Shaking the Tree: 16 Golden Greats
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Product Description

Peter Gabriel has never been one to stand on tradition. The former Genesis singer bends and hammers fashionable pop forms to his liking ( la his massive MTV-fueled hit "Sledgehammer") or uses the obligatory soundtrack assignment to explore the world music that has been his obsession for decades (as in "Zaar" from Passion). This 16-track anthology explores the width--and, crucially, depth--of Gabriel's rich post-Genesis music, from the post-prog obliquities of "Solsbury Hill" and "Here Comes the Flood" to the African musical and political concerns of the title track (available only on this collection) and the epic "Biko." But what makes the compilation even more compelling is the way it eschews the chronology of its decade-plus body of music, instead weaving and segueing Gabriel's music into a tapestry of compelling mood and color. It's a rewarding listening experience for fan and novice alike. --Jerry McCulley

Customer Reviews:

  • A Great Collection of Great Music
    "Shaking The Tree" is an excellent collection of the talented singer and songwriter's music. Much of his best released work is her, along with newer versions of some of his songs.

    This collection has "Solsbury Hill," "Sledgehammer," "San Jacinto," "Mercy Street," "Don't Give Up," and others. An unreleased standout is the alternate version of " I Have The Touch," a rare case when the alternate version far exceeds the original.

    Truly, "In Your Eyes," and later Gabriel songs like "Steam" and "The Blood of Eden" aren't on here, but this collection is a great collection nonetheless, and is a great beginning primer for new fans of Gabriel's work....more info
  • Because of Biko
    I wouldn't pretend to be a music critic or even a Peter Gabriel affectionado. I bought the CD entirely because of one song: Biko. To me, this is the ultimate statement by any artist ever of what being an artist is all about. And, above all else, it's about caring what happens in the world. Nothing I have ever read, seen or heard expresses that caring more eloquently or more powerfully than Biko. I'm almost ashamed to say I haven't even listened to any of the other songs on the CD (though, like most casual listeners, I am at least marginally familar with his work). I owe it to his artistry to listen to the rest of the CD; and I will some day. Just not yet....more info
  • Peter Gabriel C.D.
    The C.D. is great - pity that the "jewel case" was badly cracked when I unpacked it!...more info
  • Good, but not perfect
    This Peter Gabriel compilation is a bit brief, but what is here is good. Some songs have been edited to a shorter form, but for the casual fan, it won't matter too much. I've always liked Peter Gabriel, his voice is hauntingly great. Also, the songs are out of sequence, which is a bit annoying, but at least they are here. If you like prog/art rock and 80's pop/rock this will be a nice listen....more info
  • Great memories
    This is a must have if you're a Peter Gabriel fan. Brings back a lot of fond memories for me....more info
  • Great CD
    This CD contains nearly all of Peter Gabriel's through the album "So" in 1986. Go through the track list, and you will likely find more than a few you've heard on the radio. A glaring ommission is Gabriels' most famous (and possibly best) song "In Your Eyes". Although you will find that at least a quarter of the sixteen tracks on this CD come from "So", that song is missing from this collection. For that reason, I knock a point off this "best of" collection....more info
  • Why no "In Your Eyes"? Well...
    First, I thought I'd help clarify the (ostensible) reasons behind some of the song choices on Shaking The Tree (alright everyone, let's get our trivia caps on!):

    Gabriel reportedly excluded "In Your Eyes" for two reasons; first of all, he just tired of it, disliking it as a millstone around his neck which misrepresented him and pigeonholed him. It became his "Creep," to make a wholly inappropriate analogy to a Radiohead song. In some sense I agree with this; I for one find it really annoying when I try to talk about Gabriel to my friends and all they know by him is that damned behemoth prom song. The second reason is a bit more personal: he wrote it about his wife Jill, and their marriage fell apart afterwards (Much of Us is based on the emotional turmoil in Gabriel's life during the period of his divorce, of course). So it was a little painful to revisit it, I suppose. I for one don't miss it much, as it never did a thing for me.

