Back in 1973 his album captivated me.
The spots were kicking in, I was starting to walk around the dormitories with a permanent erection that I was unable, unwilling and too unwitting to point at anything other than my right hand.
What to do with all of the pent up passion?
Why, love music of course.
I jumped in, both feet.
It was unconditional and, as you've probably gathered, my quality control was all over the place.
This was a time of discovery and confusion.
I could only love what was put in front of me and this was dangled as Exhibit A 'the best album of all time' by some 6th form monitor who I was in awe (or fear) of. The cover was pretty captivating. And then I heard that voice. I still rate Peter Gabriel alongside Paul Buchanan as the great 'pop' voice of the last 30 years. That glorious rasp rattled on about otherworldly things; the whimsical stories told evoked what seemed like an Alice in Wonderland for 13 year old herberts; an earthy diversion from the whimsy of Lord of the Rings. He wasn't just singing about wizards and dragons; there were Estate Agents too; this was a weird parallel to real life, a retreat to a nursery rhyme riddled world of comic book characters that you could love and fear. And amidst all of the hokum... there were moments of real tenderness.
With the guards of Magog, swarming around,
The Pied Piper takes his children underground.
The Dragon's coming out of the sea,
with the shimmering silver head of wisdom looking at me.
He brings down the fire from the skies,
You can tell he's doing well, by the look in human eyes.
You'd better not compromise.
It won't be easy.
And it's hey babe, with your guardian eyes so blue,
Hey my baby, don't you know out love is true,
I've been so far from here,
Far from your loving arms,
Now I'm back again, and baby it's going to work out fine.
This was probably the first album that I did the 'put it on with the lights out' thing. Waiting for those moments of resolution amongst all of the discord was as exciting as hell; musically I could only count to 4 (still guilty) so the complexities of time signature rendered me lost, akimbo; awaiting those glorious moments of relief. When Gabriel did the "and it's hey babe with your guardian eyes so blue (uh?) hey my babe, don't you know our love is true" line at the end of 'Supper's Ready' I can still remember shaking like a shitting dog in ecstasy; my heart sang.
You need to hear the album to get the controlled version; but here's a remarkable, out of control 1973 performance of the song; a cat suited Gabriel is impossibly thin and (if you go with it) it is pre digital, analogue, hard copy fanbloodytastic theatre.