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Peter Gabriel Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (40) | Personal Quotes (87)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 13 February 1950Woking, Surrey, England, UK
Birth NamePeter Brian Gabriel
Nickname The Progfather
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Peter Gabriel was educated at Charterhouse School, Surrey, England. He was the lead singer of leading progressive rock band Genesis from its inception until he left in 1975 for a successful solo career as a singer-songwriter, soundtrack composer and innovator in visual presentation of music, music videos and digital methods of recording and distributing music. He also became well known as an anti-Apartheid activist, for his efforts to bring different styles of international music to the attention of the West by establishing the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival, his own Real World label and recording studios as well as the addition of world music performers and styles into his own music.

He has also worked extensively for Amnesty International as well as many other humanitarian efforts, such as founding his own human rights organization Witness and co-founding, with Richard Branson and Nelson Mandela, world human rights advocacy group The Elders in July 2007. His dedication to humanitarian causes was recognized with the Nobel Peace Laureates' Man of Peace Award in 2006 and Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience honour in 2008. His career in music has been cited as an inspiration by many artists, including U2, R.E.M., Kate Bush, Moby, Marillion, Simple Minds, It Bites, Elbow and Darren Hayes.

His greatest commercial success came with the "So" album in 1986, which was a worldwide smash and earned him the British Phonographic Industry Award for British Male Solo Artist the following year. His lasting impact on music has been recognized by the Music Industry Trusts' Award in 2004, the Frankfurt Music Prize, the first Pioneer Award at the BT Digital Music Awards, the Q Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, the Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) Icon Award in 2007, the MIDEM Personality of the Year in 2008 and the Polar Music Prize in 2009. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010. In 2014, he became the first and so far only Genesis member to join it as a solo artist when Chris Martin from Coldplay inducted him.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Meabh Flynn (9 June 2002 - present) (2 children)
Jill Moore (17 March 1971 - 1987) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (4)

Titles his albums sequentially
Deep raspy voice
Synthesizing rock instruments with electronics and exotic world music sounds
Elaborate songwriting and lyrics combined with sophisticated, layered musical productions

Trivia (40)

Peter Gabriel was one of the founding members and the original lead singer of the group Genesis, one of the most influential and popular British progressive rock bands. He left the group for a solo career in 1975 after recording albums including "Foxtrot", "Selling England by the Pound" and the concept album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway".
His own company, Real World, promotes world musicians and their music.
His song "Solsbury Hill" is titled after a small hill on the edge of the city of Bath, England. The hill is the site of an ancient dwelling and is now part the UK National Trust.
Two daughters: Anna-Marie born on July 26, 1974 Melanie born August 23, 1976.
Member and promoter of Amnesty International.
Because of his song "Biko", about South African civil rights leader Stephen Bantu Biko, the apartheid government of South Africa banned all of Peter Gabiel's recordings. The bans have since been lifted.
Some sources state that he suffers from bipolar disorder.
His song "Biko" was covered by Simple Minds on their 1989 album "Street Fighting Years".
Genesis had one hit single during his time as the lead singer, "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)" which reached 21 in 1974. It was later covered by former Marillion singer Fish on his 1993 album "Songs From The Mirror".
Genesis' 1974 album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" came sixth in Classic Rock Magazine's list of the 30 greatest concept albums of all time. [March 2003]
His song, "I Don't Remember", was covered by Marillion frontman Steve Hogarth and the H Band on the album "Live Spirit: Live Body" (released 2002).
Performed for the BBC's annual Children in Need charity event. [November 2003]
Performed at the "46664" AIDS concert. [November 2003]
He can play piano, keyboards, percussion, flute, recorder and harmonica.
In 1999, he reunited with his former Genesis bandmates Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett for a re-recording of the Genesis song "The Carpet Crawlers" (originally from their 1974 album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"), which appears on the Genesis compilation "Turn It On Again: The Hits".
