“You can’t fault the match of Randy Newman with Big Time … It’s so perfect” – Pitchfork
The companion to the critically acclaimed Scratch My Back and the concluding part of a series of song exchanges in which Peter and other leading artists reinterpret each other’s songs. The album is also available as a 2CD set, Scratch My Back / And I’ll Scratch Yours.
If Peter’s covers record Scratch My Back was the call, this was the response, the sound of his songwriting brethren returning the favour. And there are some devilishly fine reinterpretations of Peter’s creations here, whether it’s David Byrne taking the 33-year-old I Don’t Remember and transforming it into an irresistible slice of 21st-century dancefloor bliss or Randy Newman laying the irony thick (as only he can) on Big Time.
Elsewhere, Lou Reed takes the open-ended brief and pretty much obscures Solsbury Hill in a hurricane of snarly guitars, Elbow deliver a suitably widescreen version of Mercy Street while Arcade Fire keep things faithful and reverential on their reading of Games Without Frontiers.
“On our minds throughout the recording was the fact that Peter Gabriel was going to listen to it. And would he like it? We spent a long time, a very enjoyable two or three weeks, covering it. I was trying desperately not to sound like Peter, but it was unavoidable. I just do!” – Guy Garvey from Elbow
“Shock The Monkey was the first 45 I ever bought. There was a period of my young life when it was the only song I had in my room. It takes me back to my childhood and deals abstractly – at least, to me – with how we evolve through pain. Covering the song and stripping it down to its essence revealed that aspect ever more to me” – Joseph Arthur