Peter Gabriel Admits That 'Sledgehammer' Was An 'Afterthought'
Peter Gabriel took time to recall his biggest hit, the 1986 So album standout, "Sledgehammer." Gabriel, who's currently in the midst of a year-long hiatus before he starts writing his upcoming album, spoke to Mojo magazine and revealed the back-story to his most universal single, explaining, "Everyone thinks it was written to be an obvious hit. But it isn't true. (Bassist) Tony Levin reminded me recently that we'd done all the recording for So, and he was getting ready to go to the airport and, when I said, 'Hold on. . . ' I had this idea for another song. But it was an afterthought."
He added: "'Sledgehammer' made me happy, because the groove took me back to the soul music I'd gotten fired up about originally. But we didn't know we had something that was going to be my biggest hit."
Gabriel went on to say that the hit didn't quite make him a household name: "The video did lead to me getting mistaken for Robert Palmer, though. We had the two big videos on MTV at the time. I didn't mind, but I'd never had the fun of working with the women that he had in his video ('Addicted To Love'). Although by strange coincidence, my cousin is now married to one of those models -- she was the 'drummer.'"
Peter Gabriel was asked when he realized that So was more going to be a bigger commercial success than his past efforts: "I think about halfway through the album I started to realize that some of the songs would get through (to the public). Also I think the 'Sledgehammer,' which is a sort of '60s soul rip-off, is a language in which people speak in this country, so I think it's easier to get to."
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