Biko

Released 18th August, 1980

Biko was third single to be taken from Peter’s third solo album and it was released in August 1980.

This single version of the song was written and produced by Peter, re-recorded and re-mixed at Crescent Studios, Bath and engineered by David Lord. Original tapes were engineered by Hugh Padgham and produced by Steve Lillywhite.

The song features Jerry Marotta on drums, Phil Collins on surdo, David Rhodes on guitar, Larry Fast on bagpipes and synth, screeches by David Ferguson and Peter on piano and drum pattern.

The single cover contains information about Stephen Biko and Peter’s rationale for releasing the song as a single. Text from the back cover is as follows:

WHO?
Bantu Stephen Biki was a young South African leader who died in 1977 as a result of injuries received during interrogations by the South African Security Police. For further information, I would suggest the book ‘Biko’ by Donald Woods on Penguin.

WHY THE SONG?
I believe Steve Biko was very important. He could have been a very positive force in Africa and a leader young people all over the world could have identified with.
When I heard of Steve Biko’s detention on the radio, I was sure that publicity would protect him. World attention had been attracted to the large number of prison suicides, slipping in showers jumping from windows and hanging… I was shocked one breakfast time to hear of his death and wrote down some thoughts in my diary which were to be the start of the lyrics two years later.

WHY PUT IT OUT SEPARATELY?
Some people have questioned the motive for putting this out as a 12″ and a single when two other singles have been taken off the album.
Firstly I wanted the song to be available to anyone who did not want to spend the money on the album, secondly I would like to hear it on the radio and thirdly, since recording it in another language I have approached the mix differently and want to have an alternative versions accessible in English. The vocal track has been re-recorded and the track re-mixed.

WHAT “SHOSHOLOZA” MEANS?
SHOSHOLOZA (Go In Peace) was on the tracks off the soundtrack LP DINGAKA that inspired the direction for the music of the song “Biko”. The original is an unaccompanied chant to which I have added an arrangement and a new rhythmic section of the song.

There was no video made for the song at the time of this original single release, but one was made later on when the song was re-released to coincide with the movie ‘Cry Freedom’.

The single first charted in the UK on 23 August 1980, peaked at 38 and stayed in the UK Top75 for three weeks.

The versions of Biko and Shosholoza that feature on this single release are available on the the digital only album ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’. Jetzt Kommt Die Flut is available on the German version of the third album ‘ein deutsches album’.

The single was released on 7″ & 12″ vinyl.

7″ CB 370
Biko
Shosholoza

7″ CB 370-12
Biko
Shosholoza
Jetzt Kommt Die Flut

On 25 November 1987 Peter was a guest on the BBC TV programme ‘Wogan’ alongside Donald Woods and his wife Wendy. Donald’s book ‘Biko’ had formed part of the inspiration for the song as well as the basis for the film ‘Cry Freedom’.

NB. Video below contains third party content which we do not own or control.