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Peter Gabriel: Shock the Monkey

We've talked before about how Peter Gabriel went through a period of Soul Searching after leaving GENESIS, a huge hit band, to go Solo. He decided to put his head down and jump into the unknown, and his first attempt as an independent artist produced the great "Solsbury Hill" in 1977, establishing Gabriel on his own.

 

So let's jump ahead to 1982 and the fourth 7" Vinyl Single from his album titled SECURITY, it was called,SHOCK THE MONKEY and driven by a bizarre Video at the height of the MTV Craze and became a huge hit. The song topped out at #29 on the Hot 100, but went to #1 on The Hot Mainstream Rock Chart driven by the Video and heavy FM AOR Airplay.

 

It being the 80's different people had different theories of what he was singing about, the easy one was Animal Rights, and the weirder one was that it was a tribute to Stanley Milgram's experiments in his book "Obedience to Authority." But they both were wrong, Gabriel said that "Shock the Monkey" was "a Love Song" that examined how jealousy can release one's basic instincts; the Monkey is not a Literal Monkey, but a metaphor for one's feelings of jealousy." I thought it was about something else, but this is a family page.

 

The Video directed by the great Brian Grant, which most folks found a bit disturbing, had Gabriel in White Face Paint and a terrorized Capuchin Monkey jumping around. Peter plays two parts, one a stiff business guy in a suit and the other possibly a psychopath in White Suit and Face Paint. I'm not going to tell you anymore, because breaking with our TDR tradition of playing Live Performance videos as often as possible, (and Scott found one), this song demands the original clip to be fully understood. This was big budget film and as you would expect, has excellent audio and video.

 

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