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Solsbury Hill (song)

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Released  1977 (UK) 1978 (US)
Recorded  1977
Format  Vinyl record (7")
B-side  Moribund the Burgermeister
Genre  Folk pop progressive pop
Length  4:21 (album version) 3:24 (single edit version)

"Solsbury Hill" is a song by English musician Peter Gabriel about a spiritual experience atop Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England. Gabriel wrote the song after his departure from the progressive rock band Genesis, of which he had been the lead singer since its inception. The song was his debut single. The single was a Top 20 hit in the UK and reached No. 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977. The song has often been used in film trailers for romantic comedies.


Gabriel has said of the song's meaning, "It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go." Former bandmate Tony Banks acknowledges that the song reflects Gabriel's decision to break ties with Genesis, but it can be also applied in a broader sense.

Use in soundtracks

It has been used in a number of films, including the 2001 film Vanilla Sky and the 2004 film In Good Company. More recently it has been used in the trailer of Finding Dory. Its prevalence has been called "ubiquitous", particularly its inclusion in a satirical re-cut trailer of The Shining.

7" UK single (1977)

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (3:24)
  2. "Moribund The Burgermeister" – (4:17)

7" "Old Gold" single (1982)

  1. "Solsbury Hill" - (3:26)
  2. "Games Without Frontiers" - (3:50)

UK maxi-single (1983, 1988)

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (3:24)
  2. "Moribund The Burgermeister" – (4:17)
  3. "Solsbury Hill (Full Length Live Version)" – (5:45)

7" European single (1990 re-issue)

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (4:24)
  2. "Shaking The Tree" – (5:06)

12" UK single (1990 re-issue)

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (4:22)
  2. "Shaking The Tree" – (5:06)
  3. "Games Without Frontiers (Live)" - (6:06)

UK CD single (1990 re-issue)

  1. "Solsbury Hill" – (4:21)
  2. "Shaking The Tree" – (5:07)
  3. "Games Without Frontiers (Live)" - (6:05)

7" US single (1983)

  1. "Solsbury Hill (Live)" - (3:58)
  2. "I Go Swimming (Live)" - (4:29)

7" Netherlands single (1983)

  1. "Solsbury Hill (Live)" - (4:41)
  2. "Kiss Of Life (Live)" - (5:01)

7" US single (1983)

  1. "Solsbury Hill (Live)" - (3:58)
  2. "Shock The Monkey" - (3:58)


  • Peter Gabriel - vocals, keyboards, flute
  • Tony Levin - bass
  • Larry Fast - synths
  • Steve Hunter - guitar
  • Allan Schwartzberg - drums
  • Erasure version

    "Solsbury Hill" was recorded by British synthpop duo Erasure in 2003 for their cover versions album Other People's Songs and released as a single in the UK on 6 January 2003 and in the US on 14 January 2003. This Erasure single became a hit, reaching No. 10 on the UK single chart in January 2003, No. 7 in Denmark, No. 29 in Germany, No. 39 in Sweden and No. 41 in the Republic of Ireland. The track was chosen for the album by Erasure member Vince Clarke. Clarke and singer Andy Bell turned the song into a mid-tempo electronic dance tune, displaying the signature Erasure sound. The only major change made to the structure of the song was the modification of the 7/4 time signature to a more basic 4/4—except for the chorus, which slips back into 7/4 time for one line.

    Track listing

    CD Single No. 1 (CDMUTE275)
    1. "Solsbury Hill"
    2. "Tell It To Me"
    3. "Searching"
    CD Single No. 2 (LCDMUTE275)
    1. "Solsbury Hill" (37B Mix)
    2. "Solsbury Hill" (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)
    3. "Ave Maria"
    DVD Single (DVDMUTE275)
    1. "Solsbury Hill" (Radio Mix)
    2. "Video Killed the Radio Star"
    3. "Dr Jeckyll and Mistress Hyde" (Short Film)
    U.S. CD Maxi Single (9200-2)
    1. "Solsbury Hill" (Radio Mix)
    2. "Solsbury Hill"
    3. "Tell It To Me"
    4. "Searching"
    5. "Video Killed The Radio Star"
    6. "Solsbury Hill" (37B Mix)
    7. "Solsbury Hill" (Manhattan Clique Extended Remix)
    8. "Ave Maria"
    9. "Dr. Jeckyll And Mistress Hyde" (Short Film)

    Lou Reed version

    In 2010, Lou Reed released a version of the song, as part of the project "Scratch My Back" where Peter Gabriel did cover versions of other artists, and letting them provide covers of his songs, in return. Lou Reed’s version has nothing at all to do with Gabriel’s merry original. Reed has transformed the original into a completely different song, just like Gabriel did with many of the songs on "Scratch My Back".

    Steve Hunter version

    In April 2013 an instrumental version of Solsbury Hill was included in guitar player Steve Hunters album The Manhattan Blues Project. Hunter had played on the original Peter Gabriel (1977 album) recording and he invited his friend and original Solsbury Hill bass player Tony Levin to play bass on the track. In the 2014 biography by Daryl Easley Without Frontiers Gabriel gave Hunter credit for coming up with the guitar parts which became a signature for the song.


    Solsbury Hill (song) Wikipedia

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