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Peter Gabriel — Solsbury Hill
Album: Peter Gabriel 1: Car
Avg rating:
8.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 4279









Released: 1977
Length: 4:18
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Climbing up on Solsbury Hill
I could see the city light
Wind was blowing, time stood still
Eagle flew out of the night
He was something to observe
Came in close, I heard a voice
Standing, stretching every nerve
I had to listen, had no choice
I did not believe the information
Just had to trust imagination
My heart going boom, boom, boom
"Son," he said, "grab your things
I've come to take you home"

To keep in silence, I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Though my life was in a rut
Till I thought of what I'd say
Which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom, boom, boom
"Hey," he said, "Grab your things
I've come to take you home"
Yeah, back home

When illusion spin her net
I'm never where I want to be
And liberty, she pirouette
When I think that I am free
Watched by empty silhouette
Who close their eyes but still can see
No one taught them etiquette
I will show another me
Today I don't need a replacement
I'll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom, boom, boom
"Hey," I said, "You can keep my things
They've come to take me home"
Comments (480)add comment
 smartn1 wrote:

A rare 9 from me.


I left it at 9 for years, but I just bumped it to 10 (a rating that I
gave to multiple other PG songs), because I'm a big fan of the melody,
harmony, and the somewhat unusual time signature, although I'm not a fan
of the silly squawking at the end there haha
A bit surprised we have not heard any of the new PG yet on RP? 
NEW Gabriel single from forthcoming album out and it's quite good! 

https://petergabriel.com/news/...
J'avais 16 ans ! Sans doute le meilleur titre de Peter Gabriel.
A rare 9 from me.
Never tire of this song
The first time I remember hearing this song was at a pretty low point in my life.  I was living in a shitty apartment in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.  I'd moved there after begging my parents for the money I wanted to go to a rather sketchy broadcasting school in Hollywood.  My dad and I had had several angry falling outs and he told me straight up, "I'm not giving you the money.  You're a bad investment.  You won't make it in radio."  Mom however, wrote the check for tuition only.  I'd have to earn the rest for room and board. I took the only job I could get as a fry cook. I had to steal meals and swipe food from the coolers after closing the restaurant just to eat.  School ended and I didn't have any prospects for the job I trained for.  My depression and the flop sweat of failure was deep when I heard "Solsbury Hill".  The line, "Son, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home" made me weep.  I know I'm not the only one.  But we've all got different reasons.

My name is Cueburned.  A word I learned from a disc jockey at my first paid job on the air.  

Radio. You can't live there forever. But thanks to Radio Paradise you can visit anytime you want.  
The musical equivalent of Robert Frosts poem "The road not taken". I had to make a life changing decision in 1977. Robert helped me,  Gabriel made me sing
Cliche as it sounds, I heard this song once in the immediate aftermath of setting myself free from a destructive relationship with a much older partner. I moved away and had just settled into a new town and this song came on the radio. I'd heard it a million times, but at that moment it made perfect sense and to this day still captures that lightness and exhilarated freedom of extricating myself from a bad situation and starting over with all the potential in the world, and no longer having to feel bad anymore. It was like hearing my thoughts perfectly expressed by someone else. Every time I hear this song I feel the same rush of freedom I felt that day.
The background squeaks are so Monty Python like.
Bill, Thank you for following one of your top Elton John songs with my absolute favorite PG song!
Imagine kicking off your solo career with a song of this brilliance... Can imagine him having it in his back pocket for a long time and not wanting to share it. 

.stone cold classic.
7/4 time signature, hard for musicians to play.
 DaidyBoy wrote:

Yep, pretty certain it's a Lancia, missing the door mirror and tax disc.

My hobby is wasting tons of time in the RP song comments

LANCIA 2000 Coupe - 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 ...


Definitely a Lancia Flavia from 1974:

"Cover art. The photo on the cover is of Peter Gabriel sitting in the front passenger seat of a 1974 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 water from a hose."
 RabbitEars wrote:

fr Rolling Stone, Steve Hunter: 

The interesting thing about “Solsbury Hill” is that it was the last song we did on the album, the last song we recorded. Peter was having some trouble with one of the lines in the lyric. Bob and Peter both didn’t like the line, and Peter was trying to come up with a new one. Peter would come in and they would talk about it. I almost got the feeling we weren’t going to do the song. I hadn’t even heard the song. I just heard the title.

