Big Time (Peter Gabriel song)

Last updated

"Big Time"
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album So
  • "Curtains" (UK)
  • "We Do What We're Told" (US)
ReleasedFebruary 1987 (UK) [1]
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Producer(s) Daniel Lanois and Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"In Your Eyes"
"Big Time"
"Red Rain"

"Big Time" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel from his 1986 album So . It was his second top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at no. 8. [5]



The song's bass guitar part is unique in that backing bassist Tony Levin and then-backing drummer Jerry Marotta teamed up for the main bassline. Using one of Levin's fretless basses, Levin handled the fingerings while Marotta hit his drumsticks on the strings, which is why the bass part sounds percussive. Inspired by this sound, Levin later invented funk fingers, which were little drumstick ends that could be attached to the fingers to achieve a similar bass guitar effect in concert. Police drummer Stewart Copeland plays drums on the song, and P. P. Arnold, Coral "Chyna Whyne" Gordon, and Dee Lewis, all of whom also sang on "Sledgehammer", performed backing vocals.

Music video

The visual style was very similar to the "Sledgehammer" video, using stop motion claymation by David Daniels and strata-cut animation. The larger video was supervised by director Stephen R. Johnson and produced by Prudence Fenton. It was shot at Peter Wallach Studios. Artist Wayne White contributed to the creation of the video.

Track listing

7" UK

  1. Big Time (7" edit)
  2. Curtains

12" UK

  1. Big Time (extended version)
  2. Big Time (7" edit)
  3. Curtains

Cassette single UK

  1. Big Time (extended version)
  2. Curtains
  3. No Self Control (live version)
  4. Across the River
CD-single UK
1."Big Time (Extended Version)"6:14
3."No Self Control"3:54
4."Across the River"7:12
5."Big Time (Seven Inch Version)"4:26
Total length:25:14

7" USA

  1. Big Time
  2. We Do What We're Told

12" USA

  1. Big Time (dance mix)
  2. In Your Eyes (special mix)
  3. We Do What We're Told


Along with the two mixes found on different versions of the single, Big Time has been officially remixed by Electrokingdom in various mixes, included the version by Frenk DJ & Niky D. Although reputed to be more numerous, four mixes (Main Mix - Club Mix - Dub Mix - Acoustic Mix) can be downloaded on legal platforms.


Credits adapted from the album So . [6]

Chart performance

Related Research Articles

<i>So</i> (album) 1986 studio album by Peter Gabriel

So is the fifth studio album by English singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel, released on 19 May 1986 by Charisma Records. After working on the soundtrack to the film Birdy (1984), producer Daniel Lanois was invited to remain at Gabriel's Somerset home during 1985 to work on his next solo project. Initial sessions for So consisted of Gabriel, Lanois and guitarist David Rhodes, although these grew to include a number of percussionists.

Bizarre Love Triangle Song by the English rock band New Order

"Bizarre Love Triangle" is a song by the English rock band New Order, released as a single in 1986 from their fourth studio album, Brotherhood (1986), which reached the top five on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play Singles chart, and No. 5 on the Australian ARIA Charts in March 1987.

Shock the Monkey 1982 single by Peter Gabriel

"Shock the Monkey" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel. It was released in September 1982 as the second single from his fourth self-titled album, issued in the US under the title Security.

<i>Peter Gabriel</i> (1980 album) Third of four eponymous solo albums

Peter Gabriel is the third eponymous solo studio album by English rock musician Peter Gabriel, released on 30 May 1980 by Charisma Records. The album has been acclaimed as Gabriel's artistic breakthrough as a solo artist and for establishing him as one of rock's most ambitious and innovative musicians. Gabriel also explored more overtly political material with two of his most famous singles, the anti-war song "Games Without Frontiers" and the anti-apartheid protest song "Biko", which remembered the murdered activist Steve Biko. The album was remastered, along with most of Gabriel's catalogue, in 2002.

