“In Your Eyes,” by Peter Gabriel

Hands up those of you who remember the movie Say Anything, starring a very young John Cusack. If you do, no doubt you recall the classic scene where Cusack finds himself below the window of his beloved’s bedroom, holding a boombox over his head. The song playing from the machine is In Your Eyes, written and sung by former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel. Here’s a brief reminder of the scene.

I’ve been a fan of Peter Gabriel since I first got my hands on an early Genesis album; I think it was Foxtrot. What struck me with Gabriel was the sheer versatility of his voice and musical talents. His stage presence as the frontman for the prog rock band was nothing short of magnetic – with a side of insanity, just for good measure. When he left Genesis, he broke the hearts of many a snot-nosed student, who wailed against the injustice of life. There was no way back for the group now, they thought. Until a certain Mr. Phil Collins stepped up to the plate, and the rest, as they say, is history. Certainly, Genesis were more successful as a group when he left, notching up Number Ones in both the US and UK market. But it is fair to say that Genesis became something different when Gabriel broke away from them. Not that there was anything wrong with that. I enjoy to this day listening to songs from both eras. I love the funkiness of I Can’t Dance and the majesty of Mama. But Gabriel went on to more artistic endeavours.

His music globalised, and he drew on traditions from Africa, especially. He brought, through his studio and concert performances, international music back to its roots. But he kept his playful side at the forefront of everything he did. You only have to look at the video for his most successful solo single, Sledgehammer, to see his personality in action.

A couple of nights ago I channel-hopped through the 70 or so different channels on my TV. I fell upon Sky Arts just as they began to show a concert Peter Gabriel gave in Milan in 2003. For two solid hours I was lost in another world; a world were music was king and creativity was the inalienable right of its citizens. At the end of the show, he and his musicians performed what I can only describe as a heart-tugging and beautiful version of In Your Eyes. I defy you not to get caught up in the joie-de-vivre and the buzz that music can create. Needless to say, if I was present at this concert, I would have been a blubbering mess by the end.


8 responses to ““In Your Eyes,” by Peter Gabriel

  1. I like both Peter and Phil in the spot. I was astounded how much like Peter Phil sounded when he took over.
    My favorites of the Genesis world? The Carpet Crawlers.

  2. I’ve always loved this song. Thanks for posting it. I also love John Cusack. I think it is odd he has never gotten his due in Hollywood. I mean the Hollywood part doesn’t surprise me, but the fact that he hasn’t received the credit he deserves bothers me. Oh well. His sister is also fantastic, and both are very versatile. Did you ever catch the John and Joan movie called “Martian Child?” A little seen movie, but wonderful in its own way. I recommend it. sort of a tear jerker, but I appreciate those every once in a while!

    Among my favorite Gabriel songs is “The Book of Love.” I’ve performed it for weddings, and it is perfect forthat. A sweet tune, and I love the feel of it, as well as his performance. Also, his song from the movie “Babe II, Pig in the City,” called “That’ll Do.” Randy Newman (another favorite writer/performer of mine) wrote that one, but PG’s voice suit it perfectly!

  3. LOVE Gabriel, ADORE Sledgehammer, preferably extremely loud. The man is an icon and his WOMAD legacy groundbreaking .
    You have such great taste, James.

  4. Great post. Wonderful musicians ~ Collins, Genesis, and Gabriel.

    And “In Your Eyes” is a classy classic. 😉

  5. too much fun! your writing is fluid and i found myself done reading almost unaware that i was. perusing the other posts, i’ll just say, thanks. 🙂

  6. Nicely done James…I too lean towards Peter as the better one. Phil has an I’m better then you additude…which rubbed me the wrong way, to begin with, but I think Phil was more about putting words to music where Peter had great lyrics.

  7. Oh James…

    That’s an amazing song.

    Thanks man.


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