Never scored a UK number one single, but "Sledgehammer" topped the US singles chart in 1986. Ironically, it knocked "Invisible Touch" by his former band Genesis, off the top spot.
Presented with the Music Industry Trusts' Award for his outstanding contribution to the British music industry. [November 2004]
His famous song "Solsbury Hill" talks about why he decided to leave Genesis while the band was growing at a fast rate.
Though he left Genesis in 1975, he reunited with the band twice. Once in the early 80s for a special charity concert (Steve Hackett wasn't there, except for the two encores) and in 1999 to record a song for a greatest hits collection. Steve Hackett was there for that reunion, making it the first time the original five performed together since 1975.
Bandmate Phil Collins took over vocals from him when he left Genesis in 1975. He sang back-up vocals to Collins on the single "Take Me Home" in 1985. Sting also sang back-up vocals on that same song.
His song "Don't Give Up" was covered in 2005 by Bono and Alicia Keys for the charity "Keep a Child Alive". Willie Nelson and Sinéad O'Connor also recorded a version of it for Nelson's 1993 album "Across the Borderline". John Legend and Pink recorded a version of it for Herbie Hancock's album "The Imagine Project", released in 2010.
His song "In Your Eyes" was covered by Darren Hayes.
His song "Solsbury Hill" was covered by Erasure on their 2003 album "Other People's Songs".
Winner of the 1987 British Phonographic Industry Award for British Male Solo Artist following the success of his multi-million selling album "So".
Winner of the 1987 British Phonographic Industry Award for British Video for his song "Sledgehammer".
Winner of the 1993 Brit Award for British Producer.
Awarded the Frankfurt Music Prize in 2006.
(3rd October 2006) Winner of the first Pioneer Award at the BT Digital Music Awards.
Winner of the 2006 Q Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by Moby.
Ranked #53 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
His album "So" was included in College Music Journal's list of the "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time" and #1 in the "Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1986", ranked #14 in Rolling Stone's "100 Best Albums of The 80's" survey and #187 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
His song "Shock the Monkey" was covered by Coal Chamber with Ozzy Osbourne on the album "Chamber Music".
His third and fourth album were also released in German. The third album was titled "Ein Deutsches album", his fourth "Deutsches album".
Chosen by Time Magazine in 2008 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Placed in the Heroes & Pioneers category, the tribute to him was written by Desmond Tutu.
His wife Meabh gave birth to their second son, Luc, on July 5th 2008 weighing in at 7 lbs, 2 oz. They also have a son Isaac born in 2002.
In 1982, he was one of the first artists to record an album entirely on digital tape, and in 2000, he co-founded the first digital music download platform, OD2.
His father was an electrical engineer and his mother was a musician.
His favorite singer is Otis Redding, whose music he has loved since he was a teenager and who inspired his biggest hit, "Sledgehammer".
Is mentioned in the lyrics of the song "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" by Vampire Weekend.

Personal Quotes (87)

There has always been a strong relationship between music and religion. It is because they both plug directly into the heart and can have real power for good or evil.
I'm an artist who works incredibly slowly.
I have always loved R.E.M.'s music and respected their commitment to social change.
When I left [Genesis] there was some angst and I think everyone thought I was destroying their careers, but as soon as I left, the band sold a whole lot more records.
[why he demanded to write all the lyrics for the last album he made with Genesis] There are very few books written by a committee, and for a very good reason.
Music is a universal language, it draws people together and proves, as well as anything, the stupidity of racism.
The flap over The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) is absurd. If people's faith is so weak that it can be destroyed by a film, then it really isn't much to begin with. I think people may find themselves reviewing their own lives and their own points of view on religion as a result of the film. I'm very proud to have been a part of it.
Just to stay in an all-white, all-male, all-middle-class preserve would be very boring for me and very boring for the people who listen to what I do.
African artists are strong, charismatic and compelling, and I think they hold people's attention.
Radiohead, for me, are one of the great bands and one of the reasons is that they're always trying to innovate and push back boundaries, both in their musical work and in their video work.
