Monday, March 21, 1977

Peter Gabriel “Solsbury Hill” released

Solsbury Hill

Peter Gabriel

Writer(s): Peter Gabriel (see lyrics here)


Released: March 21, 1977


First Charted: April 9, 1977


Peak: 68 US, 81 CB, 80 HR, 2 CL, 3 CO, 13 UK, 92 CN, 45, AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 68.91 video, 168.93 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Peter Gabriel was one of the founding members of Genesis in 1967. The English progressive-rock band didn’t get much attention in the United States, but built a following in the UK, eventually garnering top-10 albums with 1973’s Selling England by the Pound and 1974’s The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Then frontman Peter Gabriel, who’d largely given the band its identity with outlandish stage costumes, left.

The band’s drummer, Phil Collins, stepped up to the mic and led Genesis toward a more commercial sound and worldwide success. Gabriel launched a solo career, focusing on more experimental, alternative rock, and eventually world music. He would also find unexpected commercial success in 1986 with So and the #1 song “Sledgehammer,” one of the most celebrated and viewed videos of all time.

His career started, however, in 1977 with “Solsbury Hill,” the lead single from his self-titled debut. Much like Genesis’ early years, the song didn’t get much attention in the U.S. where it peaked at 68, but it was a top-20 hit in the UK. It has become “a radio staple on various formats and remains popular.” SF

The song “is a partly enigmatic, partly autobiographical personal statement that stands as one of the most immaculate pop/rock songs of the late ‘70s.” BB It has been viewed as a statement about his departure from Genesis and the anticipation of his solo career ahead. He explained that it was “about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get…It’s about letting go.” WK He was inspired by a spiritual experience at Little Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England. WK

Musically the “7/4 stomp of ‘Solsbury Hill’ is one of its indelible and striking features, that feeling of a beat missing in every measure giving the song a constant sense of struggle.” BB “The song hits the ground running – launching right into its primary guitar riff, with its groove already in cruise control by the end of the first measure.” BB


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First posted 8/7/2022.

Tuesday, March 8, 1977

Foreigner released its debut album

First posted 4/6/2008; updated 10/17/2020.

Foreigner

Foreigner


Released: March 8, 1977


Peak: 4 US, -- UK, 9 CN, 9 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.1 UK, 6.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Feels Like the First Time (3/26/77, 4 US, 2 CL, 39 UK, 7 CN, 41 AU)
  2. Cold As Ice (7/23/77, 6 US, 1 CL, 24 UK, 9 CN, 32 AU)
  3. Starrider (23 CL)
  4. Headknocker (23 CL)
  5. The Damage Is Done
  6. Long, Long Way from Home (12/10/77, 20 US, 7 CL, 22 CN, 70 AU)
  7. Woman Oh Woman
  8. At War with the World
  9. Fool for You Anyway (47 CL)
  10. I Need You


Total Running Time: 38:46


The Players:

  • Lou Gramm (vocals, percussion)
  • Mick Jones (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
  • Ian McDonald (guitar, backing vocals, saxophone, keyboards)
  • Al Greenwood (keyboards)
  • Ed Gagliardi (bass)
  • Dennis Elliott (drums)

Rating:

3.719 out of 5.00 (average of 16 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“Although punk rock’s furious revolution threatened to overthrow rock’s old guard in 1977, bands like Foreigner came along and proved that there was plenty of room in the marketplace for both the violent, upstart minimalism of punk and the airbrushed slickness of what would be called ‘arena rock.’ Along with Boston, Journey, Heart, and others, Foreigner celebrated professionalism over raw emotion.” AMG

“Looking back, it’s easy to see why they sold millions; not everyone in the world was pissed off, dissatisfied with the economy, or even necessarily looking for a change. In fact, for most suburban American teens, Foreigner’s immaculate rock sound was the perfect soundtrack for cruising through well-manicured neighborhoods in their Chevy Novas. The album spawned some of the biggest FM hits of 1977, including the anthemic Feels Like the First Time and Cold as Ice, both of which were anchored – like most of Foreigner’s songs – by the muscular but traditional riffing of guitarist Mick Jones, the soaring vocals of Lou Gramm, and the state-of-the-art rock production values of the day, which allowed the band to sound hard but polished. As pure rock craftsmanship goes, Foreigner was as good as it got in the late ‘70s.” AMG


Notes: A 2002 reissue included demos of “Feels Like the First Time,” “Woman Oh Woman,” “At War with the World,” and “Take Me to Your Leader.”

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