Gabriel’s World

Paul Hegarty is working on a volume for the Reverb series, provisionally titled Peter Gabriel: Global Citizen (forthcoming, 2017). The book will look at the multifaceted performance aesthetic of Gabriel, with a particular focus on the way its lyrical / thematic concerns, and its performance contexts, trace an increasingly outward movement that extends from home, to the world and, ultimately, towards the idea of network.

In the four decades since his emergence as singer and performer with Genesis, Gabriel’s career has famously encompassed not only recordings and live performance, but also innovations in staging and video, and a long-standing engagement with world music, which have all driven the singer’s artistic development and embrace of the global potential of music.

In this context, Paul Hegarty hopes to show, Gabriel’s career can be seen as a connected sequence of innovations within which he has persistently acted as a harbinger of how technology impacts on the ways in which we understand the local and the global. From the multimedia performances of Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway to his work developing the internet music streaming service ‘We7’ (now renamed Blinkbox), via the promotion of ‘world music’ and his use of music video, Gabriel repeatedly worked in ways that would re-set the terms of musical production as a means of exploring the changing situation of media, individuals, artists and listeners / viewers.



PAUL HEGARTY is Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of French at University College, Cork. His previous books include Jean Baudrillard: Live Theory (New York: Continuum, 2004), Noise/Music: A History (New York: Continuum, 2007), and (with Martin Halliwell) Beyond and Before: Progressive Rock since the 1960s (New York: Continuum, 2011). He has written about music in the monthly magazine The Wire, and also for The Guardian. He is involved in music, noise and sound art, under the names Safe, Trace, La Société des Amis du Crime, and The Phil Collins Project, and also makes installations and sound art under his own name.


By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.