    As for the absence of tracks from Peter Gabriel 2, there are also two reasons for that. Firstly, both of the first two album were recorded for Atco, not Geffen, so there were licensing issues (apparently they didn't want to pay to include the songs). You'll notice that of the first two albums, only "Solsbury Hill" is here (really only because it would have been completely unacceptable to have a best-of compilation without it); "Here Comes The Flood" is a 1989 remake (which I prefer anyway; really haunting stuff). Second, he was really disappointed with both the tepid reception of the album and the production, which WAS a bit ropey and loose.

    Enough with the trivia, though, now onto my own worthless views! I LOVE this as a compilation (although it could easily be a double CD since there are some questionable omissions: "Modern Love?" "On The Air?" "Wallflower?" And we didn't need "San Jacinto!"); to me it's everything that a best-of should be. It's thoughtfully (though contentiously) selected, well-sequenced, and sweetened with bonus tracks and edits. That means a lot, too, as a bunch of songs here are slightly altered from the album versions: "Sledgehammer," "I Have The Touch," "Shock The Monkey," "Games Without Frontiers," "Zaar," "Mercy Street," etc, and in EVERY case the changes are for the better. "I Have The Touch" turned from an anonymous flat-as-yesterday's-Mr. Pibb song into some sort of percussive beast! And all it took was a new drum track. "Sledgehammer" is a lot more fun now that the wacky ersatz-flute intro has been cut out, too. Anyway, while this ISN'T a definitive compilation (I'd say you need the first & third albums as well), it's a damn fine listening experience in its own right, with the songs put together with each other in a way that makes you sit up and say "Hey! That Peter Gabriel, he was some writer, wasn't he?"

    And UP is finally out now! Go get it!...more info

  • Unbelievably great CD!
    Totally incredible, must have, worth twice the price! So many awesome songs!...more info
  • a solid heads up to you, the consumer
    the music here gets 4 big fat stars, the problem is... this is a remaster, a re-tweaking, a "hey, we almost got it down". a disc hold nearly 80 minutes so why, why, why shorten the songs? the word "re-mixed" is tagged onto several cuts here and in every case it only means we hacked out a bridge, an intro, an ending, or all three. un-acceptable. my other ... collector geek thang) beef with this thing is the tray numbering. each re-master has a big number under the tray, this being number nine.
    that means passion is eight and us is ten, do you know how annoying that is to collector nerds like myself? pretty DOG-GONE annoying....more info
  • Sounds much better remastered
    I always thought that "Shaking the Tree" (and any other Peter Gabriel album) deserved a remastering job. The sound on the original version of "Shaking the Tree" was alright but there was always room for improvement. Although there is no new songs on this album, I still wanted to get it because of the production sound. I must say that buying this album to replace my old copy was a vast improvement. The songs on this album have a much clearer sound like on "Family Snapshot" and "Mercy Street" (one of my more personal favorite Peter Gabriel songs ever). The production comes right at you. No matter how old some of these songs are, Peter Gabriel's music can never sound dated, especially the haunting ballad "Don't Give Up" (the duet Peter did with influential artist Kate Bush) and "Red Rain". I definitely plan on acquiring the remastered version of Peter's classic "So"....more info
  • Only for the most casual fans (and, ironically, completists)
    Though the songs on "Shaking the Tree" are undeniably strong, it is a woefully inadequate compilation. The material recorded by Peter Gabriel between 1977 (the debut album) until 1989 ("Passion") is too rich and diverse to be well-served by a single-disc compilation. One studio album (the second), isn't even represented, and neither is the live album, "Plays Live." And "In Your Eyes" is a gross omission. Gabriel's other hits are all here (except those from 1992's "Us") so those with only a lukewarm interest may be satisfied. But Peter Gabriel is not a singles artist. Anyone with a stronger interest is better off buying the individual records.

    In short, Peter Gabriel is an artist whose material should be slowly explored, not summed up in a brief greatest hits collection. Morever, the hits sound better in the artistic context of the original albums.

