After Peter Gabriel was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this year, predictably he performed his mega-hit “In Your Eyes”. But, to the surprise of the crowd, Peter teamed up with his presenter, Chris Martin of Coldplay, for one of Peter Gabriel’s “lost gems”, a brilliant non-single that truly captures the essence of Gabriel’s genius. That song ranks #1 on my Top 5 list of Peter Gabriel “non-hits”. The list is a little tricky since some songs like “Biko” was a U.K. Top 40 hit but never released in the States.
1. “WASHING OF THE WATER” from Us
Chris Martin told the HOF crowd that “Washing Of The Water” was one of his three all-time favorite Peter Gabriel songs. The lyrics painfully speak of reaching the depths of despair, emotional loss, then gloriously the song promises hope, redemption, and ultimate release. It’s one of the most incredible spiritual experiences ever recorded. Some records aren’t meant for repeated radio play, they’re cherished moments that deserve your full attention and respect.
2. “MERCY STREET” from So
In a rare twist, Peter Gabriel produced a music video for “Mercy Street” from his multi-platinum CD, “So”, but the song was never released as a single. The lyrics were inspired by the poems and life of Anne Sexton. Despite the theme of a troubled past and suicide, the soft and comforting delivery by Peter, the Brazilian beat, and the uplifting chorus “dreaming of mercy in your daddy’s arms again” turn “Mercy Street” into a beautiful and entrancing record. The song was featured on the TV show, Miami Vice, and has become one of the highlights on “So”.
3. “IN THE SUN” from the Princess Diana Tribute CD
“May God’s Love Be With You…Always”. “In The Sun” was not released on any of Peter Gabriel’s solo CD’s. The song was a single for Ohio alternative folk artist, Joseph Arthur. They were on the same label and Peter was allowed to record “In The Sun” for inclusion on Princess Diana’s Tribute CD. Years later, Michael Stipe of R.E.M. and Chris Martin recorded a version as did the unlikely pairing of Justin Timberlake and will.i.am. “In The Sun” just digs into your soul with a powerful message of love and acceptance of God’s Love into your life.
4. “HERE COMES THE FLOOD” from Peter Gabriel (1)
It’s hard to find a Peter Gabriel song more intense, more haunting, and more gripping than “Here Comes The Flood”, the last track from his first solo album. The joyful, effervescent energy of “Solsbury Hill” and the emotional “Here Comes The Flood” on that album alone truly gave evidence of Peter Gabriel’s potential. It’s funny now, but Peter was actually disappointed with the over-production of this song and has re-recorded it many times with sparser arrangements. Accompanied by only a keyboard, Peter will sing the song in German or English (based on his audience).
5. “WHOLE THING” from Big Blue Ball
Despite being the most famous song from Peter’s collaboration CD, “Big Blue Ball”, this song was never released as a single. Peter teamed up with international artists: Tim Finn, Karl Wallinger (of World Party), Alex White, Alex Faku, and Frances Bebey, for a truly eclectic mix of World musicians for this powerful track. Imagine taking the best of each artist and consolidating all of their work into one cosmic classic. There is nothing like this on the radio, but that doesn’t dismiss the exciting brilliance of the record.