[about the "Sledgehammer" video] I've always loved animation since I was a kid and you can do with it anything you can imagine. The idea was to design something that really could hold up to repeated viewing.
[in 2005] There is so much pressure on musicians to look youthful. I've turned my back on my wilder days. I'm much more relaxed now.
There is something childlike about the basic concept that poverty might be history, that by doing something, some lives might be saved. I would argue that it doesn't matter how many records get sold or how many balding semi-retired musicians like myself get an audience, even if one life gets saved, it's better than sitting on our fat arses complaining about things.
John Lennon was definitely one of my heroes. I think he always wrote from his heart. He was a very complicated individual, but there's an honesty about his songwriting that I think makes it very powerful. Sometimes it's very simplistic, childlike and naive; and that is what gives it some of its strength.
I think that anyone who doesn't have some sense of idealism when they're young is really missing out a bit of their humanity, because you have the chance to go into the world and feel, quite rightly, that it is soon going to be yours and you can change it. I think that's what my generation did with The Beatles at the front of it.
Working with the tours and meeting all the people that felt their lives had literally been saved by Amnesty made it seem like such a simple, elegant and powerful idea. I think that it is a wonderful organization that really deserves a lot of support.
[speaking at the BT Digital Music Awards in 2006] I would say to artists at the beginning of their career in this business: own your name, own your website, own your rights. There's a future with a record business, which I think does a great job sometimes, but as a service industry and not as owners of creative talent. But it's only if artists are smart enough, which traditionally we've never been, to act together and to work together that we're going to see that sort of future.
From the pain comes the suffering, from the suffering comes the dream, from the dream comes the vision, from the vision comes the people, from the people comes the power, from the power comes the change, but if the world could have one father, the man we would want to be our father is Madiba, Mr Nelson Mandela.
Never before has an artist been able to reach out and build an audience so easily - without needing record companies and their marketing departments. Equally, you've never been able to explore all kinds of new music in the instant way the Internet allows.
New technology has always excited me.
I co-founded OD2 with Charles Grimsdale as I thought there were many exciting opportunities for digitally distributed music. As a musician, I believe strongly that all artists should have access to this powerful new means of getting music to people. I was convinced digital music was going to be the main means of distributing music when we set that firm up. I've been surprised how long it has taken.
I must be getting to that awards time of life; it's God's way of telling you you're getting on.
[on why he left Genesis] It was really a decision to get out of the music business so it wasn't a decision to go solo. Our first child had just been born and she was in an incubator for three weeks, at the same time the band were trying to finish an album off, for me there was no question of priorities. I hated the feeling that in two years time I would know exactly where I'm going to be and what I'm going to be doing, I wanted a sense of freedom, so I just stopped everything for about a year and worked on my vegetable garden very unsuccessfully but enthusiastically.
He appears in a lot of writing that I've done over the years because of the groove with which he was associated, which is the Bo Diddley rhythm. He was really one of the first people to make an African element a central part of pop music and it was done with a lot of feel and a lot of style. I was sad to see him on the departed list.
The music business, the way I view it, it's dead in its old model and there are lots of interesting things crawling out of the corpse.
The only drug I was interested in was acid, but I was too frightened by my dreams in regular hours to contemplate that.
