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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crowther

What links Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper and violinist Steve Bingham?


Well, Solsbury Hill is a track on Peter Gabriel’s impressive debut solo album called Peter Gabriel. Salsbury Hill was released as a single, a Top 20 hit no less. It is arguably the best song on the album. Although Gabriel is not a religious man, the lyrics describe a ‘spiritual experience’ he felt at the top of Solsbury Hill in Somerset:

 

‘Climbing up on Solsbury Hil lI could see the city light Wind was blowing, time stood still Eagle flew out of the night.’ 

 

Gabriel’s description of the song’s ‘meaning’ has an undeniably Zen quality: ‘it was about ‘being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go.’

 

Listening to Steve Bingham’s wonderful performance of the song (transcribed by Rowan Alfred with Chris Brannick on percussion), I thought the song seemed to miss a beat in many bars. There was an irregular grouping; 7/4 or 7/8 (I think). And this works intuitively with the unsettled undercurrent of the song’s narrative.

 

See what you think: Solsbury Hill

 

 So, what is the answer. It’s a trick question; there are two…

 

1.  As the clip demonstrates, Steve Bingham is performing a transcription of Peter Gabriel’s Solsbury Hill. The song and the album were produced by Bob Ezrin. Ezrin produced the excellent early Alice Cooper albums (Love it to Death, School’s Out, Killer and Billion Dollar Babies) before the Goth-man lost his soul and found The Lord.

 

2.  Only one of the three will be performing at the Late Music Concert series on Saturday 3 February (1.00pm): Steve Bingham

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