Blu-ray Review: Fascinating Dissection of a Timeless LP in ‘Classic Albums: Peter Gabriel: So’
CHICAGO – I’m a little biased when it comes to analyzing a documentary about Peter Gabriel. He’s one of the most important musicians of all time, particularly in the way he blended world music and pop in the ’80s, an art form that reached a peak with the timeless “So,” the latest recording analyzed in Eagle Rock’s award-winning “Classic Albums” series of Blu-rays and DVDs. In hindsight, the production is missing a few key players but those who do come to talk about “So” do so with love and insight.
The major contributors to “Classic Albums: Peter Gabriel: So” are journalist David Fricke, producer Daniel Lanois, and, most interestingly, Gabriel himself. The interviews alternate from the kind of in-depth material that will impress musicians themselves, such as the way the drums were mixed, and the anecdotes that will be of interest to anyone (like the fact that Nick Park of “Wallace & Gromit” fame directed the dancing poultry in the landmark “Sledgehammer” video or that Kate Bush’s part on “Don’t Give Up” was originally written for Dolly Parton.) Some of the material gets a little intense in terms of musical detail and one wishes that more of the musicians, particularly Bush, had reminisced but the piece has an appropriate reverance for an album that undeniably deserves it a quarter-century later.
Classic Albums: Peter Gabriel: So was released on Criterion Blu-ray and DVD on October 23, 2012
Photo credit: Eagle Rock Entertainment
The latest addition to the acclaimed & award winning Classic Albums series tells the story behind the making of Peter Gabriel’s 1986 album So. It was Gabriel’s fifth solo album and the first one to have a title (the others all having just been called Peter Gabriel ). The album spawned a number of hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic including Sledgehammer, Big Time, Don’t Give Up (a duet with Kate Bush) and In Your Eyes which drove So to multi-platinum sales, the No.1 spot in the UK and No.2 in the US. So was very much an album of the MTV generation and the distinctive videos for tracks like Sledgehammer, Red Rain, Big Time and Don’t Give Up were key factors in the album’s success. The program features contributions from many of those involved in the making of the album and the videos including Peter Gabriel himself, co-producer Daniel Lanois, engineer Kevin Killen and musicians Jerry Marotta, Laurie Anderson, Tony Levin and Manu Katché amongst many more.
o Over 35 minutes of additional material not included in the TV broadcast, including The Making of Sledgehammer