[on the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq] This is a fundamental issue of life and death and I very much think the Prime Minister is in the wrong. I'm also sure George Bush [George W. Bush] is an affable bloke but he's highly dangerous and I wish America was in the hands of someone else. To put oil interests ahead of human life is appalling. War is always terrible but unjustified war is obscene and on present evidence that is what we are facing. People want peace and I think it's great that the Mirror is leading this campaign. I think the consequences of this war would be the biggest threat to world peace in my lifetime. Blair [British PM Tony Blair] has got to get it right. To take action without UN backing would be inviting disaster by setting the Muslim world against the West. If we are taking a moral position why did we arm Iraq when they were killing the Kurds? If it's because of weapons of mass destruction why isn't North Korea higher on the list? Not that I'd support action there. And if it's a principle of what Iraq has done to its own people why do we bend over for China? I'm sure Bush believes he is removing a scourge but he has never done one thing in office against the interests of the oil lobby who paid for a large part of the election. I don't actually believe Tony Blair is focused on oil but if he knows more than we do I wish he would tell us because there's no justification so far for taking life. War with Iraq would be an aggressive, uncalled-for action. It's good the Prime Minister is prepared to stick to his principles, going against public opinion, because you elect leaders in part for their conscience. I just think it's terrible that on this of all issues he is making a stand which separates him from the nation. I think Tony Blair is following his conscience but I believe he is misguided. It could cost him the next election and I think he's aware of that. I'd personally be sad if they lost because Labour has done a lot for health and education, but an unjust war would be enough to lose my vote. I'd like to see a reinforced UN weapons inspection team in Iraq and disarmament much more in line with the French and German proposals. There is a slogan which says: "Peace is what happens when you respect the rights of others". Iraqis have rights too.
Sting is right in what he says about The X Factor (2004). If I was a TV commissioner, I wouldn't take the show off the air, but I'd put on one that showcases new songwriting talent, featuring unique voices. Doing covers, impersonating other artists should not be the only option or goal to aspire to.
When I started, you couldn't get signed unless the label thought you could sell 100,000 records. It took us two years playing gigs to get signed.
The worst brief for an artist is to be told they can do anything. I have always believed that artists are a lot more creative if you tell them what they can't do.
[on taking ten years to make an album] If you're looking at the movement of the Earth it's a very short space of time. But you know, the older you get, it's more about quality and less about frequency.
[on dressing as a flower in Genesis] Horticulture has a lot going for it.
My kids came with me to see one of these bands that recreate early Genesis stuff. They said to me afterwards, "Dad, if you can make a living like that, there's hope for us!"
"Heroes" is one of those classic songs . . . it's one of my favorite Bowie [David Bowie] songs and I was a Bowie fan right from the beginning.
I love Radiohead, from the onset, pretty much. The Bends was done up the road from us in the West Country. And so I had a conversation with Thom Yorke who said he was interested in doing the Wallflower song, so I was really excited to hear that. Besides writing great songs with wonderful sounds, they are always unafraid to push themselves as arrangers and musicians and writers and I love that about them.
Something happens with age. You're becoming more yourself, whether you like it or not. You lose some high notes. You're not aspiring to be someone else. You listen to Dylan [Bob Dylan], Randy Newman or Tom Waits, and to how their voices have evolved over the years, and, uh, you get a sense that there's more grain and texture, and less trying for this or that.
[on "Scratch My Back"] I've always been a songwriter first and foremost, and with X Factor's [The X Factor (2004)] stress on performance, I felt the craft of songwriting has got rather overlooked. So I thought, if we could put a twist on the covers thing, make it a genuine exchange and a dialogue with other musicians, rather than a homage to just one song, then we could create something different.
A lot of songs come with a time stamp. I remember where I was when I first heard "Hey Joe" or "Love Me Do". They become like sound traps, because pop introduced to songwriting the idea that sound was as important as the notes, the harmony and the rhythm.
[on "Scratch My Back"] I wanted to let these songs speak, so I become personally minimal in their presentation. Left to my own devices, I tend to put layers on top, I fuss too much. So, early on with this, I decided to make rules. No drums or guitars. Just chamber instruments, keyboards and brass.
It's a lot easier making emotional miserable music than it is making emotional happy music - joy is a much harder fish to catch.
Charlie Gillett was such a benign godfather to so many artists who have fallen under the name of world music. Bumping into Charlie was always one of my regular delights at Womad. There are many artists around the world who owe a good slice of their income to Charlie's enthusiasms. His generous and good nature, fired by his passion, was a beacon of light in the music world and a rare and wonderful example to all of us involved.
