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Billboard #1 Hits: #603: ‘Sledgehammer’- Peter Gabriel. July 26, 1986. #1 for 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.

  • Single: ‘Sledgehammer’- Peter Gabriel
  • Record Company-Warner Bros
  • Genre: Rock
  • Written by Peter Gabriel
  • Time: 4:58
  • B-side: ‘Don’t Break This Rhythm’
  • Album- So
  • Grade: A+
  • Peaked at #1 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.

The week before ‘Invisible Touch’ by Genesis was #1- Peter Gabriel formerly of Genesis- knocks it out of the top spot. ‘Sledgehammer’ would be Gabriel’s biggest hit. Not a big singles artist- Gabriel would have 11 Hot 100 singles with 5 making the Top 40 from 1977-92. The video for the song won a record nine MTV Video Awards and the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards.

The song was influenced by 1960’s soul music- Gabriel would comment-

“It’s probably about three years old… I was playing at that time with the idea of doing an album full of soul songs – mainly other people’s, but maybe a couple of my own. I’m still tempted, although probably that would be construed as an even greater sell-out. But, as a teenager, soul music was one of the things that made me want to be a musician. It was really passionate and exciting… Wayne Jackson, who plays on that track, was also with Otis Redding and was touring with him when I saw them in London. So that was a thrill for me, just to get a whole lot of fan stories. But I think the song was more influenced by many of those Stax and Atlantic tracks rather than Otis particularly.” – Peter Gabriel, July 1986

9 responses to “BILLBOARD #1 HITS: #603: ‘SLEDGEHAMMER’- PETER GABRIEL – JULY 26, 1986

  1. Great song and really creative video – it was nice to see someone at the time trying to use the video as something more than just an ad for the band or a live performance – compare this one to the Genesis one for Invisible Touch that you just featured

  2. I loved that tune from the very first time I heard it back in the ’80s and still do. It’s certainly one of Peter Gabriel’s most accessible tunes. The video is also very memorable.

    I saw Gabriel live in Cologne during the tour that supported the “So” album – definitely one of the better shows I’ve been to!

  3. One of my fave songs of that decade and still probably the best video … it might not have been as big without the MTV attention, but it’s a great song, great album and I was very happy to see him rise to the next level in sales and popularity with it.

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