All of a sudden, Bob said, “We’re going to do ‘Solsbury Hill.'” Now I’ve got to learn how to play it and I don’t know what to expect. I go into Bob’s office and he’s got a piano there. Peter sits down and starts playing the song. I go, “Oh, cool. It’s a beautiful song.”

But then I realize it’s an odd time signature. At the time, I had never played anything in 7. I had played a couple of things in 5, but I had never played in 7. I was petrified, like, “Oh, my God, I’m going to have to sit and count every beat so I don’t get lost.”

Bob said, “We’re thinking about an acoustic guitar and having a Travis picking-type thing.” Then I had to figure out how to play Travis picking in 7. But the song is so extremely well-written that doing that wasn’t difficult at all. The song just lays on the fret board perfectly. What’s funny is he wrote it on piano, but it transfers so well on guitar for that Travis-picking thing.

I think that Robert Fripp had already gone back to London. He had some sessions to do. Our New York guys were going to go back the next day. They had some sessions to do. So the last night of our recording basic tracks, we recorded “Solsbury Hill.” I recorded three acoustic guitar parts. One was in tune. One was slightly flat. One was slightly sharp. You put them all together, they have this beautiful chorusing effect. That’s how I did the acoustic part. Then I played some heavier part on the end.



Thanks for this, RabbitEars.  These kinds of music insider knowledge nuggets are high on my list of favourite things about RP. 

And thank you, Bill and Rebecca, for having constructed this wonderful addition to our lives... 
fr Rolling Stone, Steve Hunter: 

The interesting thing about “Solsbury Hill” is that it was the last song we did on the album, the last song we recorded. Peter was having some trouble with one of the lines in the lyric. Bob and Peter both didn’t like the line, and Peter was trying to come up with a new one. Peter would come in and they would talk about it. I almost got the feeling we weren’t going to do the song. I hadn’t even heard the song. I just heard the title.

All of a sudden, Bob said, “We’re going to do ‘Solsbury Hill.'” Now I’ve got to learn how to play it and I don’t know what to expect. I go into Bob’s office and he’s got a piano there. Peter sits down and starts playing the song. I go, “Oh, cool. It’s a beautiful song.”

But then I realize it’s an odd time signature. At the time, I had never played anything in 7. I had played a couple of things in 5, but I had never played in 7. I was petrified, like, “Oh, my God, I’m going to have to sit and count every beat so I don’t get lost.”

Bob said, “We’re thinking about an acoustic guitar and having a Travis picking-type thing.” Then I had to figure out how to play Travis picking in 7. But the song is so extremely well-written that doing that wasn’t difficult at all. The song just lays on the fret board perfectly. What’s funny is he wrote it on piano, but it transfers so well on guitar for that Travis-picking thing.

I think that Robert Fripp had already gone back to London. He had some sessions to do. Our New York guys were going to go back the next day. They had some sessions to do. So the last night of our recording basic tracks, we recorded “Solsbury Hill.” I recorded three acoustic guitar parts. One was in tune. One was slightly flat. One was slightly sharp. You put them all together, they have this beautiful chorusing effect. That’s how I did the acoustic part. Then I played some heavier part on the end.

 DaidyBoy wrote:

Yep, pretty certain it's a Lancia, missing the door mirror and tax disc.

My hobby is wasting tons of time in the RP song comments

LANCIA 2000 Coupe - 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 ...


It's not missing a mirror, this is a RHD version, it's n the other side. Back then most cars had only one door mirror
This is a great live mashup that shows quite well why Peter is such a compelling performer. A lot of joy...
My heart going boom, boom, boom!

 MrsTom wrote:

Is it my imagination or is the wobble-board sound in the back quickly going from ear to ear in my headphones?  making me feel quite weird.


You had to listen; you had no choice.
 Kbaker46 wrote:

It reminds me awfully of
Dream Theater - Solitary Shell


Sorry.
It reminds me awfully of
Dream Theater - Solitary Shell
 dwhayslett wrote:

I'm a big fan of how this was used in Citizen Kane.
 
