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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Thursday's Connector of the Day: Peter Gabriel

January 20th, 2010
05:24 PM ET

Known as one of the most flamboyant lead singers of a rock band, Peter Gabriel hasn't left the limelight since he stepped into fame with his group Genesis.

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/20/peter.gabriel.art.gi.jpg caption ="Peter Gabriel is releasing a new solo album titled, Scratch my Back."]

The Englishman rose to fame during the 1970s after founding the group with friends in 1967.

Gabriel was well known for his lavish costumes and odd storytelling routines before performing songs at concerts and after nearly eight years with the band, he left the group to try his hand at a solo career.

It wasn't until his hit song, Sledgehammer, slammed its way to the top of the charts in 1986 that he cemented his fame as a solo artist.

During the 1980s he helped establish the now internationally known WOMAD festival to give world music a greater stage.

Gabriel is also well known for his humanitarian work around the world. In 2007, he joined forces with Richard Branson to bring together a group of well known statesmen from around the world to try and help solve some of the world's problems.

The group which is called "The Elders" currently has Desmond Tutu, Graça Machel, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson, Muhammad Yunus, and Aung San Suu Kyi as members.

Gabriel also started an organization called Witness, which empowers people to use technology as a way to transform stories of abuse into tools for justice.

With a new album called "Scratch my Back" out this march, Gabriel continues to challenge conventional music genres.

The album features interpretations of songs originally by Radiohead, Neil Young, Arcade Fire, and Lou Reed.

Gabriel described this as a very personal record with 12 songs performed only with orchestral instruments and voice.

Here's your chance to ask Gabriel a question.

Perhaps you were a fan from the 1970s and want to know what it was really like to be part of Genesis or maybe you want to know how music and politics are connected. Do you want to know what Gabriel is doing to help in the Haiti earthquake relief effort?

Please ask your questions below.

Filed under:  General
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. allie mcneil

    Do U have Contacts(Relief)Agencies in PAP-Haiti-Am an RN working to get MedicalPeople to Haiti-Neurosurgeons-can U help.Am on twitter @watergatesummer.ThankU

    January 20, 2010 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  2. Ed Leaders

    One of my favorite songs by Genesis was Land of Confusion. Do you agree it appears to apply now, more than ever, to our world situation?

    I would love to see it re-released only to a new video showing what is REALLY happening in the world.

    Like what MJ did with Earth Song I believe you could make Land of Confusion magical and get people thinking about the opportunities we have to improve our experiences on spaceship Earth.

    January 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  3. Gustavo Diaz

    Hi Peter, I´m diaz from Brazil, long time genesis and solo fan!
    would like to know when we brazilians would have the chance to see a Peter Gabriel concert in Brazil??
    Can wait to listen to the new album!
    best regards

    January 20, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  4. Gustavo Diaz

    would like to add my commente that Land of Confusion
    was NOT recorded by Peter Gabriel, it is indeed a Genesis, Phil Collins era song!

    January 20, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Reply
  5. Mark J.

    Hi Peter,
    I hope this note finds you well. i'm a filmmaker based in Canada. I'm primarily a documentary maker although now i'm making dramas, one being an upcoming biopic about the Nigerian anti-oil activist Ken Saro-Wiwa (i was lucky enough to call him friend). I worked for years with Anita Roddick at the Body Shop international on her campaigning and she inspired me to try and tell these stories. we're getting close to making the film and i've always thought of approaching you about the music for the film but also to talk about where we might get support for the film. Anyways, crazy shot in the dark. Probably best to come to you through an old pal, Rolf Engel. But i stumbled upon this while checking the news. all the best,
    Mark Johnston.

    January 20, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  6. Didier

    Dear Peter,

    I am a fan of both your career within Genesis and your solo career. I find you are a very unique artist who constantly challenges himself and are very very creative indeed.
    I've read that Genesis has been nominated for the next Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Will you attend and do you plan to perform a couple of songs with your friends of Genesis on that occasion? I know you don't like the idea of "going back to school" as you said many times when referring to the possibility of a Reunion thing, also that it required a lot of rehearsing. But an accoustic version of "Carpet Crawlers" for instance does not look like that too much of a deal from my modest point of view. The fans would be sooo delighted !
    To finish : I'll be attending your concert in London end of March. Will you play "Solsbury Hill"? Our 8 years old son will go to the concert, which will be his first ever and that song is his favorite ! Thanks !

