Sometime in 1986 driving along in my mother’s minivan on Sunrise Highway in Valley Stream NY, not very far from the new weirdo pizza place that had just been built called “Pizzeria UNO” of all things, (deep dish pizza, like that’s gonna work in New York), I heard “Sledgehammer” on Z100 Radio. I, like all of my friends was immediately mesmerized by the sound and insisted that my mother stop everything that she was about to do, turn the car around and bring me to Sam Goody, “because GOOODY’S GOT IT!”
This was a dark time when your choice of media was the LP, Cassette, or the new CD format, not that it mattered to me. My stereo at my mother’s house had no needle and there was no way my Dad was going to let me anywhere near his CD player (ironic since he only listened to Joan Baez at the time). I was left with just the cassette option.
When you’re a kid generally the fact that there happens to be other songs on the album doesn’t mean a whole lot to you. Frankly, who cares? I bought it for “Sledgehammer” I’m going to play “Sledgehammer” and I can’t imagine why this Peter Gabriel guy put any other songs on the album besides ”Sledgehammer”.
Boy was I ignorant, opinionated, pain in the…..but I digress..
I get home, place the tape into the stereo and suddenly I’m almost completely over powered by the the thumping Bass line in “Red Rain” never heard anything like it before. “Incredible” I said to myself. “How can this be the same guy?” of course thinking as 9 year old does that Peter Gabriel of course plays EVERY instrument on the album.
Well, here I am at 35, I still listen weekly to SO and “Red Rain” is still my launching point. Now of course I know that there isn’t just Peter Gabriel on the the album, in this case it’s Stewart Copeland of the Police, playing the lead cymbal (yes there is a lead cymbal!) and Tony Levin who introduced the world to “Funk Fingers” which is how he got his bass to sound like that!