Solsbury Hill (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Solsbury Hill"
Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel UK vinyl release.jpg
UK vinyl single
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album Peter Gabriel
B-side "Moribund the Burgermeister"
Released 1977 (UK)
1977 (US)
Format Vinyl record (7")
Recorded 1977
Length 4:21 (album version)
3:24 (single edit version)
Label Atco Records / Charisma Records
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Producer(s) Bob Ezrin
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"Solsbury Hill"
"Modern Love"

"Solsbury Hill" is a song by English musician Peter Gabriel. He wrote the song about a spiritual experience atop Little Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England,[citation needed] after his departure from the progressive rock band Genesis, of which he had been the lead singer since its inception. The song was his debut single. The single was a Top 20 hit in the UK and reached number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977.[3] The song has often been used in film trailers for romantic comedies.[4]

Gabriel has said of the song's meaning, "It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go."[5] His former bandmate Tony Banks acknowledges that the song reflects Gabriel's decision to break ties with Genesis, but it can also be applied in a broader sense to situations of letting go in general.[citation needed]

The song is mostly written in 7
, an unusual time signature that has been described as "giving the song a constant sense of struggle".[6] The meter settles into 4
time only for the last two measures of each chorus.[7] It is performed in the key of B major with a tempo of 102 beats per minute, with Gabriel's vocals ranging from F3 to G4.[8]

Use in soundtracks[edit]

It has been used in a number of films and television shows, including the 2001 film Vanilla Sky[9] and the 2004 film In Good Company.[10] More recently, it has been used in the trailer of Finding Dory[11] and featured as the send-off song for the series finale of AMC's Halt and Catch Fire.[12] Its prevalence has been called "ubiquitous", particularly its inclusion in a satirical re-cut trailer of The Shining.[13]


Chart (1977) Peak
Belgium (Wallonia)[14] 17
Germany (Official German Charts)[14] 16
Netherlands[14] 13
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[15] 13
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 68

Track listing[edit]

7" UK single (1977)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (3:24)
  2. "Moribund the Burgermeister" – (4:17)

7" "Old Gold" single (1982)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill" - (3:26)
  2. "Games Without Frontiers" - (3:50)

UK maxi-single (1983, 1988)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (3:24)
  2. "Moribund the Burgermeister" – (4:17)
  3. "Solsbury Hill (Full Length Live Version)" – (5:45)

7" European single (1990 re-issue)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (4:24)
  2. "Shaking the Tree" – (5:06)

12" UK single (1990 re-issue)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (4:22)
  2. "Shaking the Tree" – (5:06)
  3. "Games Without Frontiers (Live)" - (6:06)

UK CD single (1990 re-issue)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (4:21)
  2. "Shaking the Tree" – (5:07)
  3. "Games Without Frontiers (Live)" - (6:05)
"Solsbury Hill (Live)"
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album Plays Live
B-side "Kiss of Life (Live)"
Released 1983
Format vinyl record (7")
Length 4:41
Label Geffen Records / Charisma Records
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"I Go Swimming (Live)"
"Solsbury Hill (Live)"
"Walk Through the Fire"
"Solsbury Hill (Re-release)"
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album Peter Gabriel (1977 album) and Shaking the Tree
B-side Shaking the Tree (New Vocal Remix) and "Games Without Frontiers"
Released 1990
Length 4:21
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"Shaking the Tree"
"Solsbury Hill (Re-release)"
"Digging in the Dirt"

Live Version[edit]

7" US single (1983)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill (Live)" - (3:58)
  2. "I Go Swimming (Live)" - (4:29)

7" Netherlands single (1983)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill (Live)" - (4:41)
  2. "Kiss of Life (Live)" - (5:01)

7" US single (1983)[edit]

  1. "Solsbury Hill (Live)" - (3:58)
  2. "Shock the Monkey" - (3:58)


Cover versions[edit]

Erasure version[edit]

"Solsbury Hill"
Single by Erasure
from the album Other People's Songs
Released 6 January 2003 (2003-01-06)
Format CD, DVD
Recorded 2002
Genre Synthpop
Length 3:57
Label Mute
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Erasure singles chronology
"Moon & the Sky"
"Solsbury Hill"
"Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)"