I've always loved artwork and album art. I think it's been a huge part of what people identify and feel about the music and the records. I used to love gatefold sleeves... when you would sit with a new record and open it up it was just a precious moment. Now we've gone into this digital world a lot of that has been lost.
I admire artists that can create joy. I think I've done it a couple of times, but it's not regularly on the menu. Melancholy comes a lot easier. But I have a lot of respect for good pop music that's done well. Smart writing and good grooves, good sounds.
I've not been bored but then I've also made decisions to have an interesting life rather than trying to maintain a successful career. And they are slightly different paths. I have interest in technology and benefit projects that go along with the music. Now I know mathematicians and filmmakers, pioneering medical researchers and all sorts of people from all sorts of backgrounds. One of the big buzzes has always been brainstorming with a bunch of people smarter than myself and I get to do that quite a lot on quite a lot of different subjects.
I think MP3 is a giant step backwards in that we all spend a lot of time trying to make things sound really good and then it gets compressed. But I like that sense of it being a much freer medium ... technology has very often shaped the music [such as] the first singles having the physical limitations of the format determining the length of music. Those physical limitations in a way shaped the way music was composed. I think suddenly that has been unleashed and I think freedom is generally a very scary concept for artists.
I can remember where I was when I first heard Hendrix's (Jimi Hendrix) 'Hey Joe', which was at school in a particular room upstairs and it was, in fact, in the next-door room. And my ear perked up and I went in and listened to it and just had to find out about who this artist was. I think particularly when you're growing up, songs are like memory stamps. And I think people go through life and they have these intense experiences that are really beautiful or really horrible that just get locked into a certain song.
I was extremely lucky in 1967, when I was 17 years old, to go and see Otis Redding perform at the Ram Jam Club in Brixton in London. When he came on, it was like the sun coming out. It was just this amazing voice, totally in command, great band, great grooves and passion that permeated everything. I think he's a supreme interpreter, and what a heart.
The first record I bought when I saved up my pocket money was 'With The Beatles'. 'Please, Please Me' was coming over the radio. I would sit in the back of my parents' car when we were on these long drives down to the coast. And what people forget, I think, is that at the time, it was really rebellious, rough, mischievous and full of life, and irresistible to any young person. The Beatles were a huge influence as I was growing up, and continued to be as there was all that revolution around their success.
Free expression and human rights have been the life-blood of so much of the work I've done in the last few decades and Amnesty's campaigning has been a life-changing part of that. Those of us who have the eyes and ears of the media have a responsibility to amplify the voices of the voiceless. I'd be delighted if everyone who comes to one of my concerts picks up some Amnesty literature and checks out their work.
[on Lana Del Rey's "Video Games"] It was actually Charlie Winston, who's a wonderful singer that we have, who turned me on to this track and I'm in love with it at the moment. I think it's a perfect pop song.
[on making music videos] I had a place at film school at one point before I thought I could make my living making noises and that's still something which I'm very interested in, and so videos gives us a chance to get involved in that. I'd like to learn a lot more.
[on Phil Collins, who replaced him as singer in Genesis] In some ways he was a more natural singer than I was.
[on "Red Rain"] When emotion is blocked, which is an English tradition, it sometimes has a habit of seeping out of unsuspected edges, so here there was a story I was working on at one point called Mozo, which I ditched, but the idea was of a town unable to express its emotion and so it becomes externalized in the form of blood red rain and this red sea, so that's its main preoccupation and then put in the context of a relationship I'm sure there's some of my experience thrown in there.
I started out as a drummer and I still think like one. Everything I write starts with rhythms. I'm not a good keyboard player, and I'm even worse on the guitar. In fact, I'm a terrible musician! But I do think that I can find disparate elements and put them together in a way that's different to other people. I hope that's inspiring to all other miserable, useless musicians out there!
"Sledgehammer" was my chance to sing like Otis Redding! I saw him aged about 16, at the Ram Jam Club in Brixton. It's still the best gig of my life.
