Peter Gabriel (1977 album)

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Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel (self-titled album, 1977 - cover art).jpg
Studio album by Peter Gabriel
Released 25 February 1977 (1977-02-25)
Recorded July 1976 – January 1977, The Soundstage, Toronto, Canada, Morgan Studios, London, Olympic Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, art rock
Length 41:42
Label Atco (US & Canada)
Producer Bob Ezrin
Peter Gabriel chronology
Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Singles from Peter Gabriel
  1. "Solsbury Hill"
    Released: 1977
  2. "Modern Love"
    Released: 1977
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Rolling Stone (not rated)[3]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[4]

Peter Gabriel is the first studio album by English rock musician Peter Gabriel and the first of four with the same eponymous title. Released on 25 February 1977, it was produced by Bob Ezrin. Gabriel and Ezrin assembled a team of musicians, including King Crimson main-man Robert Fripp, to record the album. Upon the album's release, Gabriel began touring with a seven-piece band under his own name.

This album is often called either Peter Gabriel 1 or Car, referring to the album cover by London artist Peter Christopherson when he was associated with the London artists group Hipgnosis. The car was a Lancia Flavia owned by Hipgnosis founder Storm Thorgerson.[5]

The album went to No. 7 in UK and No. 38 in the USA.

Gabriel's first solo success came with the album's lead single "Solsbury Hill", an autobiographical piece expressing his thoughts on leaving Genesis. Although mainly happy with the music, Gabriel felt that the album and especially the track "Here Comes the Flood" was over-produced. Piano-only or piano with synth versions may be heard on Robert Fripp's Exposure, his appearance on Kate Bush's 1979 TV special and a third version on his greatest hits compilation Shaking the Tree (1990). He often performs the song live accompanied by only himself on keyboard, either in German or English, depending on the audience.[6]

Direct Disk Labs released a half speed mastered version from the original master tapes. It has a longer version of "Slowburn" (5:16 instead of 4:36) with the song's introduction intact. All other versions of this album have the introduction (with a full band) edited out.


During the The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, Gabriel announced to his Genesis bandmates that he had decided to leave the band,[7] citing estrangement from the other members and the strains on his marriage. Nonetheless, he saw his commitment through to the conclusion of the tour. The breaking point came with the difficult pregnancy of Gabriel's wife, Jill and the subsequent birth of their first child, Anna. When he opted to stay with his sick daughter and wife, rather than record and tour, the resentment from the rest of the band led Gabriel to conclude that he had to leave the group.

In a letter to fans, delivered through the music press at the end of the tour, entitled Out, Angels Out, Gabriel explained that the "...vehicle we had built as a co-op to serve our song writing became our master and had cooped us up inside the success we had wanted. It affected the attitudes and the spirit of the whole band. The music had not dried up and I still respect the other musicians, but our roles had set in hard."[8]

Gabriel then closed the letter: "There is no animosity between myself and the band or management. The decision had been made some time ago and we have talked about our new direction. The reason why my leaving was not announced earlier was because I had been asked to delay until they had found a replacement to plug up the hole. It is not impossible that some of them might work with me on other projects."[8]

Gabriel's Genesis bandmate Phil Collins, who would become Gabriel's replacement, later remarked that the other members "...were not stunned by Peter's departure because we had known about it for quite a while." The band decided to carry on without Gabriel.[9]

Recording, release and promotion[edit]

Peter Gabriel was recorded at The Soundstage in Toronto with producer Bob Ezrin between July 1976 – January 1977; with additional recording sessions taking place at Morgan Studios, London, UK and Olympic Studios, London, England. Gabriel and Ezrin assembled a set of musicians for the recording sessions including guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson, bass player Tony Levin later of King Crimson, drummer Allan Schwartzberg, percussionist Jimmy Maelen, guitarist Steve Hunter, keyboardist Jozef Chirowski and Larry Fast on synthesizers and programming.

