"While Youíre Waiting..." - Peter Gabrielís soundtrack contributions. Article by Ted Sayers.
The fact that Peter Gabriel has always been a very "visual" musician meant that his regular involvement with the cinematic arts was more or less destined from the outset. It even stretches back to his time with Genesis (and partly contributed to his departure), when "The Exorcist" director William Fiedkin, attempted to involve him in a screenwriting project. Since that time, in the mid 70s, Peter has leant his musical talents to many a movie soundtrack.
The first film that Peter contributed to was the unusual "All This And World War II" in 1976. The project was Beatle cover versions set to old war footage. Peter produced a rather relaxed version of "Strawberry Fields Forever". Today this album, a double, is difficult to track down and is more likely to appear on a bootleg. It has never been released on CD and the vinyl version disappeared back in the 70s, it would take a trawl through many second-hand vinyl dealers to turn this one up.
One of Peterís more well-known sountrack contributions is the 8 minute "Out Out" which was part of the "Gremlins" 1984 soundtrack. The song is playing on a jukebox during a chaotic scene involving small destructive creatures in a bar, enough said? The track was also released as a single in mainland Europe (to no great effect), but is probably hard to find in that form today. The original album was only a mini-album and is still around in the odd second-hand shop. For the die-hard who really wants a CD copy, this is available, but only as an import. Ironically it is a US CD, but is hard to find in that country. It is far easier to order from someone in the UK who deals in imported US discs, even HMV provide this service.
The same year also saw the "Against All Odds" soundtrack which included no less than 3 separate Genesis related attachments. Apart from Philís title song (and major hit single) and Mikeís solo track, there was Peterís "Walk Through The Fire". Few people realise it, but there were two very different versions of this track. Most may know the single, which was a minor hit, but the original version on the album is very different and quite unusual, definitley worth checking out and still around in CD form.
A radically different "In Your Eyes" appears on the soundtrack to the romantic comedy "Say Anything". At around the same time as the albumís release, 1989, various promo versions of the track were also made available through WTG records. There was a live and studio single released on vinyl and CD. This is not the same as the version which is on the B side of the "Donít Give Up" single, otherwise known as the "Special Mix".
The 1993 Oscar winner "Philadelphia" has a soundtrack that is a veritable cornucopia of rock music and Peterís partcipation ran to the excellent "Lovetown" which he even performed on his Secret World Tour. The song was also released as a single and had a rather weird and somewhat claustrophobic video to accompany the minor hit.
One of Peterís more unusual soundtrack efforts is for Oliver Stoneís controversial movie "Natural Born Killers", released in 1994. "Taboo" is a collaboration with the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in all senses, it was co-written too.
Another collaboration is "While The Earth Sleeps" from 1995ís "Strange Days". This was released as a single in Europe (not the UK though), which included a second, longer version. Peterís partners on this track are Euro dance act Deep Forest and the song also includes samples of "Shashvi, Kakabi," performed by Tsinandali Choir, "Dali ZnaesMila Majko, performed by Kate Petrova and "Ovgon Chuuvuu" from the album "Mangolie, Musique Vocale et Instrumentale". The song has a beautiful catchy chorus and is a personal favourite despite not being a fan of dance music.
Another excellent track (and again a collaboration) is from the critically panned sci-fi thriller "Virtuosity". The film starred the currently trendy actor Russell "Gladiator" Crowe in one of his early roles. Meanwhile the song "Party Man" (again 1995) was co-written with Tori Amos and George Acogny (who has aslo worked with Youssou NíDour). The track is credited as being perfromed by Peter Gabriel and the Worldbeaters. Probably because of the lack of acclaim that came the filmís way, this song is now quite difficult to track down, at least in its original format.
The following year, 1996, saw a slight reworking of the "So" track "We Do What Weíre Told (Milgramís 37)" for the film "Angel Baby" The piece was even given a small name change in some quarters to "Milgramís Progress" and was also included on one of the E-CDs that came with an issue the Real World magazine, "The Box".
Then came that perennial favourite, "I Have The Touch". This song has been remixed or re-recorded so many times Iíve almost lost count. The 1996 version included on the "Phenomenon" soundtrack is possibly the most radically different version of the track with a whole new verse at the end and mix (by Peter and Robbie Robertson), that gives the song a completely altered groove.
Staying with remixes, Peter then provided a reggae version of his Youssou NíDour duet "Shaking The Tree (Jungle Version)" to the "Jungle 2 Jungle" album (1997). Additionally more lyics were added (written by an O. Burrell) and more vocals from Marua Mokhabeng and reggae singer Shaggy. Not a great effort though and it may have been more advisable to provide the original version.
Certainly the most unusual track that Peter has worked on for a film has to be "Thatíll Do", which he did for the 1998 sequel "Babe - Pig In The City". The song is a cover of a Randy Newman tune and sounds similar to the work of Peter Skellern. This must have had an effect on Peter because he has revisited that musical genre on the Millennium Dome album "Ovo". That piece is one of Peterís own, "Father Son" and also includes the same brass band that he worked with on "Thatíll Do", The Black Dyke Mills Band.
To date his last contribution to a soundtrack was 1998ís "City Of Angels". This one was another of those 8 minute epics in the guise of "I Grieve" and the album was an all star bash which also broke some interesting bands, most notably the Goo Goo Dolls in the shape of their major hit single "Iris". On the whole the "City Of Angels" soundtrack is a very worthwhile album covering a wide variety of musical style from the blues to country (ish) to straight pop.
That is by no means every song that Peter has put out on soundtrack albums, there are many more, but others are staright versions of tracks he has previously released. The vast majority of thse mentioned here are well worth searching out if you have the time and patience and lets face it you need some of that waiting for Peterís albums to surface.