[on Youssou N'Dour] His voice is like liquid gold.
[on his best-selling solo album, "So"] "So"'s massive success was a great facilitator. Many of the things I love to do today - Witness.org, thetoolbox.net, theElders.org, Gabble and Womad - would have been a lot more difficult to realise without the opportunities and connections success can bring.
[on "From Genesis to Revelation", the first Genesis album] What that album did convince me is that I could write a pop song. We recorded it in this tiny studio on Denmark street in central London. We were kids at the time, and we were just so excited to be in a recording studio. Absolutely everything excited us. When the record was advertised in Record Mirror, it was the first time I'd seen our band name in print. It was the most thrilling thing I'd read in my life.
[on "Don't Give Up"] Dolly (Dolly Parton) turned it down... and I'm glad she did because what Kate (Kate Bush) did on it is brilliant. It's an odd song, a number of people have written to me and said they didn't commit suicide because they had that song on repeat or whatever, and obviously you don't think about things like that when you're writing them. But obviously a lot of the power of the song came from the way that Kate sings it.
[on his best-selling solo album, "So"] It turned me into a pop star for at least a week.
[on being a pop star] I always like to say, amazing place to visit, not a very nice place to live. In the end, it sort of sucks you dry and you find people who can only write about the road 'cos that's all they know and live, eat and breathe. I think real life is not bad and sometimes should be undertaken seriously.
I learned quite early on that if you're making music you should be recording, regardless of having to sit through hours and hours of rubbish. It's just that the magic moments come and you always think, 'Oh, I can remember that', and you never do it the same again twice but if you've got a recording. So I had all these recordings and a lot of it wasn't so good but it did mean that some of the times when I found a melody that ended up in the song, we had it there.
My parents put me in for an aptitude test when I was a teenager and the report came back saying that the only thing that I was good for was photography or landscape gardening.
Rock is one of the few areas left in the creative field where artists can be in control of what they do and if you're not putting your self and your soul into it, and there's not some measure of integrity, then I think it reads.
You have a choice. You can live in a world where the people make some effort to improve things or you can live in a world where people don't give a damn, and I'd rather be in the first.
I was from a typical upper middle class background, I suppose. My father's father was a very wealthy timber merchant and manufacturer and though he broke away from all that in a sense, there were still traditions to be handed down.
[on Charterhouse] My first night in the school is still vivid in my mind. There were no curtains on the windows and the lights from the cars passing on the road would reflect across the ceiling. It just reminded me of a sky full of bombs, and there were lots of boys crying uncontrollably - it was their first time away from home. It was just all such an incredibly ugly thing to recall. They always say you can tell an ex-public school boy in prison because he takes to it like a duck to water.
Music, you see, was suddenly something I could identify with. It was the only thing that could obliterate the feeling of sheer misery and uselessness.
[in 1978] If I consider my current financial situation realistically, I would say that I'd be able to survive in this cottage with my wife and two children living fairly decently for five years. No more than that - and that's being generous - and therefore I am concerned about selling records and being a success. Right now I'm just not compromising - that's all.
Primarily I make noises and ideas.
[on Apartheid in 1988] Reading the press, people ask why we sing about South Africa. South Africa is the only country in the world which has racism enshrined in its constitution.
[on "No Self Control"] We went on Top of the Pops (1964) and the great belief in those days was that you get on Top of the Pops (1964) and you quadruple your sales. We went on Top of the Pops (1964) and our sales halved. I don't know what that has to say about the way we looked or the way the music was but it confounded every industry pundit.
[on "Peter Gabriel 3"] Ahmet [Ahmet Ertegun], who I still think is one of the legends of the music business and I loved him, but he thought I'd been in a mental hospital when he heard "Lead a Normal Life" and "Biko". Who was going to be interested in this stuff? I was with Atlantic in America, through Charisma which was the small label to which I was signed, so I was promptly dropped.