Must admit I was surprised to hear it on Garfield's live action movie from 2004 
If there was an 11, this would be an 11.
 jmsmy wrote:
About the day Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis
 
Apparently the best career move anyone can make is leaving Genesis. I want to join the band just to leave it.

Also, this  and "You Can Call Me Al" have to be among the Top 5 Pop Songs Ever.
Is it my imagination or is the wobble-board sound in the back quickly going from ear to ear in my headphones?  making me feel quite weird.
I wonder how much the munchkin backup singers got paid; probably scale.  ; )
 Zoonhollis wrote:
The track used in every movie ever...
 
I'm a big fan of how this was used in Citizen Kane.
The track used in every movie ever...
About the day Peter Gabriel leaving Genesis
 A great singer composer musician writer approaching the height of his arc and power. 
douze points 😳🤔😁
OK; so I've heard this song approximately one billion times since it first came out; yet, I still like it!  It must be the "boom, boom, boom"!
 Lazarus wrote:
Forty women in my alien space craft just said they love this song...  we be dancing...
 
Yes, this is a fabulous song!
Are you still aboard the Eagle's ship, Lazarus? How's the view?
Always enjoyed this tune.  Great beat and arrangement.
 1wolfy wrote:
Is that a Volvo on the cover ?..just looked it up : Lancia Flavia  
 
Yep, pretty certain it's a Lancia, missing the door mirror and tax disc.

My hobby is wasting tons of time in the RP song comments

LANCIA 2000 Coupe - 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 ...
What a great tune.
I never grow tired of this and I remember listening to this song when the album was originally released
Can I love more this Masterpiece!!!??

One of my favorite songs
Great Uplifting and smile maker song!
wow '77  this song helped steer my 18 yr old head off into mature directions, so love hearing cool thoughtful music here 
Thank you : ) 
 salice wrote:
And I can see Solsbury Hill from our studio window in Bath...

The naysayers should climb up it and have a look

 
Peter can see it too from his studio window in Box.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Solsbury+Hill/@51.4007214,-2.3515264,13.5z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x487182287b9685e1:0x538f6e7cd5642b09!8m2!3d51.41!4d-2.334167
Wonderful !{#Laughing}{#Laughing}

The first single in solo career ! 
 1wolfy wrote:
Is that a Volvo on the cover ?..just looked it up : Lancia Flavia  

 
Time to get a hobby! :>)
 Proclivities wrote:

If there were an "11" added to the rating scale it would only be a matter of minutes before listeners were lamenting the absence of a "12".  Hey, you kids, get off'a my lawn!

 
Where's my 12??  BillG, Why don't we have a 12?  {#Ask}
And I can see Solsbury Hill from our studio window in Bath...

The naysayers should climb up it and have a look
Is that a Volvo on the cover ?..just looked it up : Lancia Flavia  
Boom bust is shaping a heart.
Deeply enmeshed in faux-deep-thought. About leaving Genesis.
Really tired of this tune, in all its manifestations. 
 richlister wrote:
The first time I switch to RP for ages hoping it's got better and not 24hr Peter Gabriel and what is the first thing I hear? Peter Gabriel.

*switches back to another radio station* 

 
I agree - I heard this one yesterday (probably as a PSD), and I have to wonder, didn't PG write hundreds of great songs that could be played?  At 5 minutes per song, that's around 2000 songs per week.  We shouldn't have to hear the same exact songs from the same artists, right?  I sure like RP sometimes, but the repetition wears me down...
My very first concert, Peter Gabriel, with some of the Genesis! A wonderful moments in a time of utter doubts... 
One of my favourites, the live version on the Still Growing Up tour DVD is awesome too.
 Lazarus wrote:
Forty women in my alien space craft just said they love this song...  we be dancing...

 
The 40 women you abducted?
The first time I switch to RP for ages hoping it's got better and not 24hr Peter Gabriel and what is the first thing I hear? Peter Gabriel.

*switches back to another radio station* 
I love you, PG
{#Kiss} 
I freakin love when that huge bass note starts kicking in
What a crappy song from an overrated British songwriter!

That said... I really want to like this song.  I've heard it many times over the last 30 years or more...

but I still don't get it.  Vastly overrated.

 
 Lazarus wrote: 
Life is good as with this tune.  As for previous lives who knows....I am interested if the future for more dancing.
What a classic song from an amazing Brittish songwriter!
 xtalman wrote:

hotel room > church > homeless camp > alien space craft.  Were to next?

