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Peter Gabriel – Solsbury Hill Lyrics 7 years ago
Anybody who knows Peter Gabriel knows that he likes to take personal experiences of his own (even those in dreams) and write songs about them. But he is so good at hiding the exact meaning. He is never quite literal with anything which means many of his songs have a personal meaning to him just like they may have a completely different personal meaning to you.

So Solsbury Hill could essentially be about anything you want it to be about. But to Peter Gabriel it is about his decision to leave Genesis. He has made this quite clear. You could go line by line and it all makes perfect sense considering the situation he was in at the time.

He was fed up with the industry and life as a rock star in general. He was being thrust out as the star of a group whose works had actually been evenly divided between the 5 members. Because he and his costumes were the focal point of live shows, everyone assumed Peter wrote all the music, all the lyrics, set up the stage, and that the rest of the band were just his backing band. This was far from the truth and Gabriel hated the attention.

But as much as he hated the attention at first, he was beginning to enjoy it, which was taking him away from his audience. He no longer got the butterflies before shows. The music didn't touch him the way it used to. He felt as though he was just going through the motions. He didn't like what he was becoming. "To keep in silence, I resigned."

Besides all these internal things, Genesis was getting on his nerves as well. He refers to Genesis as "the machinery." It was a constant cycle of write, record, tour, write, record, tour. etc... They would schedule gigs non-stop with hardly any breaks. There was no room for freedom. Gabriel hated knowing exactly where he was going to be in 18 months, as he did with Genesis. He said Genesis was like the army. You had to turn up to the studio every morning at 9am and you were either 100% committed or you weren't at all. "I walked right out of the machinery."

On top of that, the band had decided to write a concept album - The Lamb. Gabriel wanted to give this album a little bit of "balls", as he puts it, and no one else in the band was going to deliver that. He also felt that a concept album, AKA a story, should be written by one person. It needs one clear and coherent direction, which their democratic system of writing could not accomplish. This pissed off the other band members. Gabriel was beginning to realize that he could not last for long being "tied down to the old hierarchy." His creative ambitions were exceeding those of the rest of the band.

The tipping point came during the writing for "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway." Gabriel's wife was going through a horrible pregnancy and they didn't think his daughter was going to survive. So Peter was making these long trips back and forth between London and where the band were writing and recording out in the middle of nowhere England. This meant that he was absent during much of the writing. The band were writing music in one room while Peter was writing lyrics to what was already there in another room or wasn't there at all to attend to his wife. No one else in the band had been married or had kids at this point (besides Phil Collins) and so they didn't understand. They were mad because Peter was gone all the time. Peter was mad because to him there was no question what his priorities were. It was a matter of life and death for him. His family was far more important than writing an album. The band could not understand this and that really pissed Peter off. "So I went from day to day, though my life was in a rut. Til' I thought of what I'd say, which connection I should cut." "No one taught them etiquette."

After leaving Genesis, Gabriel felt a sense of jealousy. He wasn't sure what he was going to do with his life at the time (he didn't begin his solo career right away, not until 1977). He wanted out of the music industry as a whole. His pride got the best of him when he saw Genesis having greater success without him and decided to get back in, but this time on his own terms, doing his own thing.

And the rest is history.....

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