"Solsbury Hill" was recorded by British synthpop duo Erasure in 2003 for their cover versions album Other People's Songs and released as a single in the UK on 6 January 2003 and in the US on 14 January 2003. This Erasure single became a hit, reaching No. 10 on the UK single chart in January 2003,[17] No. 7 in Denmark,[18] No. 29 in Germany,[19] No. 39 in Sweden[20] and No. 41 in the Republic of Ireland.[21] The track was chosen for the album by Erasure member Vince Clarke. Clarke and singer Andy Bell turned the song into a mid-tempo electronic dance tune, displaying the signature Erasure sound. The only major change made to the structure of the song was the modification of the 7
time signature to a more basic 4
—except for the chorus, which slips back into 7
time for one line.

Track listing[edit]

CD Single No. 1 (CDMUTE275)[edit]
  1. "Solsbury Hill"
  2. "Tell It To Me"
  3. "Searching"
CD Single No. 2 (LCDMUTE275)[edit]
  1. "Solsbury Hill" (37B Mix)
  2. "Solsbury Hill" (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)
  3. "Ave Maria"
DVD Single (DVDMUTE275)[edit]
  1. "Solsbury Hill" (Radio Mix)
  2. "Video Killed the Radio Star"
  3. "Dr Jeckyll and Mistress Hyde" (Short Film)
U.S. CD Maxi Single (9200-2)[edit]
  1. "Solsbury Hill" (Radio Mix)
  2. "Solsbury Hill"
  3. "Tell It To Me"
  4. "Searching"
  5. "Video Killed the Radio Star" (37B Mix)
  6. "Solsbury Hill" (37B Mix)
  7. "Solsbury Hill" (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)
  8. "Ave Maria"
  9. "Dr. Jeckyll And Mistress Hyde" (Short Film)

Lou Reed version[edit]

In 2010, Lou Reed released a version of the song, as part of the project Scratch My Back where Peter Gabriel did cover versions of other artists, and letting them provide covers of his songs, in return. Lou Reed’s version has nothing at all to do with Gabriel’s merry original. Reed has transformed the original into a completely different song, just like Gabriel did with many of the songs on Scratch My Back.

Steve Hunter version[edit]

In April 2013 an instrumental version of Solsbury Hill was included in guitar player Steve Hunter's album The Manhattan Blues Project. Hunter had played on the original Peter Gabriel (1977 album) recording and he invited his friend and original Solsbury Hill bass player Tony Levin to play bass on the track. In the 2014 biography by Daryl Easley Without Frontiers Gabriel gave Hunter credit for coming up with the guitar parts which became a signature for the song.


  1. ^ "Stereogum".
  2. ^ Breithaupt, Don; Breithaupt, Jeff (2000), Night Moves: Pop Music in the Late '70s, St. Martin's Press, p. 67, ISBN 978-0-312-19821-3
  3. ^ "Peter Gabriel Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 3 February 2015
  4. ^ "Peter Gabriel: Story That Bruce Springsteen Was Inspiration for 'Solsbury Hill' Is 'Hogwash". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 3 February 2015
  5. ^ Daryl Easlea (2013)."Without Frontiers: The Life & Music of Peter Gabriel". Music Sales Group
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel in Solsbury Hill, Somerset, England".
  8. ^ Gabriel, Peter. "Peter Gabriel "Solsbury Hill" Sheet Music in B Major (transposable) - Download & Print". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Vanilla Sky (2001) Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  10. ^ "In Good Company (2004) Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
  11. ^ "Finding Dory (2017) Soundtrack". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
  12. ^ Adams, Erik. "The creators of Halt And Catch Fire walk us through their series' emotional conclusion". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2017-10-15.
  13. ^ Holmes, Linda (14 March 2011). "Recut 'Ferris Bueller' Trailer Accidentally Nails The Real 'Ferris Bueller'". National Public Radio. Retrieved 17 September 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Hung, Steffen. " - Peter Gabriel - Solsbury Hill". Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  15. ^ "solsbury-hill | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  16. ^ "Peter Gabriel Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-11-11.
  17. ^ "UK Charts". The Official Charts Company UK. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  18. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Danish Chart". Danish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  19. ^ "German Chart" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Swedish Chart". Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Irish Charts". Irish Charts. Retrieved 10 August 2014.