The album was released 25 February 1977 on Atco (US & Canada) and Charisma, reaching No. 7 in UK Charts and No. 38 in the USA.

The first single released to promote the album was "Solsbury Hill" which became a Top 20 hit in the UK and reached #68 on the Billboard Hot 100.[10] The second single released, "Modern Love", was less successful.

After Peter Gabriel's release, Gabriel assembled a touring band, consisting of Robert Fripp (occasionally under the pseudonym "Dusty Rhodes", and sometimes performing from offstage) and Steve Hunter on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, Larry Fast on synthesisers, Allan Schwartzberg on drums, Phil Aaberg on keyboards and Jimmy Maelen on percussion and embarked on his first solo tour. The first leg, entitled "Expect the Unexpected", started on 5 March 1977 in the United States and continued until April. The UK portion of the tour concluded on 30 April. A second leg assembled a different tour band, which included Sid McGinnis on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, Jerry Marotta on drums and Bayette on keyboards. The "Sightings in the Test Area During Autumn" leg began on 30 August and saw the band play throughout England and Europe before concluding on 1 November 1977.

The album received the prize of the French Académie Charles Cros.[11]

Cover art[edit]

The photo on the cover is of Peter Gabriel sitting in the front passenger seat of a Lancia Flavia, owned by Storm Thorgerson, co-founder of Hipgnosis and the cover's designer. For the shoot, which took place in Wandsworth, the car was sprayed with a water hose. The black-and-white image was then hand-coloured and reflections modified by artist Richard Manning [12] using a scalpel.[13]

An alternate proposal was to feature a photograph of Peter Gabriel wearing contact lenses intended to give his eyes the appearance of metallic ball bearings, but it was never produced.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Nick Kent, writing in the NME in 1978, described the album as "a fine record with at least one 24-carat irresistible classic in "Solsbury Hill" and a strong supporting cast of material that, all in all, in a year besmeared with great albums was, in retrospect, sorely underrated."[14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Peter Gabriel, except where indicated.

Side One
No. Title Length
1. "Moribund the Burgermeister"   4:20
2. "Solsbury Hill"   4:21
3. "Modern Love"   3:38
4. "Excuse Me" (Gabriel, Martin Hall) 3:20
5. "Humdrum"   3:25
Side Two
No. Title Length
6. "Slowburn"   4:36
7. "Waiting for the Big One"   7:15
8. "Down the Dolce Vita"   5:05
9. "Here Comes the Flood"   5:38
1977 cassette release track order


Additional musicians
  • Steve Hunter – acoustic guitars on "Solsbury Hill"; lead guitar on "Slowburn" and "Waiting for the Big One"; electric, acoustic & rhythm guitars; pedal steel
  • Dick Wagner – backing vocals and guitar solo on "Here Comes the Flood"
  • Jimmy Maelen – percussion, synthibam, bones
  • London Symphony Orchestra on "Down the Dolce Vita" and "Here Comes the Flood"
  • Michael Gibbs – arrangement of orchestra



Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 13 June 1979


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen T. (2011 [last update]). "Peter Gabriel [1] – Peter Gabriel | AllMusic". Retrieved 25 July 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Christgau, R. (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: peter gabriel". Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Demorest, Stephen (26 July 2001). "Peter Gabriel: Peter Gabriel [1] : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 24 January 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Peter Gabriel: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mankowitz, Gered. "Help!". Mojo Magazine, April 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Gabriel, Peter. "Out, Angels Out – an investigation", August 1975. Retrieved on 23 March 2007.
  9. ^ Welch, Chris. "Peter Gabriel Quits Genesis". Melody Maker, 23 August 1975.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Manning, Richard. "Hipgnosis Album Cover Art". Richard Manning. Richard Manning. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "Peter Gabriel 1 - Car". Real World Galleries. Real World Galleries. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  14. ^ Nick Kent: "Gabriel: The Image Gets a Tweak". NME. 10 June 1978

External links[edit]