Peter Gabriel: “Solsbury Hill” (1977)

Two years after leaving Genesis, Peter Gabriel writes a great song about it. Unfortunately, the first record went downhill after that.

Kronomyth 1.1: Wuthering height.

Peter Gabriel’s now-famous declaration of independence, “Solsbury Hill,” was the perfect choice for his first single after leaving Genesis. Honestly, I enjoyed the song for years without knowing what it meant, only learning years later that it was a direct reference to the artist’s frame of mind when he decided to leave the “music machinery” and go solo.

The B side, “Moribund The Burgemeister,” is a clever piece of historical fiction that imagines a local politician in the Middle Ages trying to protect/prevent against a spreading case of chorea (St. Vitus’ Dance). Wouldn’t surprise me a bit to learn that Gabriel was using this as a commentary on how the older generation views the musical/dance tastes of the younger generation. “Moribund The Burgemeister” is also notable as a direct link back to his previous work with Genesis (particularly Lamb); a link that is notably missing on the rest of his first record. Of minor interest, it appears that Atco originally issued the single in its unedited elpee version (4:20) before re-releasing it in the edited single version (3:25) used on the international releases.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel) (4:20/3:25)
B1. Moribund The Burgemeister (Peter Gabriel) (4:19)

Old Gold 7-inch single reissue
A1. Solsbury Hill (Peter Gabriel) (3:26)
B1. Games Without Frontiers (Peter Gabriel) (3:50)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single on April 1, 1977 in the UK (Charisma, CB 301) and in April 1977 in the US (Atco, 7079), Australia (Charisma, 6037 392), Brazil (Charisma, 6073 392), Canada (Atco, ATCO 7079), France (Charisma, 6837 380), Germany (Charisma, 6073 392), Ireland (Charisma, CB 301) and the Netherlands and Portugal (Charisma, 6073 392); reached #13 on the UK charts and #68 on the US charts (charted on April 30, 1977 for 5 weeks). Regional versions feature different picture sleeves. US version appears in both 4:20 and 3:25 versions with same ID number. Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 1977 in the US (Atco, 7079) feat. A stereo and mono with 3:25 run time.

  1. Re-released with “Games Without Frontiers” on back-to-back 7-inch single in December 1982 in the UK (Old Gold, OG 9265).

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