    January 20, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Reply
  7. Keira

    Good afternoon/evening:

    I would like to know - if you were to put together a music festival (either as a benefit or just as a profit-making venue), which 5 CURRENT (or modern - no Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc) performers/musical acts would you select and why?

    January 20, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Reply
  8. DJ Woolley

    Dear Peter Gabriel,
    If yo could go back in time and speak with your younger self (perhaps performing at the The Fox in Croyden), would you do it, and if so, what would you say?

    January 21, 2010 at 4:50 am | Reply
  9. Rael Matrix

    Any Genesis Reunion chance? When? Otherwise, why not?

    January 21, 2010 at 5:49 am | Reply
  10. Schnapps, from Belgium

    Hi Peter

    How far are you with your next personal song record, I/O ? Do you intend to release it end of this year?
    Also, if you don't think "Son of Ovo" is worth an album as a real release, why don't you release it through Itunes or the moonclub?
    Thank you

    January 21, 2010 at 9:00 am | Reply
  11. Okocha samuel

    I jst wish u d best of all coz isn't easy knowing wat u ve in u. Appreciate d fact dat u ve seen urs. Keep doing wat u knw how 2 do best, one day we all will attain 2 d stage re now.

    January 21, 2010 at 10:28 am | Reply
  12. Oduwa

    I would luv 2 know at wat age would u stop singin?

    January 21, 2010 at 10:50 am | Reply
  13. Pamela

    Thanks fo the music, have enjoyed over the years. Looking forward to the new album.

    January 21, 2010 at 11:29 am | Reply
  14. John

    Why did you give up on putting albums out in other languages?

    January 21, 2010 at 11:41 am | Reply
  15. Dave

    Have you ever seen the Genesis cover band The Musical Box?

    What do you think of them?

    January 21, 2010 at 11:49 am | Reply
  16. John from Greece

    Hi Peter!
    Looking forward to the new album.
    Any chance of a reunion with Genesis for old time's sake? The project was shelved due to work commitments. Is it something we can look forward to at some point in the future as a contemporary interpretation of what once was?
    All the best, John

    January 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  17. scherif

    You composed the music for The Last Temptation of Christ film which still sounds mystical & vigorous today as it did twenty years ago. It was no easy feat to toggle between many variant musical styles & come up with this beautiful timeless album,
    did you know it would endure for so long while making it? what was the main inspiration behind it, besides the musicians you worked with on it?
    Thank you

    January 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Reply
  18. Chip Stewart

    'One', unified, global disaster task force, funded by all of us.
    Do the 'Elder's' believe this can be accomplished?
    (Sledgehammer, now stuck in my head again.......thanks!)

    January 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  19. Emmanuel

    Hey Peter! What got you listening to world music in the first place? Any particular song/artist? Best regards!

    January 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  20. Roberto

    Life long fan!!!! i have attended two of your concerts, one in Mexico City where you surprised us with a duo along with Sinead O'Connor... fantastic.
    I am now in the middle east and was wondering when your next album tour will begin and if you are planning on stopping in Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Lots of luck amigo

    January 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  21. Alain Archambault

    what an honor for me to have this opportunity, I am a long time dedicated fan from Montréal. you still have the best voice, my favorite song is "I have the touch".I also admire the causes you stand for.

    January 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Reply
  22. Brent Kurkoski

    Hi Peter,

    Although a host of your songs I find speak to me, "In Your Eyes" is one of my all-time favorite songs. It still makes me quiver when I sit silently to listen to it as it articulates (for me) both Eros and Agape love. I'd like to ask what initially inspired you to write it and what, if anything, influenced its evolution when writing it.



    January 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  23. Leonie

    Thank u for some great music and more .......

    January 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  24. rick armstrong

    My son was asked 2 years ago (age 11) to write about a current event that effected his age group. He wrote a song for his piano called YOU.

    Its about War and Fright and in the end its actually an uplifting son. With a message of hope.

    Its been properly recorded and we'd like to send it to you personally – is that possible?

    January 21, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Reply
  25. Proton

    You da man. Thanks for all your amazing work. Keep on rockin. :-}

    January 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  26. steve middelmann

    Hi Peter,

    "Can you tell me where my country lies.....?" Selling England by the Pound – Genesis 1973

    Once upon a time you sang of the theft of England via commercialisation and credit.........Imagine, here we are, 35 years later, and you seem to be pretty cozy with the same one world "crew" who were behind that destruction.

    Is the answer behind the 32nd door?

