Lost in the ’80s: Peter Gabriel, “Out Out”

After dipping his toe into the mainstream with his fourth album, Security, and its Top 40 hit, “Shock the Monkey,” it’s only natural that Peter Gabriel would continue to experiment fusing funk with world music and new wave.  What’s unnatural is that he would wait three years to do it on an album of his own, instead spending that time contributing new tracks to wildly inappropriate movie soundtracks.

For example, who would ever expect the man who used to dress up as a giant daisy and sing art-rock epics with Genesis in the ’70s to later record a song for the soundtrack to Hard to Hold, Rick Springfield’s cinematic debut?  Or equally perplexing, to offer another funk collaboration, this time co-produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers, to the Gremlins soundtrack?

But that’s just what Gabriel did.  Nestled snugly in the midst of the soundtrack for a big-budget Hollywood flick about cuddly little furry creatures who became demonic terrors when wet sits “Out Out,” (download) co-produced with Nile Rodgers.  “Out Out” is a seven-minute funk effort that foretells future Gabriel hits like “Sledgehammer,” “Big Time,” and “Steam.”  While it’s a decent tune, it is seven friggin’ minutes long.  A nice single edit may have given Gabriel his second Top 40 hit in two years, but as it was, he had to wait another three years, when “Sledgehammer” would top the charts.

Before then, Gabriel would produce more soundtrack work for far headier films such as Birdy and The Last Temptation of Christ, the tracks much more ambient and New Age-y than “Out Out’s” pop/funk (he would also win a Grammy for Best New Age Performance for Passion).  Of course, Gabriel hit it big in 1986 with So, finally becoming a mainstream pop star, only to retreat a bit with later efforts.

Old habits die hard, though, since we’ve recently heard another Gabriel contribution to a big-budget, mainstream movie with kid-appeal … the closing theme to Wall-E.

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  • http://www.popdose.com Ted

    While “Out Out” sounds like a bit of a toss off, I actually like “Down To Earth” off the Wall-E soundtrack. However, I've never heard the song off the Springfield soundtrack, but you're right about his collaboration with Rick being perplexing.

  • Old_Davy

    People talk about Madonna and David Bowie always changing their styles but I put Peter Gabriel #1 as the ultimate musical chameleon. Madonna does whatever is fashionable at the moment, and Bowie tries (sometimes struggles) to be shocking and controversial. Gabriel, on the other hand, seems to have a great love and respect for many styles of music, and changes his style to suit his own changing tastes.

    If anyone needs to have a good legit rarities collection, it is Peter Gabriel.

  • Pete

    One of my favorite Gabriel tracks is “Walk Through the Fire”, which was relegated to b-side status on the “Red Rain” twelve inch.

  • http://www.popdose.com Ted

    I think that song was originally on the Against All Odds soundtrack.

  • Pete

    Wow-totally correct. I had no idea. I only knew the Phil Collins song from that film.

  • Pete

    Turns out the soundtrack version is completely different, and it was remixed for single release (which appears to have only come out as a promo in U.S.). The remixed version is well worth seeking out.

  • JohnHughes

    Wow – would love to hear that. Like I say, a tight single edit would improve it big time (har, har, punny).

  • Pete

    Turns out the soundtrack version is completely different, and it was remixed for single release (which appears to have only come out as a promo in U.S.). The remixed version is well worth seeking out.

  • JohnHughes

    Wow – would love to hear that. Like I say, a tight single edit would improve it big time (har, har, punny).

  • Pete

    Turns out the soundtrack version is completely different, and it was remixed for single release (which appears to have only come out as a promo in U.S.). The remixed version is well worth seeking out.

  • JohnHughes

    Wow – would love to hear that. Like I say, a tight single edit would improve it big time (har, har, punny).

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  • Robt C

    Last Temptation…came after So