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An enlightening look at progressive rocker's pop masterpiece

Peter Gabriel - Classic Albums: So
DVD Review

(Eagle Rock Entertainment)
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
November 8, 2012
Peter Gabriel

Review by Andy Argyrakis

On Peter Gabriel's brand new Blu-ray/DVD release "Classic Albums: So," the legendary progressive rocker takes fans through the creative process of what would become his best selling disc to date. Indeed the album that produced smash singles like "Red Rain," "Sledgehammer," "Big Time" and "In Your Eyes" is a pop masterpiece, but it was crafted with an incredibly artful intention as viewers are reminded in this 25th anniversary documentary featuring interviews with Gabriel, co-producer Daniel Lanois, plus several band members like Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta.

Out of the many revelations, one of the most unexpected surrounds the Kate Bush collaboration "Don't Give Up," which was originally intended to be a duet with Dolly Parton, but she turned it down because of unfamiliarity with the English artist. On another surprising note, over a hundred takes were cut of "In Your Eyes" and painstakingly whittled down to the final track, which seems humorous in hindsight but was quite tedious at the time. There's also a revealing glimpse into the art of video making with the most time dedicated to the innovative "Sledgehammer" and its tedious, frame by frame live action/animation blend.

But behind all the bells and whistles, it's apparent "So" still sounds like a brilliant album two-and-a-half decades down the line, which is a fact that many participants enthusiastically echo. Yet its Gabriel's humble insight about simply striving to write from the heart that make the artist and album all the more likeable, even if it did take him a year to complete it and drove most of the crew crazy. Nonetheless, patience proved to be a virtue, helping "So" sell over five million records in America alone and stand as the crown jewel in his already rich catalogue.

Related articles:

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Peter Gabriel - Concert review - Hollywood, CA May 2010
The Musical Box - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Jan. 2009
Genesis - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Oct. 2007
The Musical Box - Concert review - Chicago, IL - Nov. 2006
Various artists - Playing For Change: Songs Around The World - Album review
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