. . .
I find it extremely weird that I’m doing so many Peter Gabriel songs, because I really don’t consider myself that big of a Peter Gabriel fan. And I think that’s because — unlike Peters Case & Yorn — he never made an album that I loved start-to-finish, but rather, it was always individual songs of his that always slayed me. That said, the closest he came for me was his third album, 1980’s Peter Gabriel, the follow-up to 1978’s Peter Gabriel.
As he crashed into the 1980s, Peter Gabriel decided to augment his third album with younger musicians who mixed with the expected older guard. So while you still had Robert Fripp & Tony Levin show up, as well a guy named Phil Collins on the drums, he also had Kate Bush singing, and Dave Gregory from XTC — who were also recording Drums and Wires with producer Steve Lillywhite — play some guitar.
Oh, and weirdest of all, Paul Weller playing guitar on my favorite track from the album, “And Through The Wire,” another of those songs where Gabriel leads with the chorus.
And through the wire I hear your voice
And through the wire I touch the power
And through the wire I see your face
It’s through the wire
With Gabriel roughing up his vocals during the entire chorus — every time he elongates “wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiirrrrreee,” it’s like an electric shock — it’s always thrilling and unexpected, as is the crunchy almost-metal riff that Weller plays underneath. The story goes that The Jam were recording at the same studio — Setting Sons, for those of you keeping score at home — and Gabriel thought that Weller’s intensity was exactly what the song needed.
And, of course, he was right, despite the fact that even a hardcore Jam fan like me wouldn’t have known it was Weller without somebody telling me, the combination of Gabriel’s voice, Collins’ cowbell-driven straight ahead beat and the underlying riff gets me every time.
Also, apropos of absolutely nothing, there was a Doctor Who episode from David Tennant’s second season where the villain was called “The Wire,” and every time I watch that episode, this song runs through my head.
“And Through The Wire”
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