Sledgehammer Peter Gabriel
Song Title: Sledgehammer
Artist: Peter Gabriel
Date of release: 25th of April 1986
Description: ” Sledgehammer ” is by Peter Gabriel ( Peter Brian Gabriel ), the English singer-songwriter and original frontman of rock band Genesis. the song was written by Peter Gabriel.
Production for the song was by Daniel Lanois and Peter Gabriel. Daniel Lanois is a Canadian songwriter, producer, singer and guitarist. As well as producing for Peter Gabriel, he has produced Albums for artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson.
” Sledgehammer ” was released on the 25th of April 1986 by record labels Charisma in the UK and on the Geffen label in the US. The song was taken as the first single from Peter’s fifth Album ” So “.
Peter was heavily influenced by 60’s soul music, particularly Stax the Memphis record label. Formally known as Satellite Records the label that was founded in 1957 changed its name to Stax in 1961.
Peter said in an interview about the influence of 60’s soul when writing the song that is was ” An attempt to recreate some of the spirit and style of the music that most excited me as a teenager – 60’s soul. The Lyrics of many of those songs were full of playful sexual innuendo and this is my contribution to that songwriting tradition. It is also about the use of sex as a means of getting through a breakdown in communication “.
The song features a distinctive horn section played Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns, who were part of the record label’s Stax house musicians. The Memphis Horns started out as a sextet but gradually dwindled down to just two, Wayne Jackson and Andrew Love. They are widely accepted as the best and have been called ” arguably the greatest soul horn section ever “.
The arrangement also includes a synthesised shakuhachi flute which was generated using an E-mu Emulator II sampler. Additional Vocals for the track was supplied by P. P. Arnold, Coral “Chyna Whyne” Gordon and Dee Lewis.
The accompanying music video was directed by Stephen R. Johnson who also directed videos for Talking Heads and Dire Straits. The claymation, pixilation and stop motion animation used in the video was done by Aardman Animations ( Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run ) and Brothers Quay. The American identical twins won the 1998 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design for their work on the play The Chairs.
Also featured in the video were peter’s daughters Anna and Melanie, the animators, six women who posed as back-up singers and the director Stephen Johnson’s girlfriend.
Filming the video meant that Peter had to endure 16 hour days laying under a sheet of glass so the video could shot one frame at a time. The video was a success and went on to become MTV’s most played music video of all time.
” Sledgehammer ” also won 9 awards at the MTV VMAs including Video of the Year. The 9 awards is the highest number any video has won.
The song was a huge commercial success for Peter. In the United States the song reached Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. It spent 1 week at the top and a total of 21 weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom ” Sledgehammer ” entered the UK chart on the 26th of April 1986 and peaked at number 4. The song spent 6 weeks in the top ten and a total of 18 weeks on the chart.
BillBoard Highest Chart Position: 1
UK Highest Chart Position: 4
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (Kent Music Report) 3, Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40) 2, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 9, Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders) 7, Canada (CHUM) 14, Canada Top Singles (RPM) 1, Finland (Suomen virallinen lista) 4, Germany (Official German Charts) 7, Ireland (IRMA) 3, Italy (FIMI) 8, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 10, Netherlands (Single Top 100) 6, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 3, Norway (VG-lista) 3, Poland (LP3) 4, South Africa (Springbok Radio) 3, Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 9, Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade) 4
Official Website: Petergabriel.com
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/PeterGabriel
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/PeterGabriel