    Ironically, Peter Gabriel completists will have to buy "Shaking the Tree" anyway in order to obtain the title track, co-written and co-performed with Youssou N'Dour. Also, "Here Comes the Flood" is a new version with just piano and voice....more info

  • Lots of treasures grow on this tree
    The title of this collection is in my opinion, a relatively accurate title for this amazing collection. This CD came out in 1990 so it might be kind of obsolete but Gabriel has put out little music since 1992s US but this CD contains 16 excellent singles from 1977 through 1990. Indeed this CD is a great collection of 16 'Golden' greats because all the tracks are great.

    There are a few flaws to this album. That is it doesn't include 'In Your Eyes' off 1986s SO but while the selected tracks on here are 'golden' 'In Your Eyes' to me is more like a diamond track. I guess it wasn't all that bad to leave it off this CD so that SO can remain in print and sell well because putting that on here would've put almost all of SO's best tracks on here, making it almost a useless album but I guess In Your Eyes was left off to keep that album in print.

    Another flaw that dogs most 'Greatest Hits' CDs is the shortening of several tracks. First I Don't Remember is shortened so is Sledgehammer. The blazing rock ending of IDR kind of gets louder at the last 3 seconds before Sledgehammer. Sledgehammer on here has a slightly edited beat towards the ending and the track ends, instead of fading out on the parent album version.

    Finally there aren't even any tracks from the PG2: Scratch LP.

    Even with the flaws this collection is a wonderful set of 16 excellent tracks plus a new (at the time) song under the same title as this collection that features duet with Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour. It's an incredible colorful track with alot of Red Rain-esque keyboards and excellent drums.

    Two songs on here are diffferent from their parent album versions. Here Comes The Flood on here unlike the original is a stunningly beautiful piano solo. Gabriels singing is incredible on here. It's a delightful treat to hear this song in a whole different way from it's original version. In fact it's one of my favorite tracks off this collection. The other is a 1983 remix of 1982s I Have The Touch. The version on Security is much heavier with window rattling and pounding beats. The 1983 edit has lighter beats and different sequence of keyboards and more electronic sounds to it giving it more of a retro feel.

    This collection while far from perfect is a great album to get for the newbie fanbase as well as for the veteran fanbase. I say buy this album first and then gradually buy PGs entire catalog.

    I just want Mr. Gabriel to maybe soon release a collection of B-Sides and rarities because they should have been included on the remastered albums. And when is UP going to come out?...more info

  • Great Place to Start
    Sure..."In Your Eyes" is not on this collection. But "Red Rain", "Mercy Street", and "Don't Give Up" are. Point is - these songs are from the same studio album as "In Your Eyes" (_So_) and are just as good. But most people who casually know the work of Peter Gabriel might have never even heard them. And therefore, this is a successful "Best Of" album because it contains material that casual listeners have heard on the radio ("Sledgehammer", "Big Time", "Solsbury Hill") and other material that they are probably less familar with ("San Jacinto", "Here Comes the Flood", "Family Snapshot", and "I Don't Remember"). This was the first Gabriel album that I picked up and it made me go back and pick up his studio albums. The choices for the 'sixteen greats' are excellent. "Shaking The Tree" makes its first appearance here, as does a piano/vocal-only version of "Here Comes the Flood." If you're thinking of picking up this album because you've liked what you heard of Gabriel on the radio, you really can't go wrong with this collection....more info
  • Has Some Minor Flaws But It's Still Magnificent!
    I've been sort of hoping that the re-mastering of this best of catalogue would mean that a proper new album from Gabriel would be pretty imminent. Unfortunately that so far doesn't seem to be the case and all we have to keep us going is yet another soundtrack. This collection of songs takes from the mid-70's when he shocked the world by announcing he was leaving Genesis right up to his biggest selling album "So" which saw him have a new more commercial and very marketable direction and then on to the first of many dabblings in world music with the Youssou N'Dour collaboration. Unfortunately I think that this new collection could have been updated to include tracks from his incredible "Us" album in '93 and maybe a couple of tracks from his soundtracks to 'Birdy' and 'The Last Temptation Of Christ'. But that's just a minor quibble cos what we have here are 16 amazing tracks from one of the worlds most amazingly innovative artists.

