51 Weeks: 51 Songs From The Past: Week 11: Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer

1986 is one of my favourite years. It’s the year I moved to live and work in London and where I’d spend the next 27 years of my life partying (well, not quite every night). With that in mind, can you guess which year this week’s featured song is from?

51 weeks 51 songs from the past poster

Peter Gabriel did something amazing in 1986. Not only did he release ‘Sledgehammer’, but he also had put together a brilliant video to accompany the song, which would go on to win many awards.

I can’t even guess how long it must have taken to put the whole video together but, when it was first shown, I remember being captivated by it. However, unlike some other songs which I have shared with you in this feature, this video came with a song that was just as excellent as the video.

Although Sledgehammer only made it to the number one spot in Canada and the U.S.A, it became a worldwide hit helped, many would say, by the video that accompanied it. I was one that disagreed with that statement because I would have brought my copy of Sledgehammer even if I had not seen its video.

The song and video went on to win no less than ten awards in 1987, including best visual effects in a video. I wonder how such a video would fair in today’s world given the leaps we have made with special effects?

Thank you to everyone who left a link to a favourite song in the comments section of last week’s post. And a big thank you to Ruth, Marie, Barbara, Graeme, and Kat who all joined in with publishing a blog post of a favourite song.

Want to join Hugh in building up your 51 favourite songs from the past? Leave a link in the comments section below and showcase your next song.

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88 comments

  1. I remember this song! It was always a favorite. I don’t recall ever seeing the video but wow, that’s impressive! This is definitely a standout song of the 80’s. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Terri. I agree that this song and video are both iconic. It was my first choice of what to put on when selecting songs on a jukebox back on. I think some of the regulars got a bit fed up with hearing it.

  2. Love your choice of song Hugh. I have picked one from the same year 1986 – Take My Breath Away by Berlin. I still get goosebumps when I hear it.

    What great memories songs bring back don’t they?

    1. They do, Chris, and I’ve really enjoyed reading those memories that people have been sharing as part of this series.

      I loved the movie Top Gun. Your choice of song is certainly one I remember from my favourite year.

    1. I had a tough choice deciding which song of Peter’s to select for this series, Walt, and this was one of the songs I had in mind. Only beaten because ‘Sledgehammer’ had that brilliant video.
      Thanks for choosing it, though.

  3. The video was special, haven’t seen it in a while. Loved him, with or without a group. That was a special year for me as well, birth of my son. Thanks, Hugh, great choice !!!

  4. I hated all prog rock, esp Genesis, Wishbone Trash and Floyd in the early 70s then met Linda and realised that wouldn’t wash. So my love affair with Gabriel was a compromise. I remember being astonished by the video – reminds a bit of how i reacted to Max Headroom when he came out – I didn’t think it could be bettered but then it was, over and over again. Smiles all round..

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