    Steve Middelmann

    January 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  27. steve middelmann

    ...or maybe 37 years

    January 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  28. Hazim

    Dear Peter,

    I found myself stuck next to a broken down cab in 1983 while taking a trip from one small town to another on a desert road, basically in the middle of nowhere in Egypt. I decided to walk a bit to get some shade at a tiny stall, while standing there i saw your MELT album and decided to get it and that was the begining of a long and enjoyable trip and great music down the years. Thank You.

    If u decide to visit the middle east look me up.

    January 21, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  29. Roberto B.

    Hi Peter,
    Cogratulations on your great work, enjoyed by many of us.
    What would be the single, most important political change that would reshape the world, in a positve way, in the next decade?

    January 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  30. Majid Nashtai

    Dear Mr Gabriel,
    A few years ago, at an Elder´s meeting, I watched Bishop Desmond Tutu , quite understandably, weeping like a child while you were singing Biko.

    Are you , yourself, aware that both your voice and music play such an extraordinary role in evoking the human emotions?

    Island of Madeira

    January 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  31. Wawanjabrik

    dear peter, Glad to see more celebrities taking part in world and social problem aid. I would like to ask you What would you do to some war minded world leaders to promote "live in harmony" campaign? Keep a good work. Thanks.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  32. Kevin B.

    Dear Peter,

    I've had the pleasure of seeing you perform live several times over the decades, but my absolute favorite was the mind-blowing set you played at the closing night of the Conspiracy of Hope Tour at Giants Stadium in 1986 (I was only 17 at the time, but it made an incredible emotional impression on me). I was wondering if there was any chance in Hell that the audio of your performance from that concert will ever be remastered / released publicly so that fans like me can re-live that amazing moment?

    Lookin' forward to the new stuff,


    P.S. – I'd also like to say "Happy Birthday" (in advance of the actual date), as we were both born on the same day.

    January 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  33. Oscar Sarquiz

    Hi, Peter. What is your present perception and/or involvement with 'World Music' artists, if any? Will you ever come back on board this great ship you so fruitfully helped to set afloat? You are exemplary, and we all thank you for it! Can't wait to hear your 'covers' album!

    January 21, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Reply
  34. william cline

    Mr. Gabriel,

    I have no question for you, I just want to thank you for all the great music and all the wonderful humanitarian work you have provided for all the people in the world. You are a living legend.

    William Cline

    January 21, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  35. Chris

    After two letter full length studio album titles like "So", "Us", "Up", why "Scratch My Back"?

    Can't wait. 🙂

    By the way, "Us" is simply devastatingly incredible. Thank you for that album at that time in my life. It always transports me sideways into another, younger orbit of my days.

    Life is too short. Sometimes I count the years in terms of how many Gabriel Albums there have been. It has been an honor simply being on this planet while you made music.

    January 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  36. Kristen Primrose

    Hi Peter –

    Thanks for "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" and all of your solo albums. It was the music that brought my college sweetheart & I together. We just married on the 4th of July after reuniting 24 yrs later. We always listen to your music when we're off on a roadtrip somewhere, driving along, it makes us feel like we're 19 yrsd old again.

    My question...You seem to be a fan of technology, but are you at all concerned about it's negative impact on the human race? Lack of personal accountability, empathy, loss of understanding the simple joys in life, etc. ??

    Anxiously awaiting the next cd...

    January 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  37. Ricardo

    Dear Mr. Gabriel... what are your favorite records and your favorite songs? (yours and form other artists)

    I’m a big fan of your music, and fully endorse your personal stands.

    Saludos y cariño desde México

    January 21, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  38. Justin S.

    Hi Peter – been a huge fan ever since discovering Foxtrot many years ago. was wondering, would you consider yourself a religious person?

    January 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  39. watcher59

    Hi Peter,
    Stop running. Stop searching yourself. New blood coming but it will not feed our veins. Firth of fifth river still flowing into our bodies.
    You belong to the music and you belong to us. The 5th part of soul should meet again the 4 missing parts left in 1975 and let the magic comes out again. Your future is your past.

    January 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Reply
  40. Dan Lesnick

    Greetings Peter – A lot has changed over the last 10 years with how musicians record music. Many up and coming enthusiasts now use
    computer recording programs and virtual instruments such as pro tools, logic, ssl, native instruments... right in the confines of their bedroom. Some musicians, producers, and engineers find this very hindering to the creative process and end result because of limitless exploration and lack of human element. You have always been
    ahead of the curve in this area. What are your thoughts on the
    current and future state of recording technology?

    Looking forward to the new album! Please release more albums
    in 5.1!