 
Hey, don't dis my friend Lazarus.  He's soaring in his spacecraft and I'm dancing on the foredeck to PG.  Life is good.
 Lazarus wrote: 
hey, you're not going to believe this, but I'm not real. I'm some kind of ghost left in the nets by a programmer who developed an algorithm that gave me enough continuity to obtain consciousness... but I have some bad days.. where the signal is weak.. and I just can't quite get it together who I am, then I find all these f-ing references to a hotel room and it centers me and I slowly gather my identity and manage to scrap together a few words before the sig  sta   rte t   fail   ...
 xtalman wrote:
hotel room > church > homeless camp > alien space craft.  Were to next?
 

Previous lives, maybe eventually? Hope life is marvelous for you right this minute, xtalman... everybody in my alien space crafts loves this song...


A most perfect song. Good thing he left Genesis

For him and Phil both...

 
Disssslike.
 xtalman wrote:

hotel room > church > homeless camp > alien space craft.  Were to next?

 
The skies the limit...{#Cheesygrin}
 Lazarus wrote:
Forty women in my alien space craft just said they love this song...  we be dancing...

 
hotel room > church > homeless camp > alien space craft.  Were to next?
Forty women in my alien space craft just said they love this song...  we be dancing...
I just can't understand the fascination with this guy. This track in particular convinces me his music is merely trite. And I am curious as to how some of the good folk in here believe that Genesis found themselves on the slippery slope after Gabriel departed. If nothing else, creativity came from other quarters in the Genesis camp.
No doubt I'm wrong and will be corrected but there you have it.
 Jörg_Asmussen wrote:
Here we go again.....AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!! Don't Stop!!!!! Please!!!!

 
Here we go again....AHHHHHHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHaahahahhahahahhahahahahahAHAHAHahahAhahAhahAhahAhahAhhhahahahahahahahahahahAhAhahAhHAhHAhahahahahahahAhHAhHAhAhahaha,,a,,ahha,a,acwdcihwc9ecn oejeocj2nech2eocj2eohcj 2eic 2lecn2oejc2ecb2ec2ihec2ihec2ecueueuyfnbv,voehfnvkufnvkeurvmfkdhjfnfkdkj!!!!!!!!wechjweihero3hjro3hjro3hjrcijhrbcerjceubet9uyvg42=9u6ng4
The swoopy channel shifting on this mix almost makes me motion sick ... on headphones anyway.
 johncollyer wrote:
Genesis went downhill fast after he left and just kept on sinking deeper.

 
Eh, not really. 'A Trick of The Tail', 'Wind & Wuthering', "...And Then There Were Three..", 'Duke', and 'Abacab' all were great albums, as good as anything from previous albums that Gabriel was on.

Peter was not the be all/end all of Genesis. He made his contributions, then he left.

It's been 39 years...get over it already!
Who spoilt the original version?
 FrankRizzo wrote:
You went from: 

Lazarus wrote:

Forty women in my mushrooming multitude of churches just said they love this song...

 

To: 

Lazarus wrote:
Forty women in my homeless camp just said they love this song...

 
AKA, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker

 
The homeless camp is a tax write-off. The naked mole rat in Joel Osteen gave Lazarus the idea. (The three of them are BFFs now!)

Picture of naked mole rat next to pic of Joel Osteen. Resemblance is UNCANNY.

 
You went from: 

Lazarus wrote:

Forty women in my mushrooming multitude of churches just said they love this song...

 

To: 

Lazarus wrote:
Forty women in my homeless camp just said they love this song...