<i>Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats</i> 1990 greatest hits album by Peter Gabriel

Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats is a compilation album by the English rock musician Peter Gabriel. It was released in 1990 as Gabriel's first career retrospective, including songs from his first solo album Peter Gabriel (1977), through Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ (1989). It was remastered with most of Gabriel's catalogue in 2002.

Solsbury Hill (song) 1977 single by Peter Gabriel

"Solsbury Hill" is a song by English musician Peter Gabriel. He wrote the song about a spiritual experience atop Little Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England, 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, peaking at number 13, and reached number 68 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977. The song has often been used in film trailers for romantic comedies.

Kiss on My List 1981 single by Hall & Oates

"Kiss on My List" is a song by the American duo Hall & Oates. It was written by Daryl Hall and Janna Allen, and produced by the duo. It was the third single release from their ninth studio album, Voices (1980), and became their second US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single. It spent three weeks at the top spot.

Red Rain (song) 1987 single by Peter Gabriel

"Red Rain" is the first track on English rock musician Peter Gabriel's 1986 solo album So. In the USA, it was the second single from the album and reached number three on Billboard magazine's Mainstream Rock chart in 1986, where it stayed for three weeks between July and August. In the rest of the world it was not released until 1987 and received less airplay and fewer sales, peaking at 46 in the UK singles chart after entering the chart in July of that year. A live version also charted in the US and the UK in 1994.

<i>Come Upstairs</i> 1980 studio album by Carly Simon

Come Upstairs is the ninth studio album by American singer-songwriter Carly Simon, released in 1980. It was the first of her three albums for Warner Bros. Records and it has a harder, more rock-oriented sound than her previous albums. Whereas those earlier records were prime examples of the singer-songwriter genre, with soft-rocking arrangements primarily built around piano and/or acoustic guitar accompaniment, Come Upstairs uses electric guitars and synthesizers prominently.

Pour Some Sugar on Me 1987 single by Def Leppard

"Pour Some Sugar on Me" is a song by the English rock band Def Leppard from their 1987 album Hysteria. It reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on 23 July 1988, behind "Hold On to the Nights" by Richard Marx. "Pour Some Sugar on Me" is considered the band's signature song, and was ranked #2 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s" in 2006.

Sledgehammer (Peter Gabriel song) 1986 single by Peter Gabriel

"Sledgehammer" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel. It was released as the lead single from his fifth studio album, So, on 21 April 1986. It was produced by Gabriel and Daniel Lanois. It reached No. 1 in Canada on 21 July 1986, where it spent four weeks; No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States on 26 July 1986; and No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart, thanks in part to its music video. It was his biggest hit in North America and ties with "Games Without Frontiers" as his biggest hit in the United Kingdom.

Im Not in Love

"I'm Not in Love" is a song by British group 10cc, written by band members Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman. It is known for its innovative and distinctive backing track, composed mostly of the band's multitracked vocals. Released in the UK in May 1975 as the second single from the band's third album, The Original Soundtrack, it became the second of the group's three number-one singles in the UK between 1973 and 1978, topping the UK Singles Chart for two weeks. "I'm Not in Love" became the band's breakthrough hit outside the United Kingdom, topping the charts in Canada and the Republic of Ireland as well as peaking within the top ten of the charts in several other countries, including Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Norway and the United States.

In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel song) Original song written and composed by Peter Gabriel

"In Your Eyes" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel from his fifth solo album So (1986). It features Youssou N'Dour singing a part at the end of the song translated into his native Wolof. Gabriel's lyrics were inspired by an African tradition of ambiguity in song between romantic love and love of God.

Dont Give Up (Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush song) 1986 song by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

"Don't Give Up" is a song written by English musician Peter Gabriel and recorded as a duet with Kate Bush for Gabriel's fifth solo studio album So (1986). The single version was released as the second single from the album in the UK in 1986 and as the fifth single in the United States in 1987. It spent eleven weeks in the UK Top 75 chart in 1986, peaking at number nine.

