single.


NME listed the song as one of the "10 Most Depressing Songs Ever", describing it as a "beautifully produced number" featuring Gabriel's "usual sensitivity". They concluded "it isn’t until you’re a few listens in that you understand how devastating the whole thing is."[3]


Usage in film and television[edit]

"Mercy Street" featured in the 1986 episode Killshot of the third season of Miami Vice,[citation needed] in the opening sequence of 1991 Brazilian TV series O Sorriso do Lagarto (The Lizard's Smile), in the 2006 episode of Cold Case entitled "The River," in 2009 episode of The Grim Adventures entitled "Chocolate Ice Cream and the Watermelon Bubblegum" in 2000, and in the film Life or Something Like It (2002), starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns. Also featured in the film Waking the Dead (2000) starring Jennifer Connelly and Billy Crudup. The song was featured in the "Origami" illusion performed by David Copperfield in his 1987 special "Explosive Encounter".[4] The song was also used in the 2016 episode "And She Was" in the third season of the television series Halt and Catch Fire, the events of which take place in roughly the same time period as the song's 1986 release.[5]

Release details and cover versions[edit]

As well as making up one of the songs on Side Two of So, "Mercy Street" was released (remixed by William Orbit) on Gabriel's 1992 CD-single "Blood of Eden". It was also reinterpreted by Gabriel on his 2011 orchestral album New Blood.[6]

In 1999, New York artist Happy Rhodes performed the song with guitarist Bon Lozaga at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia, PA.[7]

Miriam Stockley released a version on her 1999 album Miriam.[8]

In 2010, Fever Ray released a version of the song as a single.[9][10] Elbow have also released a version of the song.[11]


  1. ^ White, Timothy (September 1986). "Gabriel". Spin. 2 (6): 63. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Elan, Priya (25 April 2012). "10 Most Depressing Songs Ever". NME. London. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Origami (magic trick)
  5. ^
  6. ^ Andy Gill (2011-10-07). "Album: Peter Gabriel, New Blood (Realworld) - Reviews - Music". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  7. ^ "Happy Rhodes - "Mercy Street" live (Peter Gabriel cover, w Bon Lozaga)". 
  8. ^ "Miriam Stockley - Miriam (CD, Album) at Discogs". 
  9. ^ Kitty Empire (2010-09-12). "Fever Ray; Zola Jesus | Live review | Music | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  10. ^ "Mercy Street". Fever Ray. Archived from the original on January 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-16. 
  11. ^ Rogers, Jude (2 June 2010). "Peter Gabriel: 'It doesn't have anything to do with witchcraft!'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 

External links[edit]