After eight years as the singer and band leader for the progressive rock band Genesis, Peter Gabriel left in 1975 to spend more time with his family. At the time, critics doubted that Genesis could survive the loss of Peter Gabriel, but drummer Phil Collins was capable of leading the band in a different but successful direction.
Gabriel proceeded with a solo career, starting with three self titled albums. He likened it to producing three editions of a magazine, rather than a release of three separate albums. Peter Gabriel incorporated avant garde and world music elements in the albums, becoming a cult hero and preparing him for the much more commercially successful albums to come in the 80s.
For a generation of listeners, Peter Gabriel came to their attention via MTV and the hit Sledgehammer. Many never truly connected that pop musician with his previous life as the leader of Genesis. The connection is Peter Gabriel’s sense of the dramatic. It’s what got him hooked on rock music back in the mid-60s when he was a pupil at the stuffy, class-ridden Charterhouse public school where rock’n’roll was considered subversive. It led to Genesis then onto his solo career which each had their share of dramatic on stage moments.
Bringing world music to a western audience is Gabriels focus nowadays. He created Real World Studios and the related record label to do just that by producing and collaborating with musicians from around the world.