Everytime You Go Away

"Everytime You Go Away" is a song written and composed by Daryl Hall. It was first recorded in 1980 by the American duo Hall & Oates but was not released as a single. The song became an international hit, with altered word-spacing in the title, when covered by English singer Paul Young in 1985. Young's version reached No. 1 in the US and No. 4 in the UK. There have also been several other versions of this song.

Steam (Peter Gabriel song) 1993 single by Peter Gabriel

"Steam" is the second single from English rock musician Peter Gabriel's 1992 album Us. Gabriel has said that the song is about a relationship in which the woman is sophisticated, bright, cultured, and knows everything about anything while the man knows nothing about anything; however, he does know about the woman, and she does not know much about herself.

Alive Again (Chicago song) 1978 single by Chicago

"Alive Again" is a song written by James Pankow for the group Chicago and recorded for their album Hot Streets (1978), with Peter Cetera singing lead vocals. The first single released from that album, it reached No. 14 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. In Canada, "Alive Again" spent two weeks at No. 11.

Digging in the Dirt 1992 single by Peter Gabriel

"Digging in the Dirt" is a 1992 song by British musician Peter Gabriel. It was the first single taken from his sixth studio album, Us. The song was a minor hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 52, but it topped both the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks and Album Rock Tracks charts. The song was moderately successful on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at number 24, and it reached the top 10 in Canada, Portugal and Sweden.

Games Without Frontiers (song) 1980 single by Peter Gabriel

"Games Without Frontiers" is a song written and recorded by English rock musician Peter Gabriel. It was released on his 1980 self-titled solo album, where it included backing vocals by Kate Bush. The song's lyrics are interpreted as a commentary on war and international diplomacy being like children's games. The video includes film clips of Olympic events and scenes from the 1951 educational film Duck and Cover, which used a cartoon turtle to instruct US schoolchildren on what to do in case of nuclear attack. This forlorn imagery tends to reinforce the song's anti-war theme.

I Dont Remember (Peter Gabriel song) Peter Gabriel song

"I Don't Remember" is a song written and recorded by English rock musician Peter Gabriel, released as the fourth and final single from his third eponymous studio album in 1980. Although originally only released as an A-side single in the United States and Canada, a live version released with the album Plays Live (1983) reached No. 62 on the UK Singles Chart and remained in the Top 75 in Britain for 4 weeks. The song was included in Gabriel's compilation album Shaking the Tree (1990) and two different versions were included in Flotsam and Jetsam (2019).


  1. Easlea, Daryl (2013). "Peter Gabriel UK Discography". Without Frontiers: The Life & Music of Peter Gabriel. Omnibus Press. ISBN   9780857128607.
  2. "Peter Gabriel – Big Time (4:24)". Billboard . Vol. 98 no. 47. 22 November 1986. p. 79. ISSN   0006-2510.
  3. Randall, Mac (10 July 2002). "Gabriel, Beck and Miller Struggle with Gravity". The New York Observer . Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  4. Grant, Steven; Robbins, Ira. "Peter Gabriel". Trouser Press . Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  5. Dean, Maury (2003). Rock n' Roll Gold Rush . Algora. p.  160. ISBN   0-87586-207-1.
  6. So (booklet). Charisma, Virgin, Geffen. 1986.
  7. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 120. ISBN   0-646-11917-6.
  8. " – Peter Gabriel – Big Time" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  9. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0784." RPM . Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  10. " – Peter Gabriel – Big Time" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  11. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Big Time". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  12. "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 19, 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  13. " – Peter Gabriel – Big Time" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  14. " – Peter Gabriel – Big Time". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  15. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  16. 1 2 "So – Awards". AllMusic . Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  17. "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 7, 1987". Cash Box . Archived from the original on 6 October 2012.
  18. "Top 100 Singles of '87". RPM . Vol. 47 no. 12. 26 December 1987. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  19. "Top 100 Hits for 1987". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  20. "WWE Takes "Big Time" Approach to Marketing Blitz for WrestleMania 22". WWE . Stamford, Connecticut. 7 March 2006. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2019.