Sunday, 14 March 2010

I Love 1980 - 3

Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers / Biko

Although Peter Gabriel's first two solo abums had practically passed me by (save perhaps for the folky Solisbury Hill some years earlier during my own folky period..) the new single Games Without Frontiers from the upcoming third solo album quickly took our attention through a lot of radio play and publicity. The sparse electronics, easy sing-along lyrics ("Willy is happy again!") and hook lines made it a classroom/bedroom favourite ... oh and Kate Bush sexily singing 'jeeeeuuux sans frontières' as an added bonus. It was also an anti-war statement of course which boded well for my increasing political awareness and upcoming pacifist anti-nuclear stance. Great single.

I came across Biko in bargain bin some months later - unlike Games it had received next to no radio play and was probably banned from the already Thatcher driven BBC radio and TV. It deals with apartheid in South Africa and in particular the death of Stephen Biko, who I learned about only from the back of the single sleeve. It's amazing really how little apartheid was discussed in those days, at least in the UK. I remember our religious studies teacher bringing it up once (but can't remember he name, bless her) and that's probably all we ever knew about it. The song still gives me the shivers now.

In the usual style I never got to hear the ensuing PG 3 album until some years later, via a tape copy, although I have to admit it still sounds good today in remastered mp3 form. Tracks like The Intruder, No Self Control (also featuring Kate) and Lead a Normal Life show a very dark side to Gabriel although things are lightened up with the stomping I Don't Remember, And Through the Wire and aforementioned Games.

Peter Gabriel 3 - info page

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