A Look Back At Peter Gabriel's Solo Debut 40 Years Later

Peter Gabriel

(Radio.com) Forty years ago this week, Peter Gabriel released his self-titled debut album. It was a decade after forming Genesis, and two years after he'd left the band. While his departure seemed risky for him, and potentially catastrophic for his former bandmates, it all worked out well. Genesis drummer Phil Collins took over as lead singer, and the band -- improbably -- got even more popular, with many fans unaware that he wasn't always the singer.

Gabriel, however, made extremely experimental albums that found him a new, younger, edgier audience, many of whom were unaware of -- or didn't care about -- his days as a prog-rock frontman. He, too, became a lot more popular after the split.

Tony Levin played bass on that album and has been with Gabriel ever since. Levin spoke with Radio.com about his first time working with Gabriel. "My heart going boom, boom, boom!" Peter Gabriel sang on "Solsbury Hill," the breakout track from his self-titled solo debut album. His heart-pounding was understandable; leaving a band on the verge of success can't be an easy decision, even for a visionary artist who was tiring of being part of a democracy.

But while he had become Genesis' artistic beacon over the years -- his final album with them, the concept double album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway was very much his vision -- he hadn't quite figured out where he wanted to go yet. Indeed, Gabriel has said that discovering his voice as a solo artist was a long process: "It took me three albums to get the confidence and to find out what I could do that made me different from other people. And the first record really was a process of trying." Read more here.

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Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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