    Thanks Dan

    January 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  41. Rima

    Hello Peter,

    Good to see you once again performing for a cause.
    What is like to work with other artists? Is it a challenge since they don't share the same musical genre?
    Try to make to Lebanon...we will be glad to see u ..oh wait..I got a friend he is soooooooooooooooo fan of your music ..he is in delaware..he would be sooo glad to see you there...Would u try to make there?

    January 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  42. Gabor Fulop


    thank you so much for the experience throughout the yeears of so many masterpieces, such as "Sledgehammer", "In Your Eyes", "Don't Give Up" just to pick some from the "So" album. I hope that you'll never give up singing, performing. You are a musical diamond...

    One of Your fans,

    January 21, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  43. Nsinke John

    I need d latest updates in ur news

    January 21, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  44. melodyof1974

    Hello Peter,

    It's been a long time. I worked on the Womad tour you did all those years ago in the States. Looking forward to the new album. I see that you will be playing Montreal and hope you make it to Detroit on this short tour.

    Congrats on being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of fame. Maybe you and the boys can play Carpet Crawlers. That might satisfy "Rael Matrix" request for a Genesis reunion, and mine.

    Lots of Love

    January 21, 2010 at 6:54 pm | Reply
  45. Nolly

    Hello peter, when is the album coming out.hope u gonna scratch my back soon.can't wait to see the album.one love.

    January 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  46. Thabang machile

    In the song " In your eyes" there's a part where you sing in some language. It goes something like;" so long... si bamba ... "I would like to know what language is that. Thabang, from Pretoria. R.S.A.

    January 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  47. Javier

    What was the initial idea that sparked The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway?

    January 21, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  48. SamCityluv

    For me i can't 2 see him on stage i luv him so much. just one track will turn me on...

    January 21, 2010 at 10:22 pm | Reply
  49. Béatrice

    I know you have a special relationship with Québec. Do you listen to québécois music ? What have you discovered from us lately ?
    A very long time fan, thanks for all the great music and live shows, can't wait to see you again. Béatrice in Montréal.

    January 21, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Reply
  50. Elijah

    Mr peter,how many albums do u av 2 ur credit. Secondly,hw many Grammy awards av u won.thirdly,ur opinion on d demise of Micheal Jackson.thks

    January 21, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  51. Owolabi omobolanle

    Hi peter, just want 2 no d zeal behind ur music.I also want to no why u av interest in what is going on in d world,n what u r trying 2 achieve.God bless.

    January 22, 2010 at 1:42 am | Reply
  52. Paul

    In what mood will you be in other write a Song.

    January 22, 2010 at 5:32 am | Reply
  53. Dr RatstaR

    Hello Peter,

    Thanks for all the great music over the years.

    A question for the Elders; do you agree that preaching the use of birth control is the only way to solve our problems?

    It seems to me like everyone is trying to treat the symptoms, but no one will address the disease called overpopulation.

    January 22, 2010 at 5:45 am | Reply
  54. Ogonna

    Hi Peter,
    Is Ogonna from Nigeria, i will like to knw the picture you're trying to paint in your up coming album, "scratch my back" and why do u have alot of attachment to politics?

    January 22, 2010 at 6:12 am | Reply
  55. Pete Murphy

    Hello Peter..

    Like many I am a long time fan from the early days...The new cd sounds interesting I am sure your covers of the tunes will do them justice...

    I live on Vancouver Island Canada .. It would be great to see you here some day...Check out " Vancouver Island music fest" as a cool possible venue if not Victoria or Vancouver would do ...we seldom get to see you perform out this way....Cheers and all the best in 2010 !!

    Pete Murphy
    Courtenay BC

    January 22, 2010 at 6:29 am | Reply
  56. Okusanya bamiro

    How is rock music been easy for u, and i want u to give me some advice about how to set my self up, because am also a musician i base on rnb, pls i need ur advice sir.

    January 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  57. selder Allwell

    i like music in a special way so thanks to all musicians

    January 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  58. Ugboaja chibuezd

    Hi peter, does age have any influance on musiciance.?

    January 25, 2010 at 2:46 am | Reply
  59. Victor

    Where can i get ur album

    January 25, 2010 at 8:16 am | Reply
  60. Samketi

    Hey u rock legend,walk tall.Ur involvement in politics whilst singing is amazing.

    January 27, 2010 at 3:40 am | Reply
  61. e6n1

    So. Best 80's album ever.

    February 3, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Reply

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