[on "Biko"] It was quite an important thing because it was the first directly political thing that I'd ever done, and I thought because of my background it wouldn't be taken seriously, and Tom Robinson was very good at encouraging me at the time and saying "If you get attention and money moving in the right direction, it doesn't matter what anyone thinks". That song, I think, changed a lot of things for me and connected me in a deeper way to Amnesty and other human rights work.
[on "Graceland" by Paul Simon] At the time we had this Amnesty tour too which went out in '88 and we were discussing amongst the artists whether we should go and perform there, and strangely enough Youssou N'Dour and Tracy Chapman, the black artists, were arguing that we should go and the white artists were saying "We've been asked to do this cultural boycott, we shouldn't". I'm still not completely sure. I think I wouldn't have done it at the time and in the way that he did it because of the cultural boycott but, in the end, did it help South Africa and South African music? Definitely. So it's difficult.
[on the death of Nelson Mandela] To come out of 27 years in jail and to immediately set about building a Rainbow Nation with your sworn enemy is a unique and extraordinary example of courage and forgiveness. In this case, Mandela had seen many of his people beaten, imprisoned and murdered, yet he was still willing to trust the humanity and idealism of those who had been the oppressors, without whom he knew he could not achieve an almost peaceful transition of power. There is no other example of such inspirational leadership in my lifetime.
I don't want all musicians preaching at me all the time but I think it's really the first universal language, all around the world, young people listen to rock music, and to have that attention and that possibility for giving out information and not to use it for anything other than saying who you laid last night is, I think, a waste of time.
[on The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (2014)] Many of the laughs are at my expense, but it also had me laughing a lot. I think you will enjoy it. There are also many great cameos, my favourites being from Reeves and Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse.
I love to laugh. Spike Milligan was a hero to me and I was a big Fast Show [The Fast Show (1994)] fan, but I'm not sure that part of me comes across when I bore people about politics and social stuff. People can't always see who you really are.
In opera you have this very abstracted form of singing, through a brilliant technique often, but for me as a listener it doesn't have the emotional impact that I get when I listen to great soul or blues music.
In rock as a whole there have been many great songs which have had really appalling lyrics but there have been no great songs which have had appalling music.
[on Phil Collins] Three things interested me about him. One, he was a good drummer. He knew how to do complex things only skilled drummers can do. I saw him as a significant upgrade to what we currently had in that role and that would open up new possibilities for us as a band. Two, he had a great sense of humor. Tony, Mike and I were pretty uptight, public school kids. We took ourselves too seriously at times. Phil, with his drama school background, came from a place where anything goes. He could diffuse situations with a joke or turn the attention away from band conflicts to him, making us all laugh and forget about what we were even arguing about in the first place. Third, he added another band member who could sing. I was able to do harmonies and other vocal arrangements that weren't possible before his arrival.
I am certain that Israelis and Palestinians will both benefit from a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. We have watched Palestinians suffer for too long, especially in Gaza. I am not, and never was, anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic, but I oppose the policy of the Israeli government, oppose injustice and oppose the occupation... I am proud to be one of the voices asking the Israeli government: 'Where is the two-state solution that you wanted so much?' and clearly say that enough is enough.
In England, because rock 'n' roll is pretty tied up, like football, with working-class mythology, there's quite a lot of press resentment to any ambitions in rock by middle-class people. That was definitely something to battle with in the first few years.
[on Phil Collins] I respect Phil. I think he's a natural musician who can sit down and play most things very well. There's respect between us, and we'll be happy to do odd pieces together.
[on David Bowie] He meant so much to me and to so many. He was a one-off, a brilliant outlier, always exploring, challenging and inspiring anyone who wanted to push the boundaries of music, art, fashion and society. There are so few artists who can touch a generation as he did, we will miss him badly.
Despite prog probably being the most derided musical genre of all time there were - as today - a lot of extraordinary musicians trying to break down the barriers to reject the rules of music.

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