Taken from Examiner (May 16, 2016)
Rock Hall Anniversary: Peter Gabriel’s landmark non-eponymous album
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 09: Peter Gabriel performs in front of the Brandenburg Gate during celebrations on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The city of Berlin is commemorating the 25th annivers
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Over ten years after leaving Genesis to start a solo career, Peter Gabriel delivered what would be not only his biggest-selling album, but his landmark.
In May 1986, Gabriel released his fifth solo album, titled simply So. The title was perhaps in response to the fact his first four studio albums were all eponymous (with the covers telling them apart), and his label Geffen were aiming for Gabriel to start titling his albums, in order to properly market his music, and so in choosing the word So, he is still going for the anti-title, but the word can still be useful for marketing purposes.
So was produced by Gabriel and Daniel Lanois (who would later join Brian Eno in producing U2’s landmark album, The Joshua Tree). It opens with the socially-conscious “Red Rain,” and then the big hit “Sledgehammer,” which will spawn one of the greatest music videos of all time, as well as becoming Gabriel’s first and only number one single (knocking his former group, Genesis out of the top). Other key tracks include “Big Time,” and the two glorious tracks; the Kate Bush-duet “Don’t Give Up,” and “In Your Eyes.”
So was highly praised by critics upon release, and topped the charts in seven countries including England and Canada. In America, it peaked at number two on Billboard’s 200 album charts, and sold over 6.5 million copies worldwide. Accolades for the album include a rank of number 187 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of Albums of All Time, four Grammy nominations including Album of the Year, and a record ten MTV Video Music Awards.