    Gabriel was the driving force of Genesis, whose music has been the template for many groups nowadays not least Radiohead. His music has always been on the cutting edge. This c.d. goes from the quite raw beginnings of tracks like the acoustic driven "Solsbury Hill" with it's marvellous 'boom, boom,boom' end of chorus, and it goes right up to the lavish production of the Daniel Lanois produced 'So' album. The difference in quality is still quite startling despite all the re-mastering. Gabriel has of course become synonymous with 'World Music' nowadays what with his 'Real World' label giving new artists some great exposure. On this album he has two tracks with a distinctly African feel-his duet with the wonderful Youssou N'Dour on "Shaking The Tree" and of course "Biko". The latter track may not have any musical sounds from Africa but the sentiment of those lyrics brings back quite vividly the brutal regime of apartheid in South Africa. There is a slight Latino feel to early tracks like San Jacinto too.

    'So' is represented by 5 tracks here. "Sledgehammer" may have been one of M.T.V.'s earliest major hits but it's still a fine song without all the visuals of that amazing video. "Red Rain" is a beautiful track full of despair and lavish synth effects and is one of my favourite Gabriel songs. Then there's the marvellous duet with Kate Bush on "Don't Give Up" which reaches an amazing climax when the two voices practically merge on that almost gospel sounding bridge. "Big Time" is a funky sounding track which is full of fun and has an exciting bass line. In some ways I wish they'd taken "Shock The Monkey" and "Solsbury Hill" from the 'Gabriel Plays Live' album as to me they sound far more powerful and prove what a stunning live performer Gabriel is.
    This c.d. is perfect for those who do not want to shell out and get all of those early albums individually. Gabriel has long been one of the world's most innovative artists and while this collection may be playing it safe it's sort of an essential purchase. I just wish he'd hurry on and complete that new album-we've been waiting for nearly 10 years now!...more info

  • This Is The Picture.
    This isn't a good summary of Peter Gabriel's work. Yes, it does have many of his popular songs complete with album tracks, but important songs are missing such as "In Your Eyes", "Intruder", "The Rhythm Of The Heat", "D.I.Y.", "Mother Of Violence", "Moribund The Burgermeister" and of course, anything from 1992's "Us" like "Steam", "Digging In The Dirt", "The Blood Of Eden", etc. Also missing are key individual tracks from soundtracks like "Birdy", "Against All Odds" and later, "Philadelphia". What's even more disappointing is that many tracks have been edited down to shorter versions in order to fit more songs on the cd. I prefer to have the original versions of songs on a greatest hits package and these songs were trimmed: "Family Snapshot", "Mercy Street", "Don't Give Up", "San Jacinto". It is interesting to have different versions of "Sledgehammer" and "I Have The Touch", but that doesn't make up for all the other setbacks. A proper Gabriel "hits" package would definitely have to be two discs with the original version and length of each track. I suppose if you are only passing through Gabriel's music that this collection would suffice, but for those who are ardent fans, this compilation is equivalent to a great novel that's been poorly adapted to the silver screen....more info
  • Shaking The Tree / A great ethnic piece...
    This is a collection of Peter Gabriel's VAST talent. Musically, I cannot say that I've heard any better. I'm a recording artist, and I'm extremely "picky" when it comes to recordings, especially the music. This collection has the most incredible blend of bass/drums/keyboards/vox, etc. that I've ever heard.

    I noticed that in some of the songs from 1980, the GREAT and POWERFUL Phil Collins adds his two-cents in. His two-cents adds up to a million when mixed with Phil's. I listened again to the entire album of songs, and I came to the conclusion that Peter Gabriel's sounds are much like Phil Collins. (Wonder why?!) lol

    Sledgehammer is one of my personal favorite dance-toons of the 1980's, and I had it up so loud in my truck that I blew ALL of the speakers. Just a good excuse to install new & better ones, right?! It was fun to get re-aquainted with Peter Gabriel's stuff... even "Shock The Monkey" as well as some familiar lyrics: "Big Time".

    Enjoy - again and again!
    Kat...more info