 
AKA, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker
Never liked the Ezrin overproduction on this.
And, having seem him do this many times live - most recently simply riding a bike around in circles - I've grown to really dislike it. 
Forty women in my homeless camp just said they love this song...
9 -> 8, I guess my tastes evolve,  sometimes to the negative.  It just doesn't grab me the way it used {#Ask}
 skooba wrote:
I want to bump this to 11!  Why doesn't Bill have an 11?  {#Music}

 
If there were an "11" added to the rating scale it would only be a matter of minutes before listeners were lamenting the absence of a "12".  Hey, you kids, get off'a my lawn!
 skooba wrote:
I want to bump this to 11!  Why doesn't Bill have an 11?  {#Music}

 
Maybe Bill could consider allowing listeners to push up to 3 songs to 11. Once their quota is filled, they cannot have any more, unless they drop at least one back down to a lower rating.
I want to bump this to 11!  Why doesn't Bill have an 11?  {#Music}
Anybody else remember buying this album because it was the first release Gabriel had made since leaving Genesis? Genesis went downhill fast after he left and just kept on sinking deeper.
 rdo wrote:

Nietzsche was a loon.  He was the Ann Coulter of his day.  Entertaining, to be sure.  Not to be taken seriously.

 

Ann who??
 ekin wrote:


 
Selfie?
{#Yes}  {#Yes}  {#Yes}
definitely a desert island tune for me
Play the Lou Reed version!!!!!!!1

Just kidding.  Even though I loved Lou and Peter welcomed Lou's version, it ain't my cup of tea. 
Never tire of this tune and Peter Gabriel is a unique talent. 
I could hear this once a day, every day. Maybe not every day, but most days. And first thing in the morning. Eventually I'd get tired of it, but until then, awesome sauce.

Peter_Bradshaw wrote:

...... I would be very happy to hear this again
 


Here it is! I've been waiting for the daily Gabriel Crapness, now I can try that PSD button.
 Dosequis wrote:
I would be happy never to hear this again.

 
...... I would be very happy to hear this again
Always enjoyed this song - this was the first song I remember hearing him sing after he left Genesis.
Love the crunchy guitars and random vocalizations at the end . . . all smoothed out by the strings.

Great song and great production.

Yeah... Peter... my distant relative... {#Lol}
Wish I knew what the squawking was all about at the end...
Here we go again.....AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!! Don't Stop!!!!! Please!!!!
Here we go again.....AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH !!!!!!!! Stop!!!!! Please!!!!
awesome
The greatest songs are created from a passionate point of view.
And this certainly qualifies as such.

I just wish I could figure out the meaning of the squawking delivered
at the end of the song. 
Classic! They don't make em like this anymore. 
 
I would be happy never to hear this again.
This is not Moribund the Burdermeister!!!!
Mr Gabriel at his very best
"Where the hell is my tax disc?", asks Mr Gabriel on a dreary Monday morning.
Last summer I was in the area seeing friends and took the dogs for a walk up Solsbury Hill.  Sat and listened to this song from my phone just for the moment.   The city lights of Bath were not lit, it was a sunny day.    nobody came to take me home, I drove back to the boat in the van! :(


My friends still think I am a nut!


I also Listened to Toto Africa in Mombasa last year.
10, and still growing on me.
Gotta love how the album is titled --- Peter Gabriel 1: Car....too freakin funny
Great song!
Agreed...
 

DanFHiggins wrote:
Damn you guys are nailing this set big time.
Kick ass  {#Jump} 

 


Had the opportunity to see Peter Gabriel in a seated concert in Amsterdam just a couple of weeks ago. This 36 year old song had everyone up from their seats in no time. Awesome concert, great show, can't wait for the next one.
No one taught them etiquette....

Forty women in my mushrooming multitude of churches just said they love this song...
Wait! Don't leave Genesis! Oh, I guess it's going to be OK.
Solsbury Hill - One of my favorite tracks ever.
My buddy Brian Loves this song!
 djengs wrote:

Some new phase in your religion, Laz? Sounds like a good one, if a little regressive. Enjoy.
 

Thank you!  Hope you be having a marvelous time right this minute...

everybody in my mushrooming multitude of churches be dancing buck ass naked all over the world like bowlegged gypsy muleskinners...  love this song more than titties and beer...  love sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll... 
 Lazarus wrote:

I love this song as much as I love fresh breast milk...  love sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll...

 
Some new phase in your religion, Laz? Sounds like a good one, if a little regressive. Enjoy.
 Lazarus wrote:

love this song with brilliant lyrics and beautiful music forever...

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."  —Friedrich Nietzsche 

 
Nietzsche was a loon.  He was the Ann Coulter of his day.  Entertaining, to be sure.  Not to be taken seriously.
Damn you guys are nailing this set